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I’ve been writing since I was in second grade in Bay City, Michigan, home of Madonna. I write everything from fiction to memoir to screenplays to book reviews.
Charlie (Photo by Author)

Twice now, I’ve been married. Twice now, I’ve been divorced. Makes me wonder — actually it makes me think — that I may not be such a great wife.

I used to think — before the second divorce — that I was infinitely patient, endlessly charming and loving, and had no issues with intimacy. I suspect now I was wrong.

Or perhaps patience, charm, and love are not enough to sustain a marriage. Who knows?

Or maybe I’m not really all that patient or charming.

Honestly, I lack the insight to determine how I, just an old Irish Catholic kid…


Flamingos with stories to tell. Albuquerque Zoo. Pic by author.

No, I’m not a serial killer, not an embezzler, not even a jaywalker.

Worse, I’m that person next to you on the plane, at the DMV, or in line at the grocery store who wants to talk, who wants to hear your story.

For years — many many years — I never knew there were people out there who wouldn’t want to talk to me.

I was — I suppose — oblivious. And then I picked up Ceci, a high school friend, from the Albuquerque airport one sunny summer day:

“So how was your flight?” …


A possibly true, but probably not, retelling of a disastrous marriage

That Day of the Dead sugar skull. (Photo by author)

(From He Got the House, I Got the Animals: A Not Necessarily True or Accurate Memoir of my 13-Year Marriage and Eventual Divorce From a Filthy Rich Crazy Man)

Towards the end of the marriage, T.K. decided I needed improving, and he very graciously offered to help.

Okay.

On the one hand, who doesn’t need improving? Don’t we all have flaws? Maybe we want to quit smoking, control our anger, be more productive. So from that perspective, T.K. was on the right track.

On the other hand…

What woman wants her husband — or anyone, for that matter — to…


It was all my mother’s fault

It is a long, long time ago. When the world is black and white, and I am five years old, living in Essexville, Michigan with my mother and father and older sister, Mary Margaret.

My Friend Flicka, The Lone Ranger, Rin Tin Tin, and Annie Oakley are popular TV shows; Snow Fire is a popular movie, one I have seen half a dozen times, featuring a beautiful white stallion that communicates with Molly, the main character. Horses are magic, and I want one more than anything in the entire world.

Yet any time I ask my mother for one, she…


This book is not to be missed

Before reading “My Best Friend’s Exorcism,” I’d never heard of Grady Hendrix. If I had heard of him, I’d have known a bit more what to expect from “My Best Friend’s Exorcism,” which is an engaging blend of gore and 1980s pop culture, including big hair and plenty of rock and roll references. This novel and Hendrix’s other work are a bit idiosyncratic, such as his novel “Horrorstör,” in which zombies overtake Orsk, a department store quite obviously based on Ikea.

Technically, the book begins in 2016 with the main character, Abby Rivers, now in her mid-30s, discovering ‘The exorcist…


Not a laugh-out-loud kind of book, but one worth reading

I ordered Arden Myrin’s “Little Miss Little Compton,” primarily because Amazon marketed the book as humor, and several celebrity blurbs called it hilarious. However, humor is an odd genre. What makes one person laugh will not necessarily make another laugh, and that’s the problem I encountered with this book. I didn’t think it was hilarious, and I didn’t laugh out loud.

Perhaps it was my expectation that caused the issue. I’d expected a book of humorous essays, along the lines of Dave Barry or Nora Ephron. It was a reasonable expectation; after all, Arden is comedic actress, she’s done stand-up…


Allie Brosh’s Solutions and Other Problems (2020) is funny, poignant, and immensely readable. A combination of prose and stick-figure illustrations, the book humorously and compassionately addresses childhood terrors, depression, and substantial loss. It is a follow-up to the bestselling Hyperbole and a Half (2013). After Hyperbole was released, Brosh disappeared from the Internet, and her fans wondered why. With the release of Solutions and Other Problems her fans now know that Brosh’s absence was due to a myriad of personal problems, including physical illness, divorce, and the suicide of her sister.

Although I have been aware of Brosh for years…


The sun sets for all of us. (Photo by author.)

Funny how grief can come out of nowhere, how the past can intrude on the present.

Today I’m missing my dad. More accurately, my stepfather, but since he raised me from the time I was 8, I have always thought of him as my dad.
Funny how the missing — the grief — got its start today. I was editing — when am I not editing? And the paper I was editing was about a Jamaican author — Claude McKay — and there was a part in the paper about Obeah, which got me thinking about my first husband, who really…


Heather Lanier’s Raising a Rare Girl was a treat and a surprise. From the opening sentence — ‘When I was pregnant, I tried to make a SuperBaby.’ — to one of the last — ‘Fiona, with her broad grin, has brought me again and again back to awe.’ I was completely hooked. I’d read that the book dealt with Lanier’s firstborn daughter Fiona, who was diagnosed with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a rare disorder caused by a chromosomal deletion, which results in distinct facial features, intellectual disability, and difficulty swallowing. In short, a birth ‘defect.’

So what I’d expected was a tear-jerker…


Okay. First, I've cleaned homes for a living. I needed to be paid as badly as you need money. Second, I totally get the stress and fear of not having money--I raised my kids on food stamps, Medicaid, and student loans. It's hard, and it's scary not to have money. There were times I had to decide if I should buy macaroni & cheese or paper towels. A friend once brought me a bag of recyclables so I could feed my kids. I get it. I really really get it. So, all that out of the way. Check out social…

Maureen Cooke

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