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Mara's Story

                               Stylish.  Determined.  Prepared for disaster (1972) 

                               Stylish.  Determined.  Prepared for disaster (1972) 

Dr. and Mrs. Jack K. Cohen announce the birth of a fine daughter.  My parents' friends and relations would have immediately understood the coded message and breathed a sigh of relief.  They would have known that "fine" meant I was was normal -- free of the mysterious genetic disease that afflicted my big brother from birth.  But in an important sense, I wasn't free of the disease at all.  Every cell of my body contains the same mutation responsible for my brother's illness, a hereditary fluke that shaped the trajectory of each member of my family.  

I'm working on a collection of stories, told from the perspective of a sister, daughter, wife and mother.  They reveal a quiet determination to find meaning, purpose, joy and humor -- even in the aftermath of tragedy.  Maybe you'll recognize a little bit of yourself in my stories. You can read some of them here on my website and in print and online publications including AlimentumBioStories, Embodied Effigies, EntropyThe HairpinJewrotica, MediumMothers Always Write and  Pentimento.  I've presented some of my stories live, and I've also posted links to some of those videos here.   

As a political scientist and professor of urban studies, I have provided commentary on urban affairs for radio and television including NPR, the BBC and various local media outlets.  My op-eds have appeared in the LA Daily News, New America Media and the LA Business Journal, and a list of some of my peer-reviewed scholarship appears here.