Koko Ken: The Story Of A Spina-Bifida Baby Boomer (w/a tad bit of fiction about non-fiction people)
In the early ’80s, recovering from my divorce, I moved from Ketchum, Idaho, to Palo Alto, California, to live temporarily with my sister Martin and her family, the other Martins, until I found an apartment. My brother-in-law was and still is a pastor in the Nazarene church. Also attending the church were two college mates of mine and the Martins, Jan and Doug Burgesen and their two children (the two kids, Stevie and Cindy, not Doug and Jan) who could not pronounce “Uncle Ken.” It came out “Koko Ken.” Soon, very soon, I was known to the whole church (even to my niece Jennifer and my two nephews, Todd and Gabe) as Koko Ken, which gave me the title of this book.
Because of a birth defect, spina bifida (the definition’s in the book), I wasn’t expected to live past six weeks. As of this writing, October 1, 2012, I’m six weeks shy of sixty-two years old.
I’ve lived a very fortunate life. I’ve hiked up two volcanoes, Lassen and Diamond Head. I’ve ten speeded down Mt. Haleakala. I played Chopin’s, King Faruk’s, and Carnegie Hall’s pianos.
Read my book. It’s funny. It’s sad. It’s me. I’m almost a George Plimpton.
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Until a few months ago, I hadn’t heard of Ken Martinez and then, something wonderful happened – I was moved from the hospital to Desert Cove, a skilled nursing facility where he was doing a ‘tour of duty’. He introduced himself as a writer of poetry and short stories. He lent me a copy of his autobiography, ‘Koko Ken’ to read. I don’t want to sound syrupy but it was a wonderful book. Each story had a different ‘texture’- prose, poetry, humor, sorrow, all very unique. There is element of Mark Twain, Wm. Saroyan, and Rod McKuen (without the kitsch) here.
What I like about this autobio, besides being interesting, is that he doesn’t dwell on the hardships of being disabled. It is mention from time to time but it isn’t a main theme.
I had a chance to read his soon to be published ‘Mr. Abaddon & Ollie; Before The Still’, from his upcoming book, ‘A Poets Assortment Of Poems (And There Stories) which Ken Martinez e-mailed to me and there are hints of ‘Koko Ken’s’, Street Food, Be-Bop, & Geo.’ Both have a dark, almost eerie feel but, ‘After The Still’ is much better. I’m anxious for that book to come out.
I’ve recommended ‘Koko Ken’ to my friends and many have bought the e-Book. I’m now recommending it to you. Jeff Frosi
MICHAELA LOVE STORY
A MADDENING SILENCE
AN UNTITLED MEMPHIS TALE
STREET FOOD BEBOP AND GEO A 13 HOUR TALE
TRAVELS WITH CHUCK
THE CHAR MS
A STORY CALLED ROOM
SMOKEY JOES CAFÉ
THE LAST RETURN
THREE n A HALF DAYS The Memphis Airport Story
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WISCONSON
SLEEP WITH THE ANGELS