Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kim McLarin & Stella

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Kim McLarin, writer, professor, mother, etc. And that's Stella, my dog, a female mixed-breed, about 6 years old. (People tell me she looks like a small, less shaggy bernese mountain dog but really she's just a lovable mutt.)

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We're celebrating spring, and the release of my new book. The title is Divorce Dog: Motherhood, Men and Midlife.

What's brewing?

A lovely iced coffee is waiting on the porch. I use pretty much any fair trade Trader Joe's brand, a French press, then let it cool, add half-and-half and ice.

Any treats for you or Stella on this occasion?

Stella likes the peanut butter biscuits from Trader Joe's.

How did Stella get her name? Any nicknames?

Anyway, Stella comes from A Streetcar Named Desire. If you've ever seen the great movie version with Marlon Brando, and if you ever see Stella run, you'll understand why. Sometimes I call her Chucklehead. Affectionately.

How were you and Stella united?

We adopted Stella from the City of Boston Animal Shelter. We'd looked a long time, and finally we saw a dog there,, a different dog, we thought would work. But the guy working there pulled me aside and said, "You don't want this dog. Trust me." To get the rest of the story, read my book!

Please tell us about your new book.

Divorce Dog: Motherhood, Men and Midlife is a memoir-in-essays about all of those things. Mostly it's about finding peace and connection after a divorce and starting again in midlife. And about my kids. And about Stella.

Does Stella do more to help or to hinder your writing?

Probably 50-50. She can be a nuisance when she's itching for a walk. She comes to my study and paces around, looking at me with those big, brown eyes until I lose my concentration and give in. On the other hand, some of my best work has been done during long hikes with her in the Blue Hills. She's a great excuse to get some exercise and get outside of my own head, where I tend to spend a lot of time.

Who are Stella's best pet-pals?

Riley, a sweet old collie who lives next door, and any dog she meets at the park or anywhere else. Stella loves to play.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Yes, yes, yes. Recently her interest in chasing tennis balls has cooled a bit, but a good a stick can keep her entertained until the next century.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Yes, yes, and yes. Mostly squirrels. Lots of trees around our house and she feels it is her duty to keep the fenced backyard free of any squirrel invaders. The postman she likes, if she can see him. If she only hears him through the door, watch out.

What is Stella's best quality?

Stella is the friendliest dog I have ever seen or known in my life. She loves everybody. Everybody.

If Stella could change one thing about you, what would it be?

My short petting attention span.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Stella could speak, which actor should do her voice?

Queen Latifah.

If Stella could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

What do you really think about this 'man's best friend business?'

Read more about Divorce Dog at Kim McLarin's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Great interview and I love Stella! Glad she picked you! Books sounds good too!
    Max's Ma

  2. What a great interview :) I look forward to picking up a copy of your book!

  3. Love Kim McLarin's work; can't wait to "meet" Stella when my copy of the book arrives!