Long Lake Lore

Taking The Mask Off:

my journey from dr. seuss to the bible

Book Collection


Long Lake Lore provides the common denominator of this author based on his love of Alaska and upbringing of two parents from the Greatest Generation. now you need to be the numerator and take the reins. 

This book is about the journey toward being vulnerable and nonjudgmental and moving from a total dependence on thinking with your mind to feeling with your heart. It’s a collection of short stories capturing the viewpoint of someone who was trying to be someone he wasn’t. Keith, an Alaskan, went through West Point, branched in the Infantry, and then after Airborne and Ranger Training served 26 years in the Army. He was in the Pentagon when the planes hit on 9-11-2001, and he later served as the Brigade commander in Egypt when the Iraq war broke out, only to later serve in that war the following year as the Chief of Staff of the 1st ID from 2004 to 2005. After serving in the military, he went into the corporate world, carrying with him the fundamental trait his parents from the Greatest Generation taught him during his upbringing in Alaska: integrity. Sometimes the truth is painful, and sometimes we need to admit when we are wrong, but most importantly, it is what we are doing about it. Keith gives you the reins in this book and provides the common denominator based on stories of his upbringing in Alaska and love of the outdoors. Think about it—if he can open up, so can you.

Behind the book

taking the mask off

This book is about Keith finally taking the mask off. A mask he really didn’t know he had put on. A mask formed by layers of callous caused by falling in line, afraid to upset the cart. He was brought into corporations for being different and to add a new perspective, yet he was continually critiqued for not fitting in. As Keith wrote in this book, he realized that he was a sled dog for so long, tied to the reins of one lead dog that provided only one view to everyone. Keith, through his own neglect of himself, had forgotten what it was like to think on his own. The COVID lockdown provided the best opportunity for Keith to collect his thoughts and capture them in hopes of passing them to his family. Keith, like many other Americans during this tough time, endured a loss of friends, a loss of relationships with those he loved, and he lost his mom to cancer, all the while being isolated within an isolated and divided nation battling the COVID pandemic.
Rather than complain, he owned and accepted his mistakes, and he wrote. He wrote of his experiences—some good, some bad. But it was not just writing, it was journaling with a felt-tip pen in a small book, often writing words that were difficult to read even for himself. He then read, reread, and let that story sit, sometimes for months, as he wrote other stories. Then toward the end of the pandemic, he began a year-long process of transcription, and the words that once flowed from his heart to his felt-tip pen to his small book were now transcribed onto a computer. This process is captured in each word of his book and can be best described as his therapy.

meet the author

Keith L. Cooper

A new multitalented writer who can talk about vulnerability and mental health in the same sentence. A native of Alaska who grew up loving the outdoors because that’s where he lived each weekend while at the cabin with his Dad. It became his favorite place, a point of reference where through 10 years of summer each weekend life’s lessons were learned at a special place, Long Lake. Long Lake was more than a lake, it was a place of growth, lessons, learning to be a good Christian, and loving oneself. Throughout life when he strayed, it all came back to not incorporating what he learned, the lessons from his Dad and the teachings in the Bible. You see it in this writing, and you’ll see it in his soon to be released novel, The Sixteenth Republic. Keith focuses on always supporting:

  1. The underdog, those who were always told what they could not do but did it anyway.
  2. Giving people second chances. Everyone has a story, especially in Alaska. Keith’s stories are initially full of failures that through writing and a deep understanding of loving oneself became successes.
  3. Not judging. We tend to laugh at those who are different when we should be laughing at those who try to be the same.
  4. The common denominator of we are all Americans first with the numerator being our race, sex, etc. Alaska taught him this, West Point instilled it, the Army sealed it. Keith’s writings show it: He loves this country.
  5. Service never stops! He doesn’t need to show a flag on his pickup truck (yes, he drives a pickup truck) or wear a lapel pin. He, like his grandfather in 1919, a medical service officer in the Army Dental Corps, and his Dad in 1943, a WWII Naval Officer, Keith served 26 years in the Infantry after graduating from West Point. He’s a believer that service never ends even out of uniform and continues to give back to his community and region by volunteering.

Take a Look

whats inside

Guided by real-life experiences and situations, the stories in this book are not about what to do or what not to do, they’re about getting you back to who you are, who you really are, that person at the core as a little girl or boy before the callus of life set in. It’s no longer a description of if your glass is half full or half empty, it’s now about how happy you are to have a glass.


Abigail L
Abigail L
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5 stars. A powerful collection of short stories drawn from the author's real-life experiences. Keith L. Cooper's journey from daily journal entries during COVID isolation to a therapeutic exploration of his entire life is both poignant and relatable. The stories touch on losses, regrets, family, and the beauty of nature, creating a tapestry of emotions. They focus on rediscovering one's true self—the person we were before life's challenges took their toll. Cooper's vulnerability is amazing as he shares his transformation from thinking with his brain to feeling with his heart. From his military career to personal struggles, the author's openness invites readers on a non-judgmental journey that encourages self-reflection and growth.
Sue E
Sue E
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5 stars. Get ready to peel off the masks and dive into a rollercoaster of stories that'll hit you right in the feels! Taking the Mask Off... by Keith L. Cooper is not your average book—it's like a heart-to-heart conversation with a friend who's been through it all. Imagine a collection of over 65 short stories that take you from losses and regrets to the beauty of nature, all written during COVID isolation. This book is not about 'what to do'; it's about rediscovering the little boy or girl within you, before life added its layers. Keith, an Alaskan adventurer turned Army veteran, spills his guts about his journey from the Pentagon to the Iraq war and beyond. And guess what? If this tough-as-nails guy can open up, so can you! So, why should you read it? Because Taking the Mask Off is not just a book; it's an awesome ride through vulnerability, self-discovery, and the messy, beautiful journey of being human. Grab it, peel off your own mask, and let's get real!
Indi Reader
Indi Reader
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“…Cooper addresses the reader directly, stating plainly that this book is for people who want their lives to change. He imbues his writing with a sense of urgency—it is not enough to better yourself; you have to do it now. Italicized bullets ask scathing, pointed questions, demanding to know the obstacles in front of your happiness and pushing you to realize that there aren’t any. Those who are not put off by the intensity will thrive in it, finding inspiration in Cooper’s ruminations and the philosophical conclusions he draws. … “Keith L. Cooper’s emotionally honest memoir, TAKING THE MASK OFF (My Journey from Dr. Seuss to the Bible), offers thoughtful advice in a conversational tone.” Rating: 4/5 stars

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available at amazon