Mary Beth Writes

I can also do a great stand-in for Mrs. Wide-Mouth Frog. 


This week I got this email from the Wisconsin Writers Association

Dear Mary Beth - On behalf of WWA I would like to congratulate you. Your story, How Crow Got Out Of Jail, has been chosen as the first-place winner in the 2023 Jade Ring Fiction Contest.

Click here for the official announcement

I joined this organization several years ago because, well, I’m a writer. I don’t enter lots of writing contests but this one seemed straight forward and worthy. Winners get a Jade Ring because the guy who started Kraft cheese was a wild and crazy guy who invented this contest and award in the 1940’s. (Read here for the story of the Jade Ring Writers' contest.) 

I am especially happy that I will also get to attend a writers retreat at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts.


My story - How Crow Got Out of Jail - arose from my years working in the Racie County Jail as the coordinator of the employability skills program for inmates. Inmates became some of my favorite people on earth and still are. There are so many ways to fail. There are also some beautiful ways that some people figure out how to rise from the ashes of their own life. Those people are my prophets and heroes.

 I think you will be able to read my story this autumn, possibly in September, in online Creative Wisconsin Magazine. 


PS; To those who haven't explored this website a bit - if you go to Stories you can read some of the fiction I've written over the years.  Plus, the theme of the How Crow Got Out of Jail is in this sermon. Read here. 





Congrats! So awesome. Some day I will be able to say, I knew her when ————
Mary Beth's picture

It's been a long 'when' coming...

Such exciting news Mary Beth! So pleased for you to get this recognition. Dorian

Oh, Mary Beth, I am thrilled for you!
Mary Beth's picture


So wonderful to be recognized and for something you love to do and I love that you write. I remember touring the Racine County Jail with you and learning about the employability skills program. If only our judicial system and our public could understand "inmates" and their potential for change. My heart breaks every time a teenager or young adult is sentenced to life in prison without parole. One action in one millisecond in time and society gives no opportunity for redemption.

Congratulations MB!!! I am very impressed and so excited for you!! I did know you "back when" and even then your creative use of words and images has stuck with me. Phrases like " the newly green trees in spring are like lime green popsicles" !! Your imagination, love of reading, and the knack of charming words onto the page are an inspiration to me. Keep writing wonderful stories and maybe submit your work to a few more contests! Love you, Hedy
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks. I wish we could go backwards in time to meet the relatives from whom we come. I'm betting there were some bored Swedish farm workers who played with words, too.

Congratulation, well deserved....

MB, Yay! That is very awesome! I have loved your writing and you for a long time, and now more of the world will get to know you:) Excited for you to go to the writers retreat. Can't wait to hear about that, and to see where that might lead. Here's to new adventures!
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks a zillion bits and pieces. In fact, thanks six white sneakers full...

I do still love to keep my sneakers looking fresh! OxiClean and I are very good friends!

Congratulations on winning the writing contest. You’ve kept at your craft. Now enjoy the rewards.

I’m delighted that you are receiving this recognition for your admirable writing skills. I look forward to reading the story and seeing you in your jade ring!

I know what your writing means to me, so I am thrilled that you are getting the recognition you deserve! Congratulations! Patricia

MB, Congratulations are in order my dear friend, Jade becomes you.. I've been privileged to have known you for all these many years, and have been reading your writing since the Racine Journal Times days.. I've also been honored to have been one of your subjects on this writing journey you've been on.. I remember when you told me that you wanted to write something about how I've lived my life.. I was hesitant at first thinking my life was small, unimportant, and that there wasn't much to write about.. I was sitting at that very same table where it all started while at dinner last night with Angela at The Taj, and thought about you and me sitting at lunch there.. You picking my brain and asking questions, me sharing the details of my life as you accompanied me around Milwaukee, me still thinking to myself that this was a lost cause.. Then you sent me the first draft of what you wrote so I could give the go ahead.. I read about myself, and I have felt bigger and better about my humble little life ever since having read about myself as seen through your eyes and perspective.. Your vision of the world you live in and the people in it is uncanny to say the least.. I for one cannot wait to read another one of your stories my dear friend.. This honor in my humble opinion is long overdue.. Franc
Mary Beth's picture

I may have slightly wet eyes reading this, Franc. Thank you. For those who never read my interview of Franc back in 2018, this is it:

What a wonderful award and accolade to a writer who earned and deserves it. Looking forward to reading the story when it comes out!

I was excited to see that you won a prize of some sort. At first I read about your wide-mouth smile and thought of my little tree frog we see in our yard. I am so happy for your actual talent being rewarded with the Jade Ring award! Congratulations! I can't wait to read your entry. ribbit.
Mary Beth's picture

I follow your frog on FB! Len and I had a backyard frog one year and when the windows were open we could hear it while falling asleep. The next year it wasn't back and after that, we started talking about moving. Thanks.. Ribbit to you, too!

Years ago, back in our Waldorf days, another parent described you as having , “that Geena Davis mouth”. Beautiful and talented! Love from Lois in Chicago
Mary Beth's picture

You made me laugh out-loud! Thanks...

Congratulations, Mary Beth. That is a wonderful honor! I look forward to reading it ... and maybe seeing the jade ring.
Mary Beth's picture

What a good idea. When get it I will figure out something. Thanks!

Big congrats on your prize and the validation and recognition that comes with it. So proud of you, even though pride was a sin back in good 'ol TC. Paulette
Mary Beth's picture

All those people who, when complimented, would say, "Oh no, it was nothing." Gah. Writing this story took me five weeks and I have no idea how many hours. and it's about six double-spaced pages long...

Yay Mary Beth! It’s about time you got some recognition for your gift of telling stories! My life is richer when I read your words.
Mary Beth's picture


Bravo! I’m so happy you are receiving this recognition! Many more readers will be joining the fan club! Congratulations!

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What the Dickens?

The photo is from Barnados, a childrens charity in London in the 19th century. 


Argh! I have a new phone because the old one stopped staying charged plus a few more foibles. My phone cost $400 five years ago so it makes sense that it stopped working reliably, right? If an appliance worked like this we would burn that manufacturer to the ground.

Swan Story


I’ve been reading a lot of other people’s writing lately and I have decided there is too much to read. Much of it is very good but there is JUST TOO MUCH!

So my goal going forward is to write shorter posts, more often, that might remind you of the glory, power, and goofiness of your life as well as mine.

So, let me say again what’s always very true. Thank you for reading what I write.


About My Memorial Day Story


Today my story ‘Memorial Day’ is posted at Substack. Read it here. 

Courage, Big & Little



I’m writing fiction this week. I started a story in December that, along the way, turned into a Memorial Day story. It will be my Substack story this Saturday.

This morning I looked for an old newspaper column to rerun and found this one about a time when one of our kids needed to have four teeth pulled.

Cholesterol Numbers & Squirrels


Years ago I was out to dinner with friends. We were all just entering our 40’s and thus were all beginning to get the fun medical tests about this and that and cholesterol. I said, to a friend next to me, that I’d started eating oatmeal everyday for breakfast and my cholesterol had dropped …..

The room went silent.

Everyone heard “cholesterol dropped” and stopped speaking. Everyone wanted to hear how much it had dropped – which was about 8 points. In our twenties the conversation stopper was gossip about sex. Now the secret sauce was HDL and LDL

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