Mary Beth Writes


Click right here.  September 2023.pdf (

The September issue of Creative Wisconsin Magazine is now published online and you can read my story plus lots of other good writing.

My story “How Crow Got Out of Jail” starts on page 28 and this is what the judges said about it: This entry is perfection in every way from plot to punctuation and took my breath away. Evocative prose delivers the reader into the soul of Crow in his jail and work-release environments. “I am an artist with a forklift,” the character says. “I am in my story now.” And “This poetry will fight endlessness.” The story touches briefly on societal issues, too, such as how money works in the incarceration industry.

(Actually, Crow’s not on work release but I’m not quibbling with an introduction like this!)

A person can also order a hard copy from Amazon if they search for Creative Wisconsin Magazine Sept 2023. I suspect most of you will not do this, but hey, I know one person (ahem) who coughed up $12 to see her writing in print.

If you read my story and like it, please let me know in the comments here or anywhere. Skywriting would also be okay.

If you have friends who might like my writing, I’d be honored and delighted if you recommended my blog to others. If you do this and they subscribe to this website (free, never shared) and you live local, I’ll even share snickerdoodles next time I bake some. Let me know.


Reading “How Crow Got Out of Jail”took me back many years to when I met you, and looked forward to reading your columns in the Racine Journal Times. The story is wonderful and I love how certain phrases and word groupings are so good that they make me stop and read them again, so I can enjoy them again. Well done, you!

Perfection indeed!
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Thank you!!

This story is great! The first place is well deserved! Enjoyed reading.

Con graduations!!!
Mary Beth's picture


I loved the proud of you, and so happy that your writing was recognized as award winning! I have known that for a long time :)
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Thanks and one of these days ... a story of a woman who walks across half a buildings to make photocopies just so she can talk to another smart woman for five minutes before she returns to her work cave.

love that - I was always watching, hoping you would need copies or some kind of excuse to pop in my area. I did have a great window in my office, but there were other constrictions........

I loved your story! I watched a movie last weekend … one of the characters was writing a story and another man asked him how it was going to end.. He didn’t know yet …(because it was about other characters in this movie and the movie wasn’t over yet) The man advised him to make it a happy ending because everyone loves a happy ending to a story. Maybe that is accurate advice… I loved how your story ended on such a hopeful note for these two interesting characters!
Mary Beth's picture

That's such a good question - about how it's going to end. I never quite know but I just don't have tragedy in me - there's enough outside of us that I feel entitled to not invent more of it. Thanks for writing and yeps, it's always an adventure doing this. Takes me forever. I'm never sure what's going on though I usually like the stories later. Sometimes i remember characters as if they were people I knew once ...

What a beautifully written story. I felt like I knew him or would like to know him. Your jade ring is well deserved!
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Three Things


Three Things except it’s really more than that.

1. Earlier this year I read these two books by Palestinian writers and I recommend both. If you’ve read good books by Palestinian writers, maybe tell us about them in the comments?

The Confluence


(I’ve written about this trip before but it’s been a long time.)

In 2000 we did a wilderness canoe/kayak trip on Utah’s Green River. We did this with our three kids plus friends and their two sons. Our youngest was nine, the oldest was 16, and our combined three boys were slapdash goofballs.

Three Things / Story, Eclipse, Brando

1. I scheduled my Substack story to go out at 8AM this morning. I just looked to see why it didn’t show up and it says it is going to be sent at 8:49 tonight. I’m going to leave it like that. Maybe 9PM on a weekend night is a good time to send short fiction. Let me know if you have an opinion.

2. I read this quote by Marlon Brando who said this early in his career. “I’m not afraid of anything and I don’t love money.”

Even though this is probably not exactly true of me and you, I do love the bravado.

Peace Like a River / Book Report

4/3/2024 She Writes

I just finished reading Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and I am going to talk about it for a little bit before I forget how profoundly interesting and evocative this book was and is, at least to me.

I get emails from Boswell Bookstore (2559 N Downer Ave in Milwaukee). They host artist events pretty often and Monday evening, April 15th Len and I will be there for the Author Evening with Leif Enger. You can look up more of the details if you are interested. (Tickets are free but you need to reserve them.)

My Grandkids & 'Wandering Stars'


The past month has been jam-packed. The week in Mineral Point. Len’s two-day seminar in Chicago. Last week we had various grandkids here for three overnighters and yesterday our family came to Easter dinner here in our house which was clean after a week with grandkid overnighters so you know that was a piece of cake. Len smoked two hams (yes, hard to keep them lit) and I made the largest amounts of from-scratch scalloped potatoes plus macaroni and cheese that I have ever made. As in, I grated four pounds of cheese Saturday afternoon. “On Wisconsin.”

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