About Me

Mary Beth Danielson

I grew up in rural Michigan just a few miles from Lake Michigan. When I was a young teenager, on a beautiful early autumn day, my dad died suddenly and unexpectedly. The following spring, although I didn’t see the connection at the time, I couldn’t walk away from a tree spangled with brand-new leaves. I needed to say to myself exactly what that color of that green was so I stood staring at that tree like a cow studying a pinwheel. I was mesmerized by the brilliant green of those new leaves. Suddenly I realized the tree was exact color of a lime Popsicle with the sun shining through it. Settling this in my mind relieved my soul.

One more goofball writer born.

I grew up in a devout Christian family and then attended a devout Christian college. After that I moved to Chicago where I lived a less devout but far more rewarding life. I made new friends, met my husband, and had my kids. They are grown now with good lives of their own. I am very proud of them.

Religion was a powerful part of my upbringing; to understand both my faith and lack of faith I went to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University in Evanston. I learned there much of what I would need to live my life. I didn’t, however, become a minister.

In 1992 I was one of six writers of “Reinventing Home”, a collection of essays by feminists exploring domestic life. You can generally buy it on-line, used, for less than a dollar. The New York Times said my writing was “exquisitely poignant.” That made me exquisitely happy.

I wrote a weekly column for the Racine Journal Times from 1995-2006. It was called “Lost in Racine” and it brought me fans, adventures, and some of the best friends of my life.

I have worked all my life at jobs besides writing. I’ve picked asparagus and cherries. I collected bad debts for Marshall Field’s in Chicago. I was a bank teller where I was held up at gunpoint twice! I’ve administered programs, straightened t-shirts at Target, raised kids and made a home. I worked in the Racine County Jail for ten years, coordinating a program to help qualified, incarcerated people get jobs. I still part-time facilitate a cognitive skills (how to make better decisions, guys!) program for Department of Corrections.

From 2000 until today, I have been involved with MayaWorks, a Guatemalan/North American Fair Trade endeavor. I’ve been to Guatemala four times; I have learned a lot about what makes people poor and what makes them rich and how to tell the difference.

I have many books, amazing friends, and a second-hand cat named Lulu. My husband Len is a smart and imaginative guy who helps me with most of the techie stuff of this website. We moved not long ago to a small home in an older, no-frills neighborhood outside Milwaukee.

All of the above, sooner or later, shows up in my writing.

Welcome to it.

I’m glad you are here.
Mary Beth

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