I’ve always been drawn to the outdoors, and spend as much time as I can in it. It led me to study biology, first aquatic biology, later microbiology, and sustainable agriculture. My husband at the time and I built a log house on land where we grew nuts. It became the beginning of hazel production in the Midwest. Later I got a job at Luther College teaching biology. I’ve taught piano and dance, have a weakness for Beethoven. I love skating, both ice and roller, but wheels work best in parades.
My journey into writing is an odd one.
In school the scariest assignment was to make up a story. I could never think of anything and while my friend Jill cooked up some fantasy between breakfast and school, I sweated for days came up with nothing, or some horrible mishmash I couldn’t even look at after I’d written it down. If you had told me then I’d love writing some day, I’d look at you like you were some kind of deranged tooth fairy.
You have to write to get through school, so I did, painfully. It was doable if it was about the art of Ancient Assyria and not some blank page on which I was supposed to be original. But when my family started a round robin letter, pre internet, pre email, I used it as a kind of concise one page journal of that month, and tried to make it interesting. My plunge into fiction happened when I showed my Mom an account of her brother’s funeral, and the vivid people who honored him, including close relatives, I was shocked that she thought I was telling it all wrong. It was my Sinclair Lewis moment. So I changed the names, but of course you could still tell this was cousin John even if I called him cousin Francois, so I changed some things about him. Then it got too complicated so I gave up and started making up my characters from scratch. Voila, fiction!Here’s a little about what I’ve written.
I finished my MFA in creative writing from Augsburg College in August 2016. My thesis is my novel, No One Runs in the Country. Before that I studied for 13 years at the Iowa University summer writers workshops.
Here’s a recent Bio:
Mary Lewis has an MFA in creative writing from Augsburg University, an MS in Ecology from the University of Minnesota, and she taught in the Biology Department of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She has published stories and essays in journals including Antigonish Review, Blue Lake Review, Book of Matches, Litbreak Magazine, North American Review, Persimmon Tree, RiverSedge, r.kv.r.y. quarterly, Sleet Magazine, The Spadina Literary Review, Superstition Review, Toasted Cheese, Wordrunner and The Woven Tale Press. Forthcoming: Allium, Cleaver Magazine, Evening Street Review, Feels Blind Literary.