steppiestory.png2021 Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, selected by Rumaan Alam.
"Steppie" is a story about a blended family with extra swirls, wherein a white childless woman tries to fit the mixed children of her Black partner into her curated life.
“[His] being Black came up mostly when
they were around other people…
His being a father was the bigger difference. ”
Mary pulled almost all of this short story from a chapter in her recent novel manuscript.
Mary Clark grew up in Baltimore and after many years of living in Massachusetts, returned to her roots to write novels. She earned an MFA in Poetry from The University of Iowa. Her poems and stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Fiction, The Iowa Review, New England Review, Crazyhorse, and in J Journal: New Writing on Justice. She is honored to win the… more
Steppie: A Prizewinning Short Story
“[His] being Black came up mostly when they were around other people…
His being a father was the bigger difference. “
The story also looks at a woman’s love for children and also her chosen childlessness, a balance that’s hard her for her to square. Mary pulled almost all of this short story from a chapter in her recent novel manuscript.”
Please read this story online or download the PDF from this project's media collection, as it appeares in Crazyhorse since December 2021.
Interview on Craft & Prizewinning Story
Please see the Crazyhorse interview with Mary about her prizewinning story, craft, and the writer's life online as it appears on the Crazyhorse website since December 2021, or download the PDF from this project's media collection.
Steppie: a Novel-in-Progress
STEPPIE, is the story of Simone, a single, white, fifty-year-old woman, whose bold and quirky interiority drives the narrative. Like many women who live outside of family and marriage, Simone is searching for belonging. On the Sunday when she meets a handsome Black man selling Christmas trees, and asks him if he’s married, she mishears his answer, and begins an affair with him as a mistake. When she finds out that he is married, she vows to end the relationship, because she’s supposed to. She has women friends who’ve been cheated on. When Malcolm tells her that he has two young daughters, his being a father makes it easier.
STEPPIE is a love story, forbidden and different, but also a story of affection, betrayal, and the bond between mature women friends. It looks head on at Simone’s love of children and her chosen childlessness, which is sometimes hard for her and others to square. It goes toward the difficult. It captures the nuances and in-betweens, and sometimes contradictions, in the tacit hierarchy of marriage, singleness, motherhood, childlessness, career, wealth, and romance. More literary than romantic, STEPPIE plays out the opposite attraction push-pull between Simone, a Curtis Sittenfeld sound, who wants to bare-bones her life to make room for her Art, and Malcolm, a Black Chuck Palahniuk with a Boston accent, who wants to fill his up.
Short story published in The New England Review
The New England Review published a short story titled "Many of the Men" in December 2017.
The story borrows closely from the first chapter of the completed novel manuscript, CAMBRIDGE ROYALTY
Please read this story online as it appears in The New England Review or download the PDF from this project's media collection.
Many of the Men<p>A short story published in <em>The New England Review </em>in December 2017.</p>
This story borrows closely from the first chapter in a completed novel manuscript.<br />
<p>Please read this story <a href="https://www.nereview.com/vol-38-no-1-2017/many-of-the-men/">online</a> or download the PDF from this project's media collection, as it appeared in <span style="font-style: italic;">The New England</span> in December 2017.<br />
Please read this story <a href="http://www.nereview.com/vol-38-no-1-2017/many-of-the-men/">online</a> or download it below.</p>
Short story published in J Journal: New Writing on Justice
The story borrows closely from the fifteenth chapter of the completed novel manuscript, CAMBRIDGE ROYALTY.
Please read this story online as it appears in J Journal: New Writing on Justice or download the PDF from this project's media collection.
CAMBRIDGE ROYALTY: Completed Novel Manuscript
CAMBRIDGE ROYALTY is a literary novel about a resilient African American addict and criminal that takes place in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is the fictional story of Jackson Tower, a smart, optimistic, father with generational roots in the city, but in many ways this book is also the author’s story: the result of her compulsion to uncover the secret life of a man she had the pleasure of living with for most of the ten years they were together.
When the novel begins, Jackson works on the crew upgrading the infrastructure of an elementary school built on what was his grandfather’s land, seized by the city when he was a child to accommodate the children of new families drawn to the area as part of the soaring growth brought on by Harvard, MIT, and the industries spawned by those institutions. After the union takes him off that job, and his city abandons his efforts to get reinstated, Jackson tries to get whole while gradually unraveling.
This novel is a thematically-resonant story, driven by dramatic events that take place in the underrepresented neighborhoods of an esteemed part of the US. Jackson himself, lovable and complicated, a victim as well as a perpetrator of injustice, has his own take on racism and fair play, sometimes illuminating, and sometimes confused. The writing rigorously avoids conforming to notions of correctness and well-meaning. Instead it seeks to widen the frame, inviting readers to struggle with the messiness of life.
The New England Review published a short story in December 2017 that borrows closely from the first chapter. Please read this story online as it appears in The New England Review.
J Journal: New Writing on Justice published a short story in the Spring of 2022 that borrows closely from the fifteenth chapter. Please read this story online as it appears in J Journal: New Writing on Justice.
Fiction and Poetry Publications
- "Cambridge Royalty." J Journal (2022) Forthcoming.
- "Steppie." Crazyhorse 100 (2021): 125-133. Print. Online.
- "Many of the Men." The New England Review 38.1 (2017): 26-38. Print. Online.
- "The Red-Headed Man." The Whole Story: Editors on Fiction. Ed. Warren Slesinger. Beaufort: The Bench Press, 1995. 76-83. Print.
- "The Plastic Masterpiece." The New England Review 16.3 (Summer 1994): 119-127. Print.
- "The Red-Headed Man." Fiction 11.2 (1993): 34-42. Print.
- "One Way Love,” Your Place,” “She No Longer Looks at Herself.” The New England Review 16.4 (Fall 1994): 45-48. Print.
- “Parking,” “Pantyhose.” Ploughshares 19.1 (Spring 1993): 163-165. Print.
- "Our Philosophy Professor Used the Table as an Example of the Physical World,” “The Small, Black Velvet Purse with the Rhinestone Clasp.” Passages North 12.1 (Summer 1991): 4. Print.
- "Love Caught.” Black Warrior Review (Spring/Summer 1990): 110. Print.
- "The Curious,” The Late-Shift Workers,” “The Fish Lovers.” River Styx 29 (1990): 53-55. Print.
- "Breasts,” “The Guinea Hen.” The Iowa Review 19.2 (1989): 70-74. Print.
- Crazyhorse. January 2021. Online.
- The New England Review. January 2019. Online.
Poetry Book-Length Manuscript
Published Short Story Reprinted as Editor's Choice
Pages from Editors' Praise of Mary's WritingA copy of pages in the anthology The Whole Story: Editors on Fiction wherein the editors of Fiction magazine speak on why they selected Mary’s story “The Red-Headed Man” as a representative of their standards of craft.
“Mary Clark writes a tight line”
- Mark Mirksy