Marian Mathews Clark grew up in logging country in Mist, Oregon, in a family of chroniclers. Her mother kept a diary from age thirteen until she died at eighty-seven, and her father wrote poetry about sawmilling, logging and the neighbors. Though Marian was always writing something, she didn’t know writing was a career option, so decided  that teaching physical education in a girls’ detention home was the way to go. That notion ended abruptly when she tried to teach an archery class to junior high kids as did pursuing a high school teaching career when, as a student teacher, she knocked the clock off the wall, threw her arms over her head and yelled ‘Help’ in front of a snickering class.   
        Concluding she was a one-on-one person, she enrolled in The U of Iowa’s Counselor Ed Master’s Program after which she worked three years as a high school counselor. It was in that setting that she learned her brain may be mis-wired when instead of signing ‘Mrs. Clark’ on a student’s slip back to math class, she signed ‘Mrs. Algebra.’ 
In 1971, she moved back to Lamoni where she worked as Director of  Counseling at Graceland College which presented her with all sorts of challenges. For instance, her first year, she was assigned the task of showing VD films in the Men’s Dorm. She survived it only because her assistant, the captain of the football team, countered the hooting and jeering by barking out, “Hey, listen up.” 
        After ten years of counseling and creating workshops and panels and winning the battle to bring Planned Parenthood to campus, Marian declared, “I’m going to write.” And write she did in her Doctoral of Arts program at Drake University where she supported herself by teaching comp classes and working as a nanny which included COOKING. When she called Mel, her ex who’d done all the cooking during their marriage, and asked if he thought she could handle it, he paused, then said, “Yes, if you stay conscious.” 
        Amazingly, the family survived the year during which time she applied and was admitted to Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. She earned her  MFA in 1987, the same year she won the Iowa Art Council’s first place Fiction Award for her story, ‘Houseboats and Peacock Feathers.’ 
When she retired after twenty-four years as an Academic Advisor, she hit a major crossroads: How does a childless, partner-less aging transplant find home and purpose without the community of colleagues and students who’ve kept her sane? It was that question and the subsequent year of trails and errors that spawned Sixty-Something and Flying Solo: A Retiree Sorts it Out in Iowa

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