Thursday, March 1st, 2012
“My peeps are awesome,” McConnell says of her fellow SMITH Magazine contributors. “They keep me laughing.”
We can’t get enough of Mary McConnell, known as MaryMc on SMITH, whose 2,000+ Six-Word Memoirs embody the roll-up-your-sleeves, can-do spirit that is so essential to our community. “Mary will do it, no problem!” reads one of her typical Six-Word Memoir. “My theory used to be that everything could be funny, eventually,” says McConnell. “I realized I was wasting a lot of time waiting for eventually to come.”
McConnell’s year hasn’t been the easiest thus far. (In one recent Six-Word Memoir, she writes: “‘I’m in the process of dying.’” Backstory: “Yes, Dad. You are.”) Even so, McConnell insists on soldiering on with grace, wit and a healthy sense of the absurd. “Felt the need to explain purchases,” writes McConnell after she purchased 12 pairs of high-waisted granny panties (for her 82-year-old mom, not for herself, she wished she’d explained to the bored teenager at the cash register).
Despite, and in many ways because of, McConnell’s busy life as an illustrator, house refurbisher, mom, daughter, wife, and sometimes-employee of Target, McConnell has helped make SMITH Magazine the warm and inviting community it is today. Indeed, in March, 2011, McConnell illustrated a gift of Six-Word Memoirs from L2L3 and other SMITH members (check out the lovely piece here) that celebrated the birth of founder Larry Smith’s son. “My peeps are awesome,” McConnell says of her fellow contributors. “They keep me laughing.”
McConnell took the time to answer SMITH Magazine’s six questions from her home in Syracuse, NY.
Name: Mary McConnell
Town: Syracuse, NY
Member since: September, 2009
You’ve been a member since September 2009 and have written more than 2,000 Six-Word Memoirs.
What keeps you coming back to SMITH?
I love the format. I love the community feel. I love the feedback, the support, and the characters I’ve met.
A couple years ago I had a subscription to Newsweek. In the front, there was always a Six-Word Memoir about some current topic [Ed. Note: This was our "Six-Word Letters" collaboration with the weekly magazine.] It quickly became my favorite part of the magazine. Once I found SMITH, I let the Newsweek subscription expire.
What do you do when you’re not contributing to SMITH Magazine?
I’m just a mom/wife/daughter who’s trying to keep it together during these “sandwich generation” years. As of this week, I illustrate patterns and prints for several different clothing lines. (That’s the backstory to the Six-Word Memoir “Interviewed on whim. Hired on spot.”) Prior to that, I managed a nonprofit community center, taught art to inner-city first-graders, taught design to masters students at Syracuse University, bought dilapidated houses and restored them as rental properties (and I am currently working on one of those now). I’ve also done freelance design and illustrated a number of books. Oh, and I worked at Target for the week of Black Friday.
I’m lucky to have creative outlets like drawing and painting, as well as physical ones, like tearing a house apart and putting it back together. I swing a mean sledgehammer!
Are you particularly close with any of our other long-time SMITH contributors?
L2L3 has been my buddy for almost as long as I’ve been submitting to SMITH. God bless her for her wit, sarcasm, and demented, yet spot-on view of the world. She is a great listener, sounding-board, source of information regarding dealing with crazy people, and the creator of the fudge-induced mouthgasm. I had an opportunity to meet her in person recently, and I missed it because of my stupid week-long Target career.
We noticed that you commented on L2L3’s Six-Word Memoir: “He asked! He finally asked!! Yes!!!” Wedding proposal?
Actually, L2L3’s puppy finally asked to go out to piddle. It’s a momentous occasion for dog-moms. It’s sharing the little victories that makes the SMITH family so awesome. I was so happy for a friend I’ve never met. It made my day.
What’s your writing life like?
I’ve always loved writing, but it was my high school English teacher Bruce Emra who convinced me it was something I might want to pursue. He entered a one-act play of mine in a national competition, and I received an honorable mention.
I’ve written several children’s stories that I sent out to a number of publishers. No acceptances, but my son enjoyed hearing them growing up. Now, I keep threatening family members I’m going to write a book. They’re a non-stop source of absurd material.
Finally, Mary McConnell, what’s your Six-Word Memoir today?
Life kicks ass. Kick it back.