Mary Parker
The overall story.   Mary O., an award-winning writer and nature-lover, lives on the edge of the Gila Wilderness area in southwestern New Mexico. Her work includes dozens of articles on topics including travel, family, nature, conservation, education, and pieces that appeal to general audiences.

Mary O. was awarded the 2019 Mississippi Review Prize in Creative Nonfiction. In April 2018, she was honored with a Scribes' Scholarship for Texas Writers over 40, presented by the Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund.

She's the recipient of the 2015 Gabriele Rico Award in Creative Nonfiction and, in December 2016 one of her braided essays was short-listed for the Barry Lopez Prize in Creative Nonfiction.

Mary O. is the author of Explore Texas -- A Nature Travel Guide through Texas A&M University Press.  The book, part of Texas A&M's "Myrna & David K. Langford Working Lands" series, is perfect for nature lovers who love to travel and travelers who love nature.

Explore Texas: A Nature Travel Guide was awarded a 2016 "Excellence in Craft Award" by the Texas Outdoor Writers' Association (TOWA).  Publishers' Weekly included it in their spring roundup of Best Travel Books of 2016
Mary O's a member of PEN America and as such pledges to do her "utmost to dispel race, class, and national hatreds and to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace in the world. And since freedom implies voluntary restraint...also pledge[s]...to oppose such evils of a free press as mendacious publication, deliberate falsehood, and distortion of facts for political and personal ends.”   
Mary O's Words:

Long ago when I first fledged to adulthood, I would have told you that I write in order to express my individuality. But now, decades later, I know it's a need to connect to something greater than myself that pushes me to the pen. 

I keep pushing that pen because writing helps me organize life's chaos, make sense of fate, and unscramble the interrelatedness of it all.  Us all.

My pieces vary a quite bit, but, without doing it consciously,  I regularly repeat certain themes:   the push-pull that comes from balancing individuality with community, and how, as part of the natural world, we respond.     

My life experiences run the gamut.   That’s why you’ll find that my clips run the gamut. I love lifting rocks, uncovering ordinary nuance, undressing the sky. Give me a topic and I’ll pursue it. Give me an audience and I’ll communicate. Give me a genre and I’ll pull at its threads.

I love being involved in life.  With writing as my spine I remain participatory. To stay limber I stay engaged. I purr or growl or lunge, depending upon which vertebra needs stretching. I travel frequently, rarely a stranger in strange lands, particularly those of México and Latin America. You'll often find me camping tentless, diving S.C.U.B.A., and exploring nature. In my earlier days, my path led me toward photojournalism (until motherhood led me elsewhere) and part of me longs to roam when I'm the one holding the camera.

I love words. When they play well together it satisfies something deeper than air. I stay amazed at how the simplicity of letters all-in-a-row has the power to shift worlds. I've always loved words, especially when written. At 5-years-old, I made “magazines” and gave them as gifts. I created my first real short story at eight. As a 10-year-old I somehow coerced my whole 6th-grade class into using a script I'd written to perform a school play.