a few things about me ...

the backstory


An Invitation


More than 17 years ago, I was offered an invitation of sorts (a wild hair idea) while walking down the paper goods aisle of my local grocery store. The idea? Buy a dog bone, and toss it on the floor of my living room. Look, I headed down that aisle to buy cereal – not waste money on a bone for a dog I didn’t even own! I didn’t buy the bone.


The idea didn’t go away – every time I went grocery shopping it was waiting for me. So, one day I bought a bone, and tossed it on the living room floor. Within 48 hours, the most amazing thing happened  my imagination and a room full of people gave birth to an invisible, 3-toed, 150-pound, beagle named “bill” (small “b” please). Now that was the beginning of a real adventure!


A few weeks later, dawg-gone-it-all, I summoned the courage to tell a crazy story about a dog no one could see – to a real live audience. I’d never told a story in public before. In the fall of 2000, I began telling stories professionally.


I came to realize the importance of both story and play in leading an engaged, connected, creative, and self-directed life. But, I needed to know more and continued studying, learning and developing my practice around our human need for play and meaning making (story).


That wild hair idea was life changing – it was an invitation – to the magic of play, to listening and telling stories, and to the importance of self-leadership.

When play sits at our table, stress doesn’t knock so loudly at the door, joy takes a seat, we relax and it becomes easier to communicate.

Mary K Clarki believe your …


  • stories, presence and style of play are gifts and instruments of connection.
  • your play preference and stories can serve as maps for personal direction and change.
  • desire to honor your creative voice and experience sets you apart.
    work is important.
  • voice is a creative voice.
  • most significant relationship – the one with yourself – affects every other relationship you have.
If the story you recently shared was a car, what kind of car would it be? Why?

today i am a …


  • Story Facilitator and Oral storyteller – with a focus on personal story work. The more we understand the stories in our lives, the easier it is to communicate and connect with others.
  • Play Facilitator – my work centers on personal change, growth, and leadership as well as mindfulness and communication in consideration of community, relationship and environment.
  • Writer – I write and blog about personal leadership, personal storytelling, presence, and play. I also share my adventures including those of my imaginary beagle. I’m a process writer, journaler, documenter and believe writing is a work of art.

and, I would be remiss if I didn’t add I’m also an adventurer, explorer, artist, and teaching artist.


one thing you should know about me …


TyposI’m a firm believer in celebrating typos! They remind me we’re human, and they give all the grammarians among us something to talk about. Occasionally I plant them like seeds in the garden, hoping they grow into a smile smile. But, don’t get me wrong, I do care! If you see an issue, please share, but know I’ll be doing a happy dance behind the scenes!

Personal leadership is not so much about noise, as it is about music.

want to know a bit more …


engage, connect, create - lead!

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