ID: Mary Beth Caschetta

Last modified: Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mary Beth Caschetta was living in Provincetown, working on a novel, when a fateful Valentine’s Day weekend getaway to Northampton, about 10 years ago, changed everything. During her visit, she says, she looked around and thought, “Here! Here is where I want to finish my novel. Here is where I want to live!” Once she settled into her new home, she became one of the first members of the Writer’s Mill (currently in Florence), where, she says, “a bunch of writers share a wonderful office space and a thriving daily writing community.” Caschetta finished her novel, “Miracle Girls,” a loose modern-day telling of Chaucer’s “Second Nun’s Tale, The Life of St. Cecilia,” in 2013. The book will be published in November by Engine Books.

Full name: Mary Beth Caschetta

People know you as: MB

Date and place of birth: 1966 in Rochester, New York

Address: Crescent Street, Northampton

Job: I’ve owned my own content strategy and medical writing business, Caschetta Consulting, for nearly 17 years, but it was meant to be what I did while working on my own creative projects. In addition to my novel, I’m the author of a book of short stories, “Lucy on the West Coast” (Alyson Books, 1996).

Who lives under the same roof as you? My spouse, Meryl Cohn, a wonderful writer and playwright

Education: Bachelor’s degree in English literature/creative writing from Vassar College, master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in medical sociology/women studies, from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York

Pets: Violette Leduc, a black standard poodle, named after the French writer and author of the book “La Bâtarde.” The original Violette always thought she should have achieved more recognition for her work than she did. The joke at my house is that we feel similarly, only we are not French

Hobbies: Running, reading, yoga, cooking and sitting on the front porch with Crescent Street neighbors

Book you’d recommend to a friend: “The Girl’s Club” by Sally Bellerose

Favorite movie/TV show/singer: Movie — “Magnolia”; TV Show — “Getting On”; singer — Joni Mitchell

Five items you can’t live without: My laptop, organic kale, more than one pair of glasses, everything gluten-­free, running shoes

Last thing you purchased just for fun: A pair of earrings. I haven’t bought any for about 10 years, not since before Meryl gave me the pair I always wear. Unfortunately, I lost one recently. I will probably wear these for another decade or so

What’s at the top of your bucket list? To finish writing and then publish (I hope) a nonfiction book about being disinherited

Life­-changing experience: Getting married to Meryl 10 years ago on May 17, the anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education. We were wed the very first day it was possible in Provincetown. The Barnstable County Judge, Robert Welsh Jr., held our hands together and said, “This is a great day for civil rights.” And it was

Strangest job you ever held: Working as an advertising copywriter for Viagra. I was like the lesbian Peggy Olson on “Mad Men,” only it was the 1990s rather than 1960s. I used to have to do the math (which is hard for me) to turn study data into charts and graphs about increased percentages in the number of monthly erections. It was actually pretty amusing

Your Facebook status: I posted the logo of a gold seal award indicating that my blog was chosen as one of the “101 Best Websites for Writers” in 2014. The blog is anonymous, and I intend to reveal my identity when my novel comes out this November. My FB friends wanted the scoop, so I gave them the link. I guess I’m coming out little by little

A little­ known fact about you: In high school, I was homecoming queen

Dumbest thing you ever did: Not sure. There’s a lot to choose from. I’ll have to think about this some more

One trend you’d like to see return: Kindness

What really sets you off? I have problems with drivers who cut me off. But I’m working on it

If you could spend the day with a celebrity from any time in history, who would it be? Eleanor Roosevelt. I have a huge framed poster of her with one of my favorite quotes: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”

Best or worst advice you ever got: Best advice: Write every day. Worst advice: Write every day

Favorite place to get a bite: Bela Vegetarian Restaurant in Northampton. I love the staff and I love tofu

What does your ideal weekend look like? Having no schedule whatsoever, so that a spontaneous plan to go to the movies can arise naturally and as necessary

One thing you would change about yourself: I’d like to be a more patient person

People who knew you in high school thought you were: Straight

Whom do you most admire? I admire people who have close relationships with their siblings

Parting shot: Be the light. It’s dark out there

— Compiled by Brenda Nelson

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