“Towards the end of Mary Pacifico Curtis’s gorgeous, meditative, UNDERSTANDING MOONSEED, she writes: ‘We are all subject to wild fate.’ And nothing feels more wilder or comprehensive than these—as she calls them–essays of life. Curtis establishes early on a privileged life—but never uses that privilege to stop excavating with her excitable and curious wonder a life as a daughter, a mother, a widow and, in the book’s most exquisite essay, a survivor of surgery she undergoes years after a flu-virus was discovered in her heart. UNDERSTANDING MOONSEED shuttles between her various lives in various places with the kind of shadow life of grief over the recent death of her husband. That death is the centerpiece here, but maybe the book’s best surprise is how Mary Curtis dramatically seeks to connect a deep awareness of the American West and awareness of Native American history with her own journey into an unknown future as a widow. The physical world and that spiritual journey become a beautiful context eventually. Enjoined. And in the end, these essays not only face the restless nature of a wild fate, but the understanding that the human spirit can be as wide and generous as the land to which it calls home and beyond.” —Michael Klein, author of When I Was a Twin
“Every sentence Mary Curtis writes is part of a dazzling, guided journey through reimagined experience. In one moment we’re dizzy from gazing up at skyscrapers, and in the next, calm and subdued, as we exchange glances with an octopus. Her words punctuate our perception like the footsteps of steadfast pilgrims, and indeed we cannot help but become pilgrims ourselves as we travel with her, hand in hand, heart in heart, into the ever haunting and comforting place that is memory.” —Jon Michael Varese, The Spirit Photographer
“Mary Pacifico Curtis writes of her mother, ‘I think she loved me until I got a mind of my own.’ Indeed, this is a writer with a mind of her own, and her writing is by turns spunky and elegiac. From love and glamorous success in the early days of Silicon Valley, to saying goodbye to family she never knew in small town Minnesota, these pages take us along on a highly traveled life that can’t escape loss.” —Rachel Howard, The Risk of Us
“Curtis’ sixth sense for what makes words ring– hollow, hallowed, or haunted–inside the walls of her personal architecture informs the themes of Understanding Moonseed. In this essay collection, “a love supreme” guides Curtis from Chicago’s Gold Coast to Silicon Valley branding executive, through reinvention as a memoirist and poet, to her second marriage with Michael, a union that interweaves the felt presences of their deceased spouses who haunt and steward them from grief’s unknowing to new births and epiphanies. In UNDERSTANDING MOONSEED, Curtis invites us with signature courage to grow rather than to retreat after loss in response to love’s call. —Lise Goett, author of LEPROSARIUM
“This is a collection honed by experience and seasoned with compassion. Mary Curtis is a veteran of love, an expert at loss, and a high priestess of perseverance. Her essays capture the unpredictability and yet the inevitability of life’s truest gifts.” —Aimee Liu, author of Glorious Boy and Gaining
Literary Nonfiction. Essay. Memoir. Hybrid.
Mary Pacifico Curtis is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, seasoned branding and PR professional, and author of poetry and non-fiction. Published work includes two poetry chapbooks, Between Rooms and The White Tree Quartet (WordTech's Turning Point imprint), and numerous pickups in literary magazines and anthologies. Accolades include recognition as a 2012 Joy Harjo Poetry Finalist (Cutthroat Journal), 2019 Poetry Finalist in The Tiferet Journal, non-fiction finalist in The 48th New Millenium Writings contest and a 2021 non-fiction finalist in The Tupelo Quarterly Open. At 24, she founded Pacifico, Inc., which grew into one of Silicon Valley's largest independently owned PR and branding firms with clients that included many global technology leaders. When both daughters went off to college, she earned an MFA in 2012 in creative writing from Goddard College. Curtis lives with her husband in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains on a terraced property where she grows vegetables and fends off gophers while admiring deer, coyotes, wild turkeys and the occasional bobcat.