Mary Gray Kaye puts all her diversified experience in writing
Mary Gray Kaye work includes Newspaper Reporting, Corporate Travel, and PR
Mary Gray Kaye had to suffer the impact of becoming a model at an early age of 4 years
Mary Gray Kay participated in several Chicago writing communities and has delivered readings at various Chicago and out of town venues. She attended Ragdale Writers Retreat in Lake Forest, Illinois and is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She was born and has lived the major portion of her life in Chicago and its environs.
Welcome, Mary Gray Kaye.
Your real name and pen name?
My real name is Mary Gray Kaye -- no pen name
Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
I am a city woman and I had a city childhood -- playing in alleys, drinking black cows, attending a school across the street, sitting in the front seat of an elevated train to watch it slip into the tunnel and become a subway. However, I was a working child -- my mother had me modeling from age 4 until adolescence attacked me in my teens: braces, glasses, and pimples. I had them all.
About your education
Parochial grammar school; all-girl high school; and then, the BIG time -- Northwestern University, Journalism School where my class was smaller than my high school graduating class. A dream education.
What career did you plan during your education days
My mother planned that I would be a wife and mother (hence Northwestern as hunting ground). But I worked too hard at writing to settle into that mold.
I had planned to be a broadcaster but discovered when I graduated that women then weren't allowed on the air. What was open to women promising a future in the 50's was public relations. So I settled, always a little remorseful
What languages you can speak and write?
I speak English. I write English. I have a block against foreign sounds.
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
I am stumped here. I am not inspired by anything notable. I admire tenacity and beauty and loyalty. Inspiring people often overwhelm me rather than prod me. Words and phrases will often make me gasp.
What hurts you most in this world
That the greedy of the world get away with their greedy ways.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
I went through a period of debilitating challenges. Kept a journal through some 5. 6 years and if I can bear to read it will write a memoir of conquering disaster: I lost my job, and my profession; I was involved in an age discrimination lawsuit; my father was dying; my children empty-nested; I split with my husband.
I overcame it by addressing each situation singly, engaged a therapist and, living on the shores of Lake Michigan, I walked the beach every morning, fall, winter, spring, plotting out my moves, one problem at a time. My mantra was "I'm too good for this."
When I emerged on the side of sanity I stopped walking.
If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
Katharine Hepburn -- I want to look like her, talk like her, dress like her, act like her. I don't.
What is your favorite genre and why?
It has been spy stories but I am broadening my scope a bit. I like them because the action is so far removed from any experience I would ever have -- or want. And their intricate plots challenge me.
When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
I didn't start writing seriously until I was in college -- was forced into endless papers due because after all, it was journalism school. I was in journalism school because my older brother at one time had expressed a desire to be a journalist (he ended up a Victorian Literature professor). He had undue influence on me.
But I must have had some talent and some samples to make me acceptable to the admittance team at Northwestern.
The purpose of my writing initially was to get me good grades in school -- later to guarantee a paycheck during my career -- and now in retirement to get out of my head all that buzzes around.
Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
Some of my essays and poems have been published. Plus the ghost-written memoirs of two gentlemen who has led rather extravagant lives
Synopsis of A WINGED THING, AND HOLY:
GENEVIEVE DUPONT at 37 is a little bit tethered, a little bit talented, a little bit desperate. She hungers for the love of a poet who admires her, mentors her, seduces her, deceives her, then pirates her work. Instead of bringing him to the altar, she brings him to court.
A WINGED THING, AND HOLY is her five month journey through emotional upheaval and beyond. It tracks Genny’s lopsided love affair with JONATHAN WATERHOUSE, a poet twenty years her senior who is at home in the very world of poetry she craves. In pursuing the art and the poet, she becomes one.
Setbacks – at work, in her family relationships, in her social life, in pursuit of Jon – are preludes to her aging lover’s admission that he is married. Catapulting herself out of this uneasy involvement, she turns her back on him and Chicago, the city that sustained them. But the desperation follows her. In New York she finds herself vandalized, hearing the poetry she wrote to him read as his own in a praise-filled literary event.
Buoyed then by a new confidence in her talent and angered at his treachery, she successfully claims what is her own in an intellectual property suit against him. With this retaliation she ultimately balances her life in newly created poetry, new recognition, a new profession and new Paris environs.
What are your forthcoming writings?
If I can bear to relive it, a memoir of my years of horror -- just to prove that with stamina, anything can be overcome.
What are your future plans?
I would like to take A WINGED THING, AND HOLY on a cross-country tour. I like to travel and I have friends across the U.S. who have cheered me on through the writing of the novel. They would be great partners in bookstore and library readings. I like my book; it has been with me for many, many years and I could easily spend the rest of my life promoting it.
What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
What I didn't take care of while writing were social engagement and food. During the crush of writing, they fell by the wayside as I paid homage to my muse. What I most took care of was research -- everything had to be based in fact (except the plot, of course -- pure fantasy).
Your dream destination on Earth?
I am in my dream destination. I live on the beach, high up over Lake Michigan, a ten-minute drive from downtown Chicago.
If not there, I would like to be in a cottage in the Highlands of Scotland, eating salmon for dinner every night listening to bagpipes.
Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
I was born in the Midwest but have traveled everywhere but South America. My best likes are gazing at the African skies, cheering the bulls in Spain, eating Nutella and banana crepes on Paris streets, wading into the Mediterranean Sea, drinking beer under the Great Wall of China.
Your favorite time of the day?
early, early morning.
Your zodiac/ sun sign?
I am a Leo -- two steps forward, one step back.
Your favorite color and why?
black -- it covers many sins.
Your favorite book and why?
Johnny Got His Gun -- The first book I read that astounded me.
Your favorite celebrity and why?
Barack Obama -- He's honest and doomed by the times he was catapulted into.
Your favorite food?
Some quickies: Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile, Morning or Evening, Coffee or Tea, Mountain or Sea, Long Drive or Short Drive, Silence or Conversation, Water or Fire, Air or Earth, Mars or Jupiter, Moon or Sun, Tulip or Rose, Red or Blue, Left or Right, Glance or Stare
moon, smile, morning, tea, mountain, long drive, silence, fire, air, Mars, moon, tulip, red, right, glance
What three words come to your mind for each –
Technology, geek, challenge, gift
Life, breath, hope, happiness
God, help, buddy, everything
Humanity, hopeless, hopeful, enigma
Terrorism, brutal, senseless, overpowering
Racism, confusing, unfounded, troublesome
Childhood Abuse, why, how, who?
Love, indefinable, unattainable, cherishing
Parenting, protection, pride, privilege
Old age a gift, a joy, a reward
State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
My favorite quote (I have used it in the novel) is from Winnie the Pooh: “What day is it?’ “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh.
The last line of your autobiography would be…
"She lived a life." (notice, no judgment there)
Thanks, Mary Gray Kaye for such fabulous answers. You probably became the youngest professional. It was sad to learn about the impact of modeling at an early age of 4.