Crone logo by Mary Fogarty



Kara L.C. Jones, Dakota's Mommy
Board Member, MISS Foundation

1) What is is a web site used to promote the wise stories, poetic
songs and essays of energetic elders, who have shed stereotypes and ego
desires. Since young people so often lack good mentors,
hopes to honor such leaders and mentors, who stand in their own truth and are
ready to re-ignite curiosity and empower others, by cooperatively publishing
their life-long experiences. believes that only elders acquainted with the shadow self
can help others appreciate the challenges, opportunities and possibilities
that come with diversity. By confronting death, darkness and depression the
human spirit is transformed. Only through emotional maturity and spiritual
insight can we fully appreciate the roles we play as partners in the creation
of a greater whole.

2) What is "A Crone's Crossing"?

A Crone's Crossing is a 200 page collection of national and international
award winning prose, poetry and essays by Mary Fogarty. "I was put to the
test," she says, "but it never came in the form I expected. I invited
teachers, mentors, spiritual guides and healers of my community, wise Crones
and Sages in their own right, to assist me with the writing of this book.

Dr. Greg Candela, a professor of creative writing at the University of New
Mexico for the past 30 years, writes in his review, "Driven by powerful
passion and imagery-grounded in person and place, A Crone's Crossing, is an
American book. However, before this generation of women, the lone figure,
the wanderer, the orphan with no past, the powerful individual, had been,
almost exclusively, a male figure. Like Walt Whitman, however, Mary Fogarty
is a pioneer: vigorous, innovative, inclusive, and a tireless self-promoter.
In this context, Ms. Fogarty is a woman recreating herself-from the
nurturing, self-effacing mother and wife into an independent artist.

"Like the typical American male hero/artist, Ms. Fogarty is a rebel against
authority, an outsider. Unlike that male hero/artist, she draws strength not
only from what she is capable of doing, but also from her past, memories that
abide and must be rediscovered and raised from the dead. For Mary Fogarty,
that past resides most strongly in her Polish Babka, Grandmother Valeria. As
she told me, ''I frequently visited Babka; throughout my childhood in
Wisconsin, I wanted to know what she knew.

"The author also represents the journey of this most populous of American gen
erations into its aging; her writing, then, addresses the rediscovery of her
grandmother at a time when she is a grandmother.

"To conclude, Mary Fogarty, among the new American "women as artists," does
not, cannot take her journey of re-creation alone. I invite you to take
another look at the cover photo. Then, take this journey, women and men, with
the author. You will find, I think, that the vividly rendered details from
Mary Fogarty's Polish-American and Midwestern roots, her tentative and
tenacious femininity, and the power of her words will resonate. Who takes up
this book, takes a woman."

3) How did you get started as a writer?

I have been writing since the fifth grade. Often at the risk of getting
whacked, I hid under my bed quilts with a flash light to write thoughts in my
journal about my experiences. For me writing was a way to handle inner
turmoil and create fantasy worlds.

4) What is your mission with

The mission of is to honor mature authors (men and woman)
by offering a creative vehicle for self-expression. Crones Unlimited, a
cooperative press, publishes the writings of extraordinary elders who have
lived fully and powerfully. Their writings are crowned with ageless wisdom
and achievements that can transform everyday experiences into a resonating
voice, which speaks to the radiant body/mind of others.

5) What do you mean when you say "Crones" and "Sages"?

Crones in this case does not mean "withered old hags," but "hagias," a Greek
word for 'holy ones' or 'crowned ones' who served their communities as
mentors, teachers and spiritual guides. Crones, Sages, Noble Elders are
different names used to refer to the emotional maturity and spiritual
insights that come with long-living. Wisdom Keepers, as Navahos call their
elders, achieve a state-of-knowing through those small, necessary
deaths-career failures, divorce, the loss of a loved one-that become
opportunities for rebirth.

6) Was there a Crone or Sage who influenced your artistic or personal life,
who modeled for you what it meant to mentor others and raise awareness about
Crones and Sages?

Absolutely. My Polish Babka, Grandma Valeria, at 17 years of age came to the
United States in the 1890s on a rusty old tanker from Gdansk, Poland. "I
leave all I know," she said in broken English. "I leave my family cause not
want to marry Polish Pig." She did not have a formal education, but Babka
was strong willed and very street wise. As a child I remember wanting to
look magical like my Babka, project a commanding fury, know what she knew.

In my book, A Crone's Crossing I wrote a poem for Babka called "There's a
Crone in My Kitchen." It received a Poet Laureate Award by Cader Publishing,
Ltd. in Spring, March, 2000. An excerpt from the poem starts:

"You do not have to be like your mother.
You are not destined to act like the women
before you. More than beauty,
inherit their strength, and resilience.
Become the person you decide."

by Mary Fogarty

7) How do all your artistic processes, writing sculpting painting,
contribute or combine to create the visions you have for
and for your own personal artistic path?

Maybe it is the process more than the end-result that I find noteworthy.
Growing up during the social upheavals of the 1960s, I married and toured the
United States, Europe, Brazil, Poland, Finland, Australia and New Zealand.
My exposure to a rich variety of cultures as an exchange student and later as
a world traveler provided opportunities to discover my own vehicles for
self-expression as a writer, sculptress and painter.

I often invited graduated Crones and Sages into my life who encouraged me to
embrace challenge. Adding challenge to my adventurous spirit, I learned
about the power, joy and fulfillment that comes from mastering diversity.
Through Crones Unlimited, I want to offer that kind of power, joy and
fulfillment to others and to help them find their own creative path, their
own unique spirit.

8) Our Kota site started after the death of my son. My mother and many
other elders have been of great comfort to me since his death. My mom and I
were both comforted to find organizations like AGAST for the support of
bereaved grandparents. Do you find that raising awareness about is putting you in touch with other elders who are doing
support work, too?

Oh, indeed. One of the strongest figures is Dr. Gregory Candela, the
professor I mentioned earlier who wrote a review on my book, A Crone's
Crossing. As a dedicated teacher, Dr. Candela, has mentored and turned lives
around with his ability to teach, empower and make others re-think and
re-invent themselves.

You are another person, Kara L.C. Jones, Dakota's Mommy, who has impressed me
as one who has found a powerful vehicle for LOVE. Ultimately our ability to
serve others comes back a thousand fold in different forms. Supporting,
empowering and serving others comes back as ADMIRATION, the greatest currency
we can give and receive from each other. In one of my poems I write:

Know that who I am,
lives in your LISTENING,
your authentic ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS and
in your respectful ADMIRATION.

ADMIRATION is the most
sought after income in the universe.
The admiration we attract to ourselves,
is the truest measure of our existence.

by Mary Fogarty

9) Again in our Kota experience after the death of my son, I found this huge
breakdown in communication with my husband's mother and with my own
grandmother. They both had come from a generation where you "picked up
yourself by your boot straps and went on, never talked about the child again,
had another as soon as possible" etc. They still cannot accept that we named
our company after our son so that we could keep his name alive to us. Do you
find in your work with that many people feel isolated
from generation to generation?

On some levels, Kara, we can isolate ourselves by choosing not to let go or
to move on. Maybe your husband's mother and your own grandmother simply
wanted you to get past the pain of loss so that you could do what you are
doing now. My Babka was a "pick yourself up" generation. I thought she did
not understand, but with a mischievious smile and her willfull way she did.

To answer your question: Yes, people feel isolated from generation to
generation, because so often the young choose their own paths, prefer to
learn their own lessons, and are not open to or willing to hear or listen to
the advise of elders. Sometimes it is simply a breakdown an ability to
listen and to communicate well on both sides. Maybe that is why history so
often repeats itself?

In fact, one of my poems from my book, Passions, is about a mother who
grieves for a son she knows is with her for only a short time. This work won
international recognition from Writers' International Forum.

I believe this work speaks to all generations; mothers, fathers, brothers,
sisters, daughters, sons, grandmothers, grandfathers. As the mother in this
poem points out, when "-a journey into the light of your own heart begins,
the journey itself becomes its own reward."

Shh! A Child is Passing Through

When evening falls and the daylight fades,
I put my child to sleep.
For a moment I stand next to his bed, close my eyes,
see his smile and hear his laughter.
I thank God I've had him for one more day.
Like most moms who love their children,
I long to tell my story because my son,
has something special to share.

Justin is all boy.
He lives with his Father and me
in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Like any five-year-old, he rides his tricycle,
sings and dances about,
and sometimes gets into mischief with Chocolate,
a neighbor's brown lab.

At birth Justin had a defect that left his intestines suspended
outside of his body.
Several operations corrected the fault,
but other complications made it difficult
for his small body to function normally.
As parents we fear our son
has come to visit us for only a short time.

One day when Grandpa Ben came to visit,
Justin sat at the dinner table
where the family had gathered to pray.
"Bless this milk and this bread," he started,
"and bless me special if I wet my bed.
Make my family good like Grandpa Ben
and fix cousin Tony's cold.
Put hair on Uncle Harry's head
and make the thunder stop when it rains.
Bless my mom and my dad
and let myself always belong to me.
Let everybody in my family matter.
Thank you God. Amen."

Before he had finished his prayer,
everyone at the dinner table sat in silence with tearful eyes.
Wise beyond his years,
Justin possesses a gift for touching people in ways
that bring strong adults to an understanding
of love for themselves and for others.
Last week Justin went to the hospital
with me for my yearly physical.
Being a curious child, he tried to enter another room.
"Stay away from that room," I cried.
Not paying attention, he entered the room anyway.
On the other side,
a child younger than Justin stood starring in the shadows.
He was bald.
Justin looked around and saw
that all the children in the room were bald.
He had entered the Lovelace Cancer Ward
where children were being treated with chemotherapy.

It didn't take long for Justin to make friends.
With his bright red truck under his arm,
he walked up to one of the children and touched his head.
"We have the same kind of hair cut," he said with a smile.
Then Justin walked up to another boy without hair.
He looked into his eyes and turned to me,
"I think that boy wants my red truck," he said.

"But it's your favorite toy," I reminded.
Justin handed the red truck to the boy and turned to me,
"It's okay, mom, he needs the truck more than I do."

When I watch my child,
I learn that there is no better time for him than right now.
The only day in which he can begin his journey is today,
because for Justin it will never stop being today.

Once away from home and returning to Albuquerque,
Justin sat next to me on the plane.
As we approached the airport, I said,
"Look Justin all those lights on the ground are people living in
their homes."

Justin started to pray.
Embarrassed by his loud words,
I tried to quiet my child, but he continued.
"Please, dear God, protect all those people on the ground and
keep them safe.
Teach them to be happy no matter what."

When he finished with his prayer,
the passenger next to Justin began to clap,
then another passenger clapped
and before long more passengers joined in.
As the plane came in for a landing
I felt like we had just taken a flight without wings.
It was as if my child knew that once
a journey into the light of your own heart begins,
the journey itself becomes its own reward.

by Mary Fogarty

10) How did you learn the business of your art? How do you find your
balance between the creation of art and business of art?

Truth be told I am still learning the 'business of my art'. But each day I
meet people like yourself, Kara, that help me expand this business of
publishing and promoting. I have to admit that I am thoroughly enjoying this
E-mail interview. It gives me an opportunity to answer questions from
another point-of-view.
Because I am creative and a risk taker, I do not see a discrepancy between
creativity in writing, sculpting and painting versus creativity as an
entrepreneur in publishing.

11) Where are you in your artistic and writing career today?

In three years I have published four books, selling over 400 copies of each
book locally. I am hoping that soon I will hear from Small Press
Distributors in Berkeley, CA who will help me promote my books nationally.
With a distributor I can place my best sellers in bookstores across the

12) You mentioned doing readings with another author, a local professor.
Who is he and what is the book that published for him?

As I mentioned earlier, Dr. Gregory Candela holds a doctorate in American
literature and is a Master Teacher at the University of New Mexico-Valencia
Campus. I published his first book of poetry, Surfing New Mexico. This book
is filled with poems about the spirit of New Mexico and the native people and
was well received at local bookstores in Albuquerque. As mutual 'hams' we
complimented each other. Greg played his guitar and drums to the readings of
our poems. Our audiences loved the performance and we got high on being
playful and outrageous.

13) Who is the creator of that fabulous drawing that makes the backdrop of
the website?

Thank you, Kara. I have received many good comments on that drawing. I
created that CRONE as part of my logo for Crones Unlimited. My web designer,
Beth Halmayr, managed to put the drawing on a blue haze background. A
stunning special effect. The poem that goes along with this logo just won
Fourth Place in a national poetry contest.

The Crowned Ones
From a seed hidden deep in fertile forests,
a legacy grows to tower
over the world of earth and flesh,
a wispy shadow rising to wholeness-
S(he) is Crone, keeper of crossroads.

by Mary Fogarty

14) How can readers purchase books and products published by

The best way is to go directly to my web site at and
fill in the form on the last page by clicking on ORDER NOW found at the
bottom of each page OR E-mail me at

15) What do you mean by "shadow self" and can you offer a few words of
guidance for readers who might be scared to look at that shadow self?

It takes COURAGE to look at wounds from our past that have caused hurt,
anger, rage, guilt and dysfunctional behavior. All humans have a shadow
side, a side that we like to tuck under the rug or glaze over by pretending
it doesn't exist. Psychologists like Phil McGraw on the Oprah Show or Claire
Estes who wrote Women Who Run With Wolves encourage people to get in touch
with their real self, their authentic self. We start by getting real about
our shadow side, accepting our humanness, forgiving ourselves and growing
from our mistakes. Only by getting real can we create a clearing for
ourselves and others to be more free, extraordinary, loving and powerful.

16) What is your vision for What do you see for your
art and for the website in 5 years, 10 years, 20?

As a society, we often treat aging as an enemy to the death. Millions of
dollars are spent annually in the U.S. to lift faces, busts and butts, to
tuck tummies and to pop energy pills. But as individuals tried, the glory
one finds comes not from investments in looking good, but from how well past
losses, past wounds have been handled.

For me Cronehood is a time to reflect upon my crowning as a time to put the
vanities of social life into the background. Breaking through negative
cultural images, I want others to portray Cronehood as a time to greet the
stranger in their mirror. Aging, should be a time to enjoy solitude, to give
back ones heart to itself and to feast on ones creations. When I am fully
engaged in sculpting, painting or writing, I am not conscious of my
chronological age.

I want to invite healthy vital elders to get out of their rocking chairs and
dare to reinvent themselves. Create! Create! Create! offers one vehicle-Writing and Inspirational Reading.

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