Monday, August 10, 2009

Staus – Mary Ann Malinchak Rishel




Mary Ann Malinchak Rishel – 1940 –


Researching Mary Ann, and I have found once again how the past is drawing a dotted line to the present. It’s a faint dotted line and one that I really can’t describe.


Mary Ann is a writing teacher in Qatar. She teaches for the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. The photo above shows her has a happy rather youthful looking woman. I’m glad to see that. When I think back to 1978, I sometimes feel as if that time existed in another life. I was 6, and she was probably in her mid 20’s. Seeing where she is now and knowing what she is doing and apparently enjoying herself gives me fresh fuel to add to the fire of the possibilities that still exist in my own life.


The story Staus was one story of 12 that Mary Ann composed as her MFA thesis at Cornell. It was published in The Hudson Review, and pick up by Solotaroff. Further research also states that the story was made into a 10 part television mini-series...this according to the Slovak Studies Newsletter of June 1983.


It was an entertaining story...long, and a struggle for me to get through only because I had to read it in several sittings due to my inability to settle into a time slot for completing it in one session. I don’t think though that splitting the reading had any effect on what I thought of the story/writing.


I am too easily moved by stories and passages about elderly people who are left alone by the death of their spouse. I often place myself into their character and wonder about my future and if it will hold similar situations for me or mine. Do I want to be the one doing the grieving or the one that is grieved over?


I find myself thinking of this rather often.


Overall, I enjoyed the writing and the story of Staus. I read it as it being the future of “everyman”. Tending the grave of the deceased wife, living on, dealing with relatives and the internal conversations one has with oneself after the loss of your external ear (wife). The cultural atmosphere of the story should not be overlooked. I enjoyed seeing some parallels between the story’s and where I have lived.


Score 8 out of 10.

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