Maloy, Kate 1944-
MALOY, Kate 1944-
PERSONAL: Born October 26, 1944, in Trenton, NJ; daughter of Jesse Clay and Elizabeth Sims (Hardy) Maloy; married Alan MacKay; children: Adam (from former marriage). Education: Colby College, B.A. Religion: Society of Friends (Quakers).
ADDRESSES: Home—218 Norton Road, Worcester, VT 05682. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer, editor, and consultant.
(With Maggie Jones Patterson) Birth or Abortion?:Private Struggles in a Political World, Plenum Press (New York, NY), 1992.
A Stone Bridge North: Reflections in a New Life, Counterpoint Press (Washington, DC), 2002.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Currently working on a novel under a grant from the Vermont Arts Council.
SIDELIGHTS: "Faith works," Kate Maloy writes in the prologue to her memoir A Stone Bridge North: Reflections in a New Life. With this faith, she found the courage to dramatically change her life and write a journal about her transformation. Prior to fully comprehending the power of her faith, she lived a life filled with frustration and anxiety. An accomplished writer, Maloy is now reaping the benefits of both her literary talents and her trust in her Quaker beliefs.
Maloy lived a typical suburban life for most of her fifty-plus years. As a child and as an adult, she moved around a lot but had settled in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, Adam, whom she gave birth to in her forties. She worked as a freelance writer and editor but was unhappy with the routine. She was also unhappy with her husband, but was afraid of letting go of the so-called comfort and security of her lifestyle.
She was, after all, making a fairly good living. She had published articles in popular and trade magazines and had gained a clientele of several professional organizations for her copyediting services. However, she was living what she calls in her book "a straight-edged life, a cubist arrangement of familiar rectangles—office, computer screen, paycheck, city blocks, mortgage coupons, calendar pages, television screen"; and she found all of them—especially the house that she shared with her husband—"most confining." In this environment, she felt like a ghost in her own life.
Several years prior to her transition, Maloy worked with Maggie Jones Patterson, a journalism professor at Duquesne University, on a study of fifty pregnant women who had decided either to continue or terminate their pregnancies. The published results of Maloy's research, Birth or Abortion?: Private Struggles in a Political World, became a quick bestseller for their publishers. For the book, Maloy and Patterson interviewed women from four different decades (1950s through the 1980s) and from various economic, cultural, and racial backgrounds. Through these interviews, as stated by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese in the Washington Post Book World, Maloy and Patterson "demonstrate that the reality of abortion has little or nothing to do with the rhetoric of the debates about it. . . . Abortion confronts pregnant women with a painful decision that will affect them for the rest of their lives." The authors' conclusions were that abortion is a correct decision for some women and a wrong one for others; and that the decision should be left for the women involved to make. Their attempt, according to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, "to 'keep the human faces of a profound moral dilemma plainly in view'" was accomplished in a "sensitive and generally balanced" manner.
Four or five years after the publication of Birth or Abortion? Maloy was on the move. She'd left her marriage and found a house she fell immediately in love with, as if she had been looking for it all her life. She and her son moved to the tiny town of Worcester, Vermont, and with the arrival of Alan, a man she refers to as her soulmate, whom she had been communicating with via the Internet, her new life began to take shape. In order to reflect on all the transformations in her life, she began to keep a journal. The result of that journal is her memoir, A Stone Bridge North: Reflections in a New Life.
"Now I live," writes Maloy in A Stone Bridge North, "amid the meandering, irregular shapes of nature—rivers, woods, mountains, and the back roads that follow their contours." She also states, "I am no longer a ghost in my life." It was through the writing of this book that Maloy discovered two major elements in her life: first, the realization that she was filled with fear; and second, the understanding that antidotes to that fear were always close at hand. "I failed to recognize the real hazards in my life," she writes, "because I had dressed them up in garments of responsibility, necessity and caring." Maloy credits faith, which she had doubted through most of her life, as the "antifear serum" that her life and subsequent happiness required. It is faith, she writes, that "has pushed out all the edges of my life, giving me a much more expansive territory to explore."
Maloy confesses that she has not found all the answers and that fear and anxiety still creep into her life. However, as Pamela Johnson wrote in a review for the online Nimble Spirit, "Maloy has patience with the cycles of knowing and not knowing and she has a strong conviction that we all cross life's dangerous waters on the rock-solid 'stone bridge made invisible by its perfect blending with the walls of the chasm.'" Maloy's "insistence on leading an examined life is powerful, especially in the morally difficult times we now face," stated a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2001, June Sawyers, review of A Stone Bridge North: Reflections of a New Life, p. 700.
Friends Journal, March 2003, review of A Stone Bridge North: Reflections of a New Life, p. 59.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2001, review of A StoneBridge North: Reflections of a New Life, p. 1536.
Publishers Weekly, August 31, 1992, review of Birth or Abortion?: Private Struggles in a Political World, p. 61; December 10, 2001, review of A Stone Bridge North: Reflections of a New Life, p. 59.
Washington Post Book World, October 4, 1992, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, "A Matter of Life and Death," review of Birth or Abortion?: Private Struggles in a Political World, pp. 1, 10.
Kate Maloy Web site,http://www.katemaloy.com (June 25, 2003).
Nimble Spirit,http://www.nimblespirit.com/ (May 20, 2002), Pamela Johnson, "A Steep, Wild, Rocky Place."