I'm Mary Stanik and I spent most of my communications career promoting other people's work and writing pretty words for them before deciding my own voice deserved an outing. I toiled for more than a decade as the spokesperson for the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center, dealing with reporters from around the world and getting to know some of the nicer ones rather well. And I also wrote about the research developments of physicians and scientists, some of whom appreciated my efforts. At one point, I just had to see the universe beyond Minneapolis so I took off (by plane, and not in reverse Mary Tyler Moore Mustang style) for Washington, D.C. There I encountered many of the rich and famous (and some plain stupid too), got to know some of the smarter ones pretty well, and landed a dream job as a speechwriter for the best education secretary the U.S. has ever known, Richard W. Riley. Al Gore’s non-inauguration soon sent me back to Minneapolis, where I took up spokesperson duties for Northwest Airlines during the most turbulent period in the company’s history. The airline’s approach into bankruptcy sent me traveling again, first to the University of Oregon to do some office restructuring and then back to Washington (Potomac Fever does not quinine easily).
In December 2008, I returned to the quiet, clean air of Minneapolis to consult on all manner of communications and to write my own opinions on a variety of topics of current interest, publishing pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, the Globe and Mail, and many other major U.S. and Canadian newspapers. I've written for Open Salon, where my work has received a number of Editor's Picks. I also have been a regular opinion contributor to MinnPost, and have come to love Twitter and many of its tweeps. Yes, I do have a lot of opinions and a few of them come through in my first novel and book, Life Erupted, which I wrote during this long and often cold Minneapolis exile. I've traveled in Iceland and published pieces in Iceland Review. I can tell you how difficult it is to remove the Blue Lagoon's silica from one's hair, how much fun it is to ride an Icelandic pony, and how awful putrefied shark tastes, even when sitting near a volcano surrounded by glaciers. For the moment, I live in Phoenix, Arizona.
Author photograph by Aaron Fahrmann