All-American Fogarassy has been at odds with her beloved adoptive country. She has taken eager advantage of opportunites but the European values of humility, dignity and respect are handicaps in the success-oriented American culture measured in terms of dollars and cents. In a global world, her experience becomes ever more relevant to American leadership.
Fogarassy was born into post WWII Hungary where Communism wreaked havoc in a Europe lying in ruins. Food was scarce, terror was rampant. A series of 5-year plans nationalized the family property and barred the father from holding a work permit. The mother became the breadwinner until a heroic uprising was put down by Russian Soviet tanks and the family was forced to flee in the dead of night across the border to Austria.
A year of recovery in Austria with family introduced Fogarassy to a more prosperous life. Sponsorship to the US state of Indiana sealed the course that her life was fated to take.
Changing countries three times at a formative age made an indelible mark. Making sense of vocal utterances was key for navigating unknown terrain. Always a standout wanting to fit in, the refugee immigrant became a complex person indeed. That rich tangle of thinking made for both satisfacion and frustration, especially in personal relations and in a writing career.
As a child of a failed revolution that would have succeeded with help, Fogarassy has championed long-shot causes that decades later may still succeed. A case in point was now deceased Frank Wetzel who died in a North Carolina prison for crimes he didn’t commit simply because he couldn’t be freed. Another example of long-shot worthy causes was related to a situation in Fogarassy’s birth country of Hungary.
Plot 301 in the New Public Cemetery of Budapest is dedicated to the “martyrs” of the 1056 Revolution. These rebels against tyranny were executed in 1958 for taking part in the revolt. They were “rehabilitated” in 1989 when the Iron Curtain fell just two years before the Soviet Union collapsed.
Seeing such brutality being revived by Russia in Ukraine has been a wake-up call for Fogaraasy to add her voice into the chorus of support for assaulted Ukraine. To see her own birth country siding with the assaulting tyrant has ignited the proverbial Hungarian paprika in her blood, especially in light of her experience with theTrump Organization among others.
To paraphrase Winston Churchhill, writing starts as a toy and ends as a tyrant. Numerous authors have been attributed the saing that “I hate to write but I love having written.” Perhaps it was Hemingway who said that having something to say is a writer’s greatesy curse. While all those observations can be said of Fogarassy’s career, the most accurate is a dictum that said the job of a writer is to reflect life as lived at the time.
Great writers from Victor Hugo to Tolstoy to Mark Twain have immortalized their times. They were among the loves Fogarassy found while earning a Comparative Literature degree at Indiana University. In the free love, make peace and not war era as the Vietnam war raged, Fogarassy switched majors to literature from science because it seemed impossible to get school credits for something you so loved aside from its utility.
That was the attitude she brought to a career that turned out to be a harsh task msster. Always fond of recording thoughts, Fogarassy began her career by gathering experience. She worked in a southern Indiana factory, a high-end Park Avenue import firm in New York and an educational publisher where the paltry salary seemed a fair trade-off for landing a dream job.
At Scholastic Magazines, Fogaraasy edited an Arts Magazine and a text om mass commication. She had no idea how relevant that experience would be over the stretch of her career.
College classes called for long term papers on obscure details in a given work, say the symbolism of the color red in a Flaubert novel. As editor of an arts monthly and a media text, the assignment was to summarize an entire art movement in a space no longer than a single column. The flexibility of thought and language hooked Fogarassy on the art of writing. She took a science editing job to make time for a new-found passion..
These career moves proved unsettling to a pragmatic all-American husband, especially since the start to the dream writing career proved rocky. Left on her own, Fogarassy founded the On Paper cooperative, which became the springboard for life-enhancing ventures as she pursued her goal of becoming an investment-worthy author.
That quest began in the days when cut & paste were done with scissors and scotch tape. Back the, SASE meant a snail-mail submission via the Post Office, a rejection returning as a form slip, a form with a written note or a personally typed note about why the work would not be accepted for publication. That menu of turn-downs applied to poems, short stroies and long-work synopses alike, a process that clarified the writer’s perspective on her own work.
Great writing but the plot is unoriginal. Unique story-but the writing lacks a distinctive voice. Great writing and an important work but doesn’t fit with our current publishing plan. Try us again later. The processed cycled until a short story found accepance, a poem and then a first novel, all with small literary publishers who paid no money. The money to survive came from major projects that also fed into the literary work.
Fogarassy’s work with the noted child psychiatrist Margaret Mahler inspired her first novel to be published. Set in the Caribbean, the book looks at the endurance of cultural ties across relocations. Years later, her work with the Trump Organization at about the same time prompted publication of thought-pieces collected in the book America Votes Obama to Biden Past Trump. Other work experience that fed into her literary work included political campaigning, environmental and library advocacy, civic involvement and finally as a pinnacle to the fusion of art and income in her career, a 20-year association with the United Nations.
Work with the United Nations served as the basis for both a chronicle of UN operations in the field and a novel about the complex bureaucracy involved in bringing about an orderly world. Those works bridged the leap from the hard copy to the digital age in communication. The field has been in chaos ever since.
Fortunately, Fogarassy had a solid grounding in the values that endure beyond short-term bedlam. A study in the classics of literature was the anchor, combined with early experince from Communist privation to free-world abundance Projects with down to earth pragmatists were the guideposts.
Despite her complexity as a European refugee iimigrant steeped in classics, Fogarassy found that her greatest asset in New York was her Midwestern common sense. A cut in pay was no obstacle to achieving her goal of a dream job. Disappointments and frustrations were no deterrants to getting any job done. That objective never wavered in major works for such entities as the following.
Art & Man was a for-color arts magazine for high school kids. As editor, Fogarassy conducted interviews with celebres such as serial photographer Duane Michaels and poet Mya Angelou. She edited a communications text that included a game on how advertising influenes consumers.
On Paper cooperative
Fogarassy was a founding partner in a group of like-minded artists who subbed for each other in office work when an art opportunity. The arrangement worked well enough to land long-term engagements on a rotation basis.
Robert Gersin Industrial Design
Industrial design encompassing product placement from concept to display to branding provided an opportunity for Fogarassy to learn the ropes of marketing. She wrote project proposals, packaging copy and point of sale pitches. A useful by-product of that experience was a lesson in just how demanding were the most successful of New York’s business titans.
Mararet Mahler Research Institute
The training in difficult personalities came in handy when Fogarassy became personal assistant to eminent child psychiatrist Margaret Mahler, who was a fellow Hungaria. A common understanding of the complex Hungarian temperament enabled then to work together where others had failed. Work on Mahler’s papers was punctuated with long periods of satisfying silence followed by gens of wisdom. “You know,” Mahler might say, “we all have defenses but some defenses are more attractive than others.”.
The Trump Organization
Fogarassy was hired to set up a filing system for the Trump Organization whose papers in the early 1980’s were still in cardboard files in the new Trump Tower. The projects and categories were already convoluted. They were also said to be show-pieces because real files were stored in undisclosed locations.
The work on the 26th floor of the Trump Tower was a glimpse into the future when Trump would become president of the United States and wrangler of a third of the country, including its conservative Republican party. The Trump central office was strategically placed to track staff through strategically placed mirrors. Pink slips appeared on desks without notice. Anti-acids were popped when summoned to the dreaded office.
The US Census Bureau
Work with the US Census Bureau was the start of Fogarassy’s fascination with the bureaucracy she was privileged to study as an indepndent fly on the wall. First as an enumerator going door-tt-door and then as a crew leader, Fogarassy witnessed the huge gaps between policy-makers, implementers and those carrying out the actual work. From that work, she saw enormous opportunities for improvement, an insight that expanded expotentially during work with the United Nations.
The United Nations
No doubt about it, bureaucracies are cumbersome. But in the modern global wold, it’s impoosible to survive on a hand-shake basis.
Bueaucracies are a part of life from the smallest town onward to state, federal and now with the United Nations to the International level. In democratic systems where elected or appointed officials come and go, the career state workers provide the solid foundation that insures stability, continuity and institutional memory.
The United Nations is the ultimate mechanism to manage a transition from the present to a global world. Unfortunately, its efficacy is undercut by a laggard preparedness at every level from personal to national
.The UN was set up after the Second World War to prevent another such disastrous conflict. Championed by the US and backed by the victors of the War, it has remained a prisoner to the national priorities of the victorious five, the US, UK, France, Russia and China. That monopoly on power has stymied a rapidly changing world now numbering near-200 countries., many of them emerging economies due to UN Funds, Programmes, Agencies and Organization that receive little recognition in the current global world.
Within that complex structure that touches on every aspect of the global world from economic development to refugee relocation due to climate change resulting from industrialization, Fogarassy has served as a Press Officer , Organizer and writer at UN Headquarter in New York. Her fields of specialty centered on Human Rights and Internation Law.
Overseas, Fogarassy served in Somalia as Editor-in-Chief of a Weekly newsletter distributed around the worl to promote the formation of a government for the country that had fallen into anarchy. While that goal remains to be achieved some 30 years later, the road signs to success have been set out and need only to be actuated. .
Hard as it is to accept in a fast-paced technological world where everything is expected to happen with the push of a button, human endeavors are fraught with complications that can take decades and even centuries to resolve. An example is the case of case of Frank Wetzel who came to Fogarassy’s attention 30 years ago and is still on-going despite the fact that the victim died nearly 20 years ago.
Frank Wetzel wss a New Yorker with a shady past stemming from the Great Depression who got caught in a North Carolina intrigue involving the shooting death of two State Troopers. He was sentenced to life imprisonment despite overwhelming evidence that he was convicted by the emerging media of the 1950’s even before his arrest. He died in prison but interest in the circumstances of his case continues.
Fogarassy’s eclectic interests in the experience of life have ranged from enthusiastic Jury Duty service to Election campaigning. Among others, she served for a year and a half on a Grand Jury and delivered Soapbox Speeches for the 1992 Clinton presidential run. In that connection, she also worked for the International Democratic Committee and introduced UN associates to the joyous clamor of a US presidential convention.
Other civically oriented projects included promotional work for the New York Long Island Pine Barrens environmental organization, a citizens response to a Mayoral call by David Dinkins and a campaign to promote women’ participation in the male-dominated Manhattan shoe repair trade until the trade itself became all but obsolete.
On the entertainment. leisure and broadening of experience side, Fogarassy co-wrote screenplays, scripted a travelogue on China. wrote educational articles, calendar copy and fashion reviews in addition to self-help tips and guides on safety and design.
In a nutshell, Fogarassy’s broad experience in communication about life comes down to key guiding factors. The basic one is the intention to do good, to improve a challenging situation based on existing criteria. The second is developing the patience needed for a long-range perspective.
Ideas and projects are vital but selling them is equally important and much more demanding. Coercion, fraud and deception may work short-term, but enduring impact comes only through the painstaking, stunning insight exposed when humans interact.