November 2021 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

This month’s excitement will spoil me for months ahead. The day after my 63rd birthday, my Tiny Love Story “Meals are Bland, Life is Good,” appeared in the NY Times online. The following week, it ran in the print edition. You may not be able to read the fine print in the photo, but I thought it would be fun to share. (And the link above will take you to the NYT; scroll down to the fourth story.)



Also, I won an honorable mention in the Hudson Valley Writer’s Guild nonfiction contest for an essay I submitted–A Tale of Two Tumors–and was invited to read it at their virtual annual meeting. (It’s not yet published, but I’ll share it when it is.)

Finally, in writing-related news, I got a “yes” from the Huffington Post! My essay about how committing acts of kindness eased me into post-pandemic life will go live there in mid-December. 

In more important news, my son Steve got engaged to his lovely girlfriend Paige, and we are thrilled to welcome her to our family! On social media, I wrote, “You know how what a mother wants most for her child is happiness? Just look at Steve’s smile.” That says it all.


Don’t stop reading–there’s more news, updates, and photos below.

All the best,

Karen

Please follow me on Twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram. 

 Growth:
A Mother, her Son, and the Brain Tumor they Survived.

 The clash between a woman’s naïve expectations of motherhood and her son’s crushing needs destroys her confidence and threatens her survival. 
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In memoir-related news, I caught the attention on Twitter of the editor of a small press, who requested my full manuscript. I don’t think the press is a good fit for my project, but it was heartening to know I am starting to make noise in the literary world. Otherwise, I continue to revise, revise, revise.

Another way I build my platform is to teach and to create space for discussion. Here’s a new class I have in the works:

 Digging for Meaning in Motherhood
Motherhood, one of life’s greatest teachers, is a wellspring of personal growth, but sometimes we must dig to unearth her lessons. After our children have grown, we may develop a fresh perspective on the joy and heartache of the previous years. Using writing prompts, timed writing exercises, and excerpts from contemporary works of creative nonfiction, participants will mine their memories for their own truths of motherhood. Geared toward empty-nested mothers, but anyone who has mothered a child is welcome. No writing experience necessary. 

I have one or two more slots available on Wednesday, December 8 from 7-8:30 p.m. EST, and I’ll be scheduling future sessions as well. If you’re interested in learning more or signing up, reply to this email, or email me at contact@karendebonis.com. 

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These are my ongoing programs, below. Click on the links to learn more or sign up. Pleased to Meet You focus groups–one-hour, one-session opportunities to talk with others about their experience of being “too nice.”Wipe Your Feet Before You Walk All Over Me, a webinar to help you create a personal action plan for breaking free of people-pleasing. Mother-daughter interviews to explore family and societal messaging around agreeableness.

And don’t forget to check out the great resources on this page. 

 

Childhood Memories. I’m guessing I was a year old in this picture. My family was young; only four members so far–parents and children–with four more kids to follow in the next decade. Here my parents have lit the advent candles, a tradition my husband and I continued with our sons. But, as happens with many family traditions when children grow up and move out, my advent wreath now stays buried in the Christmas bin throughout the season.

But I’m grateful to my parents for instilling in me a foundation of faith, and, although my faith looks different than it did years ago, it still drives my conviction to treat others as I’d want to be treated–with respect, kindness, and love.  

Books that inform my writing.

I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know I was an introvert until I was around forty when my sons were seven and twelve. Only then did I realize the huge impact my need for solitude and downtime had on my functional ability as a mother. I wish back then I’d had Julie Vick’s book Babies Don’t Make Small Talk (So Why Should I?) to help me understand and laugh about my introvert needs, then turn off the phone, lock the door, and take a long nap. 






[The book link brings you to Amazon, but please consider supporting your local indie book store. Also, if you have a favorite book about motherhood (or fatherhood), please let me know!]

People-pleasing on the web.
How to Not Internalize Put-Downs (Using This Surprisingly Effective Technique).

Confessions Of A Recovering ‘People Pleaser’


 

“But kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, Pigs in Heaven

Author

  • Karen DeBonis writes about motherhood, people-pleasing, and personal growth, the entangled mix told in her memoir "Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived" forthcoming in spring 2023. Subscribe today to receive Chapter 1: A Reckoning.

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