September 2019 Newsletter

Quick facts in case you’re new here (or your memory is as bad as mine): The working title of my memoir is Post-traumatic growth: A mom, her son, and the brain tumor they survived. The tagline: I couldn’t stand up for my son since I never learned to stand up for myself. I’m not proud of that truth, but I’m proud of telling the story. The main characters are me, my husband Michael, and my sons, Matt and Steve. Matt is the son with the brain tumor, diagnosed when he was 11. He’s 33 now. Not to be a spoiler, but as tough as the story is, the ending is uplifting like you wouldn’t believe. You won’t want to miss it!
Memoir update
You may have noticed a slight change in my working title. What was “Growth” is now “Post-traumatic Growth.” The term is somewhat self-explanatory but not well-known. In my memoir, I talk about PTG and how it impacts my life and that of my son. 

Speaking of the memoir, my manuscript is done. Phew! I decided not to reach out to agents until I can place a few essays in strategic literary and mainstream publications. It’s a competitive market so I’m working with new freelance editors to hone and strengthen my writing. Once I build my writing “creds” with a few good bylines, I’ll be ready to move forward. Then I’ll tell you all about it!
Fourth-grade chubby Karen.

A totally useless and possibly embarrassing fact about me:
I was the chubby kid in my family, the only one of six children to retain my “baby fat.” This is my fourth-grade school picture when I was nine. When my height shot up as a pre-teenager, I naturally slimmed down, but those lost pounds soon found me and invited their friends. I’ve read that the body image you have as a teenager will be with you for life, regardless of your actual size. It was certainly true in my case. It led to decades of body shaming, which I didn’t start to shed–along with weight that I kept off for good–until I was 50. It gives credence to the cliche “older but better!”
I’m repeating my New York Times byline here, as it’s still exciting! My Son, the Homeowner is a 100-word Tiny Love essay about Matthew’s first house purchase. (You’ll need to scroll down after clicking on the link.) I also was interviewed about my book for a podcast about and for women in midlife. It won’t air until next month or so and I’ll let you know when it does! 
Read or Reading: Books that inform my writing.
One of the first and best books I’ve read on living with a brain injury is Over my Head by Claudia Osborn, who was a medical doctor injured in a cycling accident. The opening pages describe her trip on foot through New York City, trying to get to a brain injury recovery program. It leaves me breathless. My guess is Dr. Osborn may have used a ghostwriter, but still, it’s a great story. I’ve never read a Stephen King book, nor seen his movies (horrors!) because I’m a scaredy-cat. But I finally picked up his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, his rags-to-writing-riches
story. I had no idea King was so funnOn Writing, A memoir of the Craft, by Stephen Kingy and likable. I read his original edition (seen here) since that’s what the library had. But I’ll be looking for his newer editions, too.
“Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.”                 — Bruce Lee


  • Karen DeBonis

    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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