Barbara Bracht Donsky, a reading specialist with a former practice for children in Oyster Bay, New York, served for many years as president and capital campaign coordinator of the Boys & Girls Club of Oyster Bay - East Norwich. A Phi Beta Kappa magna cum laude graduate of Hunter College, with an MS from Long Island University and an Ed.D. from Hofstra University, she has written numerous articles and short stories for journals around the world.
For her work on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club of Oyster Bay-East Norwich, she was honored as ‘Woman of the Year’ and cited by the Township of Oyster Bay for ‘public-spirited contributions advancing the general welfare of the community.’ She lives with her husband in New York, where she blogs at Desperately Seeking Paris.
About the Books: Veronica’s Grave and Missing Mother
As memoir is sometimes a suspect genre, I wanted to address a few issues. The question for writers of memoirs is what do we remember and how do we manage to remember it? For me the answer is simple: We remember best the emotionally charged instances and happenings—especially those related to such hot-button feelings as shame, embarrassment and humiliation. Indeed, neuroscientists tell us that the more painful and agonizing the reaction to the original incident, the more likely to be remembered. That makes sense.
My decision to tell the story with a youthful narrator who has a limited perspective was made in the hope of placing the reader in the room with the child and doing so in real-time.
All the happenings, the interchanges, and the family fallout in Veronica's Grave (aka Missing Mother) are factual. All the conversations took place over time, even if some of the more repetitive and digressive ones have been condensed. The scenes depicted are meant to be impressionist snapshots, fleeting moments in time meant to be representative of the fuller picture. If there has been selective editing, it has not been done at the expense of truth.
This book highlights a number of issues, but none more important than the widespread phenomenon of unresolved childhood grief caused by the loss of a parent or a sibling, be it to death, divorce or incarceration. Then, too, there is the issue of parental or societal devaluation of girls and women. Overall, there is the imperative that when down for the count, you get yourself up off the mat. My hope is that Veronica’s Grave and Missing Mother will shine a light on these issues and, ideally, that no child will ever be left to grieve alone.
Veronica's Grave is available through bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. Missing Mother, the Canadian version of Veronica's Grave that also includes additional praise sheets and a Book Club/Teaching Guide is available though HarperCollins Canada and Amazon.ca. (See links on the Memoir page.)
About the Blog: Desperately Seeking Paris
Writers have done it from time immemorial, and the French have made an art of it. And what is that? Flanerie, the noble art of walking the city without a destination. Any great city will do, but for me Paris and New York are the lodestars of my life, the sources of inspiration for life and living and for my blog Desperately Seeking Paris. Come, walk with me!
So who is this flaneuse/blogeuse? Born in the South Bronx, two words long synonymous with urban decay, Barbara Donsky went on to discover a passion for all things French. Go figure.
Or, better yet, if you’d like to hear the whole story, you can read all about it in Veronica’s Grave, published by She Writes Press in May 2016. Then you will hear about the dashing young Frenchman who came to the United States to visit fabric mills in Dayton, Ohio and hung around long enough to invite this girl to visit him in Paris. (To be continued…)
My intention in writing this blog is to share my enthusiasms for French 'finds,' which can include anything with a French twist. Anything from a new French film or a brasserie on the historic Lower East Side, to the opening of Albertine, a charming bookshop tucked away inside the French Consulate on Fifth Avenue at 79th Street.
If you'd like to read more about these and other walkabouts of this girl in the city, you can check the blog’s archive for a list of posts written over the past year. To do that go to the blog and scroll down past the most recent posts until you see the word OLDER. Click on it to see earlier posts. What follows are some of the top performers.