Alumna’s book offers humorous meditation on age and regret

Roxanne Ardekanni, Contributor

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Kara Bachman, a UNO alumna from 1992 and writer for The Times-Picayune, among other magazines and newspapers, published a book of essays this year.


“Kissing the Crisis: Field Notes on Foul-Mouthed Babies, Disenchanted Women, & Careening into Middle Age,” is Bachman’s first book.


Bachman said her book consists of “21 mostly humorous, but sometimes quite serious as well, essays that explore issues of family, relationships, parenting, work, and the pros and cons of reaching middle age. It’s primarily set in New Orleans and will appeal most to gen-x-aged women.” Generation X includes those born between the early 1960s and early 1980s.


Susan Langenhenning, home and garden section editor of The Times-Picayune said, “I’m a big fan of field guides: those tidy manuals that lead us into unknown experiences with confidence. And that’s what Kara Bachman has written in this hilarious new book about the most scary adventure of all: straddling that imaginary, hard-to-spot, but you’ll-know-it-when-you’ve-crossed-it line from youth to middle age.”


Bachman said she used her personal, comical, middle-age experience as her own guide when she was writing “Kissing the Crisis.”


“As with most people, reaching that crossroads of middle age sometimes causes us to look back and re-evaluate our choices. Crossing that line causes us to ask questions that might lead us down a different path for the second half of our lives.”


“I found so much comical about that process happening in myself, so wanted to explore it through a series of essays. It started with a few essays around the time I turned 40. I’m 46 now. Soon, I found I’d written so many that I had the makings of a book on my hands.”        


Bachman did not start out as an English/professional writing major. Instead, she said she choose to focus her studies on marketing. “I always wanted to write, but many people scared me off from choosing a major in the humanities.”


After enjoying a year of classes with her humanities professors Will Peneguy,  Peter Schock, Carl Malmgren and Kay Murphy, Bachman said she decided to change her major. “I’m so glad I did. I never looked back with regret because I studied what I loved.”


While attending UNO, Bachman was involved with “Ellipsis,” the university’s literary journal, and the International Studies Department’s Innsbruck program. “Those travel abroad experiences shared with me by a group of wonderful people, such as Dr. William Savage in the history department and Alea Cot, who today still runs the international programs, really expanded my worldview,” said Bachman.


Bachman said that a career as a writer has its pros and cons. While the major benefit, she said, is pursuing what she loves, but the downside is the inability to find continuous, paid work. “It is difficult to carve out a niche as a writer, even if strictly in the commercial realm,” said Bachman.


Although Bachman admitted to the hardships of being a writer, she recommended following through with passion rather than money: “There are so many reasons we pursue higher education, and finding a job is only one of them. Most of us who studied the humanities know some things in life are important to pursue, regardless [of] the job outlook.”
“I always hope people will pursue the fields that get them the most excited about life. The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to feed the soul sometimes instead of always feeding the pocketbook.”

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Alumna’s book offers humorous meditation on age and regret