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‘Be You,’ Says Scott And Dozens Of Others



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Since 1993, Chicken Soup for the Soul has published over 250 titles.

Sophfronia Scott has had her work included in four of those collections, including the latest — Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be You — 101 Stories of Affirmation, Determination and Female Empowerment — released in April. “No Sacrifice” shares Scott’s thoughts, concerns, and realizations before, during, and after her son was accepted into a magnet school 20 miles away from the home she and her family share in Sandy Hook.

“No Sacrifice” is not, she writes toward the opening on the 1,200 word essay, “a story about parental sacrifice, like the ones you hear about moms and dads who sit in cold cars waiting for children to finish early morning sports practices or late-night rehearsals.”

Instead the essay is, Scott told The Newtown Bee during a phone call on May 4, “a different take on a mother’s story.”

Referencing back to the work’s opening sentences, Scott this week said the essay demonstrates that mothering is one place in life “where we may not seem to have agency.”

Mothers, she said, “give so much to our children, and so in my mind, it doesn’t have to be a ‘give everything away to your child.’ It could be possible that in entering a new opportunity for your child, you can find new opportunity for you, if you look at it that way.”

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be You, Scott feels, is an empowering collection.

“It’s about showing people that you have agency in your life, in so many different areas.

“You can make choices — good choices — for yourself,” she added. “It’s not about life just happening to you.”

Scott is additionally the author of an essay collection (Love’s Long Line), a memoir (This Child of Faith, co-written with the same son she celebrates in “No Sacrifice”), and the novels Unforgivable Love and All I Need To Get By. She teaches at two MFA programs and workshops, and is planning an autumn retreat in Italy. She spent the early part of her career as a writer and editor for Time and People magazines.

Her latest book is The Seeker and the Monk: Everyday Conversations with Thomas Merton, released in March.

‘Chicken Soup: Be You’

The latest Chicken Soup for the Soul collection shares 101 stories and poems written by women of all ages, who share their own truths.

The book opens with “Champagne For One,” a poem by Rebekah Iliff that celebrates the liberation of dining — or reading a book and sipping some champagne — alone.

Some writers explain how they juggle raising children and running their households, maybe working, and just barely “having it all.” Others share how they broke gender barriers, becoming pilots, stunt doubles, and glassblowers.

Some women share how they lived through a divorce or widowhood, learned how to repair things around their home, or found new love.

Katie Kennedy goes on a vacation by herself every year, away from her family.

Mary Guinane took a ten-month journey across the country, with her nine-year-old mixed breed dog as her traveling companion, while deciding where her next home would be.

In a press release issued ahead of the release of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be You, its lead author, editor-in-chief, and publisher said the book is meant to prove that women should accept who they already are.

“When we have goals — getting fit, raising children well, getting promoted at work, finding love, being adventurous — those goals should not involve a wholesale change in who we are,” said Amy Newmark. “They should just involve being more of who we already are and knowing that we are enough.

“You need to honor and embrace what makes you unique,” Newmark also stated. “We’ve created a source of affirmation and inspiration for women, to help them find their courage, their confidence, and the best paths for themselves.”

The 259th in the continuing series of books sharing happiness, inspiration, and hope, Chicken Soup for the Soup: Be You (ISBN 978-1-611590654) lists for $14.95. It is available as a paperback and an e-book.

Associate Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at shannon@thebee.com.

Sandy Hook resident and writer Sophfronia Scott has had her work included in four Chicken Soup for the Soul collections, including the latest release. —Rob Berkley photo
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