Forty, chronically single, and up an extra 20 pounds, TV news producer Stephanie Krikorian fell victim to The Great Recession, finding herself suddenly unemployed. One unwanted pregnancy away from being a Lifetime Original Movie, Stephanie had to reinvent herself . . . and fast. So, to keep her head above water, she started ghostwriting self-help and diet books for a variety of well-known experts. However, she didn’t just write each book she took on, she lived it—chanting, journaling, reflecting, reframing, removing SIBO foods from her diet (or was it adding?)—whatever it took to get deep into the heart of each project. And then, as her ghost-writing business grew, she started reading other self-help books as well—for “research." Or so she told herself. That’s when things went next level.
Overwhelmed by the sheer number of life fixes available, Stephanie scrambled to plug the multiple holes that surely must have existed in her mind, body, and soul. She went on what turned out to be a near decade long Zen Bender. She hit the guru circuit hard, like it was her job —no psychic, class, coach, fixer, or self-help book left behind. She did what Oprah said to do. She did what the Spiritual Owl said to do. She did what anybody said to do, frankly. With every radical effort came the unfulfilled promise of massive live-altering change and improvement. And then right around her 49th birthday, with one year left in her forties, screaming towards age 50, she was walking out to the end of the Venice Pier in Los Angeles, exhausted after a grueling session of Reiki, listening to, you guessed it, a self-help book (that was saying she was chubby because she must hate her mother) when it hit her: maybe I’m good enough already. Maybe she had been all along.
Zen Bender is a collection of witty, moving, insightful stories, bookended with both the zany words of wisdom Stephanie picked up during her decade seeking personal growth and enlightenment, and some more concrete, grounded advice of her own. This book is a hilarious snapshot of one woman’s 10-year journey on the self-help circuit woven with insight on embracing age 50 with a wine glass full of acceptance and a chaser of self-love.
Stephanie, who doesn’t hate her mother or her father or her seventies childhood that included the Dorothy Hamill haircut, was born and raised in Canada. She currently splits her time between New York City, and East Hampton, and spends a lot of in Los Angeles.
Prior to launching her ghost-writing business, Stephanie worked in the news business for CNBC, BusinessWeek, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal. One Emmy nomination and nearly 20 book collaborations later, including a New York Times Bestseller, her essays and articles have appeared in multiple publications including O, the Oprah Magazine. Zen Bender is Stephanie’s first solo book.