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In the Realm of Grief and Humor: Kara Kinney Cartwright’s Journey

In the face of profound loss, laughter can emerge as an unexpected balm, offering solace and a unique perspective on the surreal nature of life’s challenges. Kara Kinney Cartwright, a legal writer and humorist, found herself navigating the depths of grief after losing her husband of 28 years to cancer. In her quest for companionship and validation amidst her sorrow, she embarked on a literary journey that led her to the University of Dayton’s prestigious “humorist-in-residence program.” This article delves into Cartwright’s poignant and humorous approach to coping with loss, shedding light on her upcoming book and her remarkable residency experience.

The Genesis of an Unconventional Journey:

The Bookstore Epiphany:

Amidst the shelves of her local bookstore’s grief section, Cartwright realized that the available literature failed to resonate with her unique experience. She yearned for a narrative that acknowledged the absurdity of continuing daily life while grappling with profound loss.

Seeking Validation and Company:

Cartwright’s quest was simple yet profound: to find someone who understood the surreal nature of her experience, someone who could validate her feelings and provide a sense of connection in the midst of her grief.

A Humor Book Born from Adversity:

The Unexpected Foundation:

Cartwright’s personal journey of grief became the unexpected inspiration for her upcoming humor book, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of laughter in the face of adversity.

Lauded by Critics:

The book’s originality and poignant humor caught the attention of comedy writer Monica Piper, who praised Cartwright’s ability to blend hilarity and heartbreak in a unique and compelling way.

The Humorist-in-Residence Program: A Creative Haven:

The Unique Residency:

The University of Dayton’s humorist-in-residence program stands out as a distinctive opportunity for emerging humor writers, offering a dedicated space and time to nurture their craft.

A Luxurious Escape:

The residency provides winners with a hotel room, free room service, and access to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, creating an environment conducive to creative exploration.

A Dream Come True:

For Cartwright, the residency represents a long-awaited opportunity to focus solely on her writing, a dream she had put on hold due to life’s responsibilities.

Balancing Family and Creative Aspirations:

Women’s Creative Sacrifices:

Cartwright acknowledges the challenges women often face in prioritizing their creative pursuits, often putting family and work obligations ahead of their artistic aspirations.

Finding Time for Writing:

Despite the demands of motherhood and a full-time job, Cartwright found small pockets of time to write, squeezing in haiku and eventually compiling them into a book.

A Guide for Young Men:

Her most recent work, “Just Don’t Be an Asshole,” serves as a humorous guide for young men, a collection of life lessons and advice from a mother to her sons.

Navigating the Delicate Balance:

Balancing Grief and Humor:

Cartwright’s latest book delves into the complexities of balancing personal grief with the universal experience of losing a loved one.

Honoring Memory and Providing Solace:

Her aim is to create a narrative that honors her husband’s memory while offering comfort and validation to others who have experienced similar loss.

Acknowledging the Absurdity:

Cartwright finds humor in the juxtaposition of devastating loss and the mundane routines of daily life, highlighting the surreal nature of grief.


Kara Kinney Cartwright’s journey is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, the transformative power of humor, and the importance of validation during times of grief. Her upcoming book and her residency at the University of Dayton are testaments to her determination to use her experiences to connect with others and provide solace through laughter. Cartwright’s story serves as a reminder that even in the darkest of times, humor can emerge as an unexpected beacon of hope and healing.


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