Berry Morgan, The New Yorker author living out her days in a nursing home, works out a unique partnership with an aspiring writer -- BJ Appelgren will transcribe Berry’s memoirs, and in return Berry will help develop BJ’s writing. For a year and a half they entertain each other with the stories of their lives. The unanticipated laughter and friendship at what is usually seen as a solemn time in both women’s lives takes them by surprise. While Berry makes peace with her own life, she hands over the torch of her joy and expertise in the writing process. Even after death, the elder’s optimistic influence continues cheering BJ on as the novice stumbles to find her writing voice and meet life’s challenges.
I have been a student and teacher of personal change beginning as an artist educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After years as a graphic designer and art teacher, I developed a class called Perceptions that used the art experience as a venue for students to examine their attitudes and beliefs about themselves and others.
During my life I have practiced as an artist, teacher, potter, eight years as executive director of a non-profit advocacy agency for people with handicapping conditions, author of Healing Arts Report, a newsletter about the new life paradigm including information about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and as a licensed counselor.
I see life as a continuing process of directing attention and learning in order to maintain balance. Emotions, physical well-being, life style, the surrounding culture, and relationships are all aspects of wholesome living. I also bring this point of view into my writing. In recent years I have published two memoirs.
Sunny Side Up is about an English esoteric and experimental school for adults created by the philosopher JG Bennett in the early 70s when thousands of young adults were searching for spiritual truth and sustainable alternatives to a culture of growing materialism. The intense live-in program provided contradictions as well as rich lessons for us students. The Transparent Feather, an earlier memoir, documents my relationship with the well-known Southern writer, Berry Morgan, whose stories were published regularly in The New Yorker from 1966 to 1988.
My continuous education includes studies with gifted mentors in Gestalt and Jungian psychology, Emotional Freedom Techniques, meditation, visualization, shamanic technique, cosmology, subtle energies, and related topics.read more