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Wobbling Home: A Spiritual Walk with Parkinson's

Wobbling Home: A Spiritual Walk with Parkinson's

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BOOK SUMMARY: Upstate New York farmer and philosopher Jim Atwell has been living the dream life in Fly Creek since his retirement in 1993. His award-winning weekly newspaper columns about rural life and his past as a teaching monk, professor, and college administrator led to his successful first book, "From Fly Creek: Celebrating Life in Leatherstocking Country" (North Country Books, 2005). But his life took a dramatic turn in 2007 when he was forced to deal with a neurological disease diagnosed first as Parkinson's, then as Parkinson's Plus, and most recently as Parkinson's: unknown. He has been told by his doctor that a positive diagnosis of this odd family of diseases is best done by autopsy -- a strategy that Jim stoutly rejects. This second collection of columns, "Wobbling Home," is a deeply insightful meditation on his illness, his Christian faith, and his journey's end. Raised a Roman Catholic, Jim has been a Quaker for forty years. Viewing his life as a "Parkie" through the lens of Quakerism, he sees the disease as emanating from the same loving Source that gives him life -- a Source which also manipulates his body and brain at random times and in mysterious ways. He shares not only his own thoughts and reactions, but also those of his loving wife Anne and other Parkies and their spouses as well. Interspersed with tales of daily life and ritual in one of New York's most bucolic small towns, Jim's writings are shot through with the warm humor that is a mark of his personality and his masterful style. AUTHOR BIO: A Maryland native, Jim Atwell spent thirteen years as a Catholic teaching monk in the Christian Brothers religious order. In 1969, he returned to life as a layman and took a faculty position at Anne Arundel Community College near his hometown of Annapolis. In his twenty-three years at the College, he served as assistant, associate, and full professor, and as chairman, dean, and Vice President for Academic Affairs. In retirement, he is an emeritus member of the Anne Arundel faculty. His personal spiritual development now marks him as being a practicing Quaker for forty years. Jim owes his deep love of Upstate New York to his late first wife Gwen, who grew up near Cooperstown. After her death in 1989, he moved north to start life again in the 18th-century farmhouse they had bought for a retirement home. In 1997 Jim remarried; he and Anne Geddes-Atwell still make their home in Fly Creek, raising sheep and chickens, and pursuing writing and graphic design, respectively.

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