Spoken Word Presents:
Author Wendell Affield, Book Launch
Friday November 19, 2021
“Barbara, Uncharted Course through Borderline Personality”
Books will be available for sale
6pm Book Signing
Please wear a mask.
Barbara, Uncharted Course Through Borderline Personality Disorder is the culmination of a decade of research and interviews with mental health professionals as Affield learns to understand and appreciate the woman who haunted his childhood.
After Affield’s mother, Barbara, dies in 2010, Affield unlocks the chickenhouse door on the farm he grew up on in northern Minnesota and discovers 200 years of family history, including clues to the riddle of who his father is. Over the next ten years, Affield studies thousands of old documents and discovers the story behind the eccentric woman he had been forced, as a child, to call Mommy Darling.
Barbara, Uncharted Course is the startling journey of one woman’s struggle to navigate a maelstrom of rage, impulsiveness, broken relationships, and a skewed sense of abandonment. Born into affluence and privilege in 1920, Barbara attends private schools in California and Connecticut, but as a teenager, borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptoms begin to manifest.
Taught by the famous pianist, Emile Bosquet at Institut Droissard, Brussels, Belgium, Barbara’s natural talent blossoms. Mouse-gnawed 1939 documents reveal Barbara’s impulsive engagement (and possible marriage) in Poland, and her narrow escape from the Nazi invasion. Upon her return to New York, after dropping out of Juilliard School, Barbara begins a decade of running from her problems, leaving a wake of failed marriages and rendezvous resulting in four children. Feeling abandoned by her family and searching for a new start, she posts an advertisement in Cupid’s Columns that is answered by a bachelor farmer in northern Minnesota.
The first two sections of the book explore Barbara’s childhood and young adulthood. Part three chronicles Affield’s search for his biological father and the labyrinth leading to a breakthrough. Acceptance by his new-found family is an incredible testament to the power of love.
In the foreword, William M. Petersen, MD, said “I likely have never observed a more difficult and severely perplexing patient with Borderline Personality Disorder than Wendell’s mother, Barbara….” and called this book, “…an amazing accomplishment by a lay person.”
Barbara, Uncharted Course is an insightful resource for anyone wanting to better understand BPD. It is also a moving picture of forgiveness as the author humanizes his mother despite their complicated relationship.
It’s one thing to write a book; it’s another to live it. Wendell Affield never knew his father. His childhood was punctuated by a volatile mother and an unpredictable stepfather. At twelve, he and his siblings were placed in foster homes, his mother committed to a mental hospital. At sixteen, he rode the rails out west and lived in hobo camps. At seventeen, he enlisted in the navy. At twenty, he was wounded in an ambush while driving a river patrol boat in Vietnam and medevaced home. This lifetime of adventure and instability are the foundation for everything he writes.
After being diagnosed with PTSD in the 90s, Wendell began exploring writing as a way to process everything he had experienced. He studied the writing craft at Bemidji State University. Today, he speaks to groups across Minnesota about PTSD and leads workshops to show veterans and others how to use writing as a way to move forward from their experiences. In 2017, he was awarded the Minnesota Humanities Center’s Veterans Voices Award for his volunteer work with underserved communities.
Wendell and his wife live in Minnesota. They have three kids and several grandchildren. Sadly, their son Jeff died in 2015. Wendell has written four nonfiction books.