Monday, May 4, 2009

"Born to Win" by Muriel James

In my next few posts, I'll talk about how the books I listed as "life-changing" made it to that category.

In 1972, I moved from Southern California to the San Francisco East Bay town of Lafayette. I was beginning a new phase of my life as Director of a Catholic retreat and spiritual growth center. About that same time, I discovered Transactional Analysis ("I'm OK, You're Ok"). It made a great deal of sense and helped me understand my life and how I got to be the (often confused) person I was.

Also located in Lafayette was one of the founders, or at least, chief proponents of TA, Muriel James. She was a world-renowned therapist and author of the international bestseller, Born to Win (over 4 million copies sold). She was also ordained minister (a fact I learned only later in my life). I attended some of her workshops and found her to be one of the wisest persons I had ever met. At our center, we often drew on principles of TA, which integrated well with Catholic Christian spirituality. I resigned my position at the retreat center in 1979 and lost touch with Muriel.

Fast-forward 17 years to 1996. By this time I was writing professionally and had published three nonfiction books, with another--my first novel--on the way. Feeling the need to associate with other local authors, I joined the Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club. Among the many personal and professional contacts I made, one was a particularly great surprise and joy. Muriel James was also a member! This second phase of our relationship gave us an opportunity to get to know each other as friends and colleagues. I saw another side of her--a writer of great energy and enthusiasm. For the 13 years of our renewed friendship, she has always been working on four or five books at the same time. I could only handle my manuscripts sequentially. Well into her ____ties, Muriel is still an occasional participant at Writers Club luncheons.

I would love Muriel no matter what, for her humility, kindness and loving spirit, but it doesn't hurt that she loves everything I have published, fiction or nonfiction. Muriel James--mentor and model to me in so many ways. And it all began with Born to Win.
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