This past Tuesday (11/29), my wife and I attended a book event presented by Wisconsin author Jerry Apps. His photographer son Steve also was part of the events, as he contributed to “Roshara Journal” – the latest book written by Jerry.
Jerry joked that he usually keeps his blog posts to three or four paragraphs. I’ll probably exceed that here, mainly because I want to let you know a bit more about Jerry and his works, plus recap the evening a bit.
First, a bit about Jerry if you aren’t already familiar with his life and work. Jerry was a longtime AG professor at the UW-Madison and has written over 35 books, many on rural life and Wisconsin history. He also has written fictional books and books related to education. His articles have appeared in numerous publications and you may also have seen him on PBS. Shows such as “A Farm Life” are now reaching a national PBS audience. Jerry has won numerous awards for his writing – plus a regional Emmy for “A Farm Winter” on PBS.
Jerry is 82 years old and not slowing down! He recently made his 125th library speaking appearance – that’s 125 unique locations, folks! I also need to mention that despite being Professor Emeritus, Jerry continues to teach. He hosts workshops called “Writing From Your Life.” Naturally my ears perked up when Jerry mentioned he’d be returning to the Sequoya Library in Madison to conduct one of these workshops in mid-January. He is the belief that we all should preserve our history and is a huge advocate for keeping a journal. This is where much of the content of his new “Roshara Journal” book came from initially.
Jerry kicked off the event with some interesting background about who owed his family farm before his father purchased it in the mid-1960’s. He weaved in stories about the geology of the area and a number of other relevant tidbits to give us an idea about what the Apps farm was like then – and now.
Steve took over and talked about some of the photos on display at the front of the room. He also discussed how he captured the images and a bit about his photography process. It was nice to hear his perspective of life on the farm and to what lengths he would go to get a great photo. You may be familiar with Steve’s work in the Wisconsin State Journal – in particular, Green Bay Packers photo coverage.
Jerry then read a few excerpts from “Roshara Journal” to give us a feel for the book. It was a nice way to bookend the background information and Steve’s photos. After that, Jerry led a Q&A session that covered a wide range of topics.
We found Jerry and Steve to be very engaging and informative. I picked up a copy of Jerry’s 2013 book, “Limping Through Life: A Farm Boy’s Polio Memoir.” Jerry signed it for me just before the presentation started, and I can’t wait to find the time to read it.
I also grabbed a flyer for his January workshop on the way out. Both Sarah and I are hoping to attend as we left feeling very inspired. I told her on the way home that Jerry is who I want to be when I grow up!
Thank you Jerry for a wonderful evening!
To learn more about Jerry, you can visit his website here.
There also was a great article about Jerry published recently in Capital Newspapers that you can find here.