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.
Affield retired from the food industry in 2001. He attended Bemidji State University (BSU) to learn the writing craft. His Vietnam “memory stories” evolved into a memoir, Muddy Jungle Rivers. The memoir has opened surprising new paths. Today he speaks to groups about PTSD. Autumn 2016 he’s scheduled to teach a writing workshop to combat veterans. Spring 2017 he is scheduled to speak to students at Indiana University, South Bend where Muddy Jungle Rivers is used as a teaching tool.
In 2010 Affield discovered a treasure trove of family history, dating back to 1822, in the chickenhouse on the family homestead in northern Minnesota. Each day as he works on the stories, he discovers new family ties, heartaches, loss, and victories.
Affield lives with his wife, Patti, in a log cabin overlooking a secluded lake in northern Minnesota. They have three children and several grandchildren. Sadly, their son, Jeff, died in 2015. Affield continues to study writing and psychology. His greatest fear: that he dies before all the stories are told.