SWU graduate to be featured in latest “Chicken Soup” book
Even on the coldest of days, a good story can warm the heart and soul. For Ann (Massey) Coogler, a 1987 Southern Wesleyan University alumna, writing has been therapeutic, both for herself and an ever-increasing audience. Since Coogler began sharing her life experiences through the written word, she has gained a growing audience through newspapers, magazines and books.
Coogler recently authored a story that will be published in an upcoming edition of the best-selling “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series. The new book, scheduled for release in February 2008, will be titled “ Chicken Soup for the Soul: Celebrating People Who Make a Difference.” Her story, entitled “The Jersey Blanket,” will appear in a book section called “Headlines You’ll Never Read.”
“Everybody has a story. Through one kernel of a story, whether your own or someone else’s, you can make a flower out of it,” Coogler said.
The story Coogler authored is based on her grandmother’s nurturing care for a baby boy after his mother died in childbirth. The baby was born prematurely and was in poor health. The father approached Coogler’s grandmother about taking the baby in and nursing him. At the same time she was also nursing a baby daughter, who was Coogler’s aunt.
Without divulging too many details before publication, Coogler said, “I try to weave the story into how my grandmother influenced this child until his adulthood.”
Coogler had previously published a small journal entry in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Celebrate Recovery,” a book of daily inspirations for people recovering from substance abuse and divorce. She has also published a story in “God Allows U-Turns: American Moments” and a story about her father and baseball in “Chocolate for a Teen’s Dreams.” Her genre of choice is Christian anthologies.
Once a teacher at Westminster Elementary School, Coogler now focuses on her writing and has published numerous articles in books and magazines. She was also named poet laureate for the Walhalla Sesquicentennial celebration in 2000. Coogler appears in the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger as a guest columnist and freelance writer.
For Coogler, whose first husband passed away, writing is a kind of therapy she recommends for anyone who has experienced loss or depression. She also volunteers as a grief counselor at her church, Open Door Baptist Church in Walhalla. Coogler is currently working on a self-help book about depression and has written articles and poetry on the subject of losing a loved one.
Coogler received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and early childhood education from Southern Wesleyan University. She also earned a M.Ed. in guidance and counseling services from Clemson University. Coogler and her husband Bill reside in Salem, S.C. She now enjoys a combined family of five children and seven grandchildren.