Tally: An Intuitive Life, by Mary Clark, is based on the life and thought of an elderly Bohemian artist, Paul Johnston (PJ), and his relationship with two young poets. PJ lived in Greenwich Village, NYC, most of his adult life. He developed a theory of intuitive, conscious living. He valued an independent, non-conformist lifestyle, and lived for many years in near-poverty but in the epicenter of culture with all its richness. This book is a chronicle of his life, and his friendships in his last years, taken from his letters and writings, and audiotapes he and the author did together.
Mary Clark revealed that the name Tally comes from an early conversation in the book, when the poet Rogue first introduces a young writer, Erin Yes, to PJ. In PJ's garret Rogue and Erin see the remains of a long life filled with varied interests: books, film, modern art, theater, dance, photography, music, family and friends. Rogue says to her: "I'm drawn to old age because I want to know how it all adds up, or doesn't add up in the end."
In the beginning, Erin simply wants to help an old man whose sight and hearing are failing. She becomes intrigued by some of his ideas: how an intuitive program is built up in childhood, how we deal with guilt and innocence, what leads to amiability and hostility, and how we can adjust our "intuitive self-guidance." Rather than rationalize or justify our motivations and actions, he believed we had the ability to honestly (that is, without defensiveness or righteousness) evaluate our intent, behavior and its consequences, and make a change that is positive and remain, or renew ourselves, as innocent, amiable human beings.
In time a friendship forms. With her help PJ publishes some of his writing and hosts parties in his artist's loft. He tells her that they are "together in amiable affection." As PJ struggles with illness and old age, Erin becomes ever more deeply involved in the often difficult, but also rewarding, friendship with this eccentric Old Man.
Read more about Tally on her blog at: http://literaryeyes.wordpress.
Tally: An Intuitive Life was published by All Things That Matter Press in August 2013 and is available on Amazon as a print book and Kindle book.