A Slice of Orange is a spiritual memoir about getting in (and out of) the Rajneesh/Osho cult. In 1984, Nicola was on security duty the day the FBI raided the Rajneeshpuram commune in Oregon where they uncovered the source of the largest domestic bioterrorist attack in modern US history. The story of this utopian community that went horribly wrong hit a contemporary cultural nerve when Netflix released the Way brothers hit series, Wild Wild Country. A Slice of Orange, answers two questions raised by the documentary: why would someone join a cult and what happens when their world is destroyed? Living this experience led Nicola to become a psychotherapist and reach hard-won conclusions on the appeal of charismatic leaders and how we can each become blinded by our cultural beliefs; a timely topic during a national conversation about whether it is possible to change cult-like beliefs and a desire to understand how they came about.
A Slice of Orange will be released by TouchPoint Press in 2023!
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The You Tube channel, Talk Beliefs, interviewed Nicola about cults as part of their series, Guru Days. Nicola discusses how cults (and culture) influence us, the difficulties of leaving and the appeal that the Rajneesh/Osho cult held for her.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.
"The Visit" is an excerpt from A Slice of Orange. It one of the short stories featured in Shaking the Tree Vol. 3. This video of “The Visit” is a reading/performance by Tara Sampson which took place at the 2019 Memoir Showcase at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach, CA. Watch it through to the end to see the interview of Nicola Ranson and Tara Sampson.
PLANT TALK - WHEN THE TREE HUGS YOU BACK
A book of help for sickness and suffering.
by Nicola Ranson
Illustrations by Caroline Bagnall
Self-help can be exhausting when you are not well. Instead, this is OTHER-HELP: a book of support with the message: “You are not alone.”
Plant Talk is an invitation to step into a magical environment where we are in constant relationship to the natural world around us; a whimsical journey into accessing support through the voices of nature, with the guidance of a therapist who lends her human help to the mix. As the reader is drawn into enjoying what the trees and plants have to say about healing, she might find herself feeling just a little bit better.
As Nicola puts it, “When I was very ill, I found strength and solace from the plants in my garden that I could see through the window - as if they were trying to help me. I realized that nature is a vital part of receiving (and giving) support. Thinking that trees and plants might have something to say about healing, I consulted some nonhuman residents in my neighborhood and wrote down what came to me in our exchanges.”
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Shaking the Tree Vol. 3 is an anthology of the winning entries in the 2019 Memoir Showcase. This includes an excerpt from Nicola Ranson’s memoir, A Slice of Orange. Nicola's story, “The Visit,” is about her parents’ to visit to see her at the commune known as Rajneeshpuram in 1984. San Diego Memoir Writers Association (SDMWA) is a community of local writers committed to the craft and business of memoir writing. All proceeds go to SDMWA.