Monday, March 8, 2010
Triumphs and Tragedies
Triumphs and Tragedies – Twenty-five aspects of the life of a Liverpool Sailor is the latest book by Peter Wright.
In Triumphs and Tragedies, Peter shares with us 25 different slices of his life, each compelling, and each with a lesson to be learned. Peter was born in July 1926 near Liverpool, England. His first slice of life starts, “When I was ten, my father drowned in the cold grey waters of the North Sea. His death bankrupted the family and left me, the third-born, feebly struggling in an attempt to establish my identity, and some kind of self-value. During the next forty years, I occasionally allowed my spirit to travel eastward to his murky burial place ninety feet beneath the surface. And there I lingered, deliberating death’s mute cloak that blocks out all reason, invites recrimination, and often cruelly foils closure. I asked his spirit, not why he had ignored me, but rather, what had I done to deserve his disdain.”
Peter’s writing is not just tight and concise, but also very emotionally moving. He has the heart of a poet and gets maximum impact from each word. Reading his book I was reminded of the words of Mark Twain, “If I had had more time, I would’ve written a shorter book.”
After his father’s death, Peter was sent to a Catholic boarding school. His mother had hoped that he would become the first English pope. Her dreams were not realized however as Peter opted to follow in his father’s footsteps and set out to sea in the Merchant Navy.
Wanderlust took Peter to many different ports of call across the world. Social drinking turned into Alcoholism. “One night while at anchor off the port of Boma, eighty miles up the Congo River, I was handed a gourd filled with tombo, native gin distilled from coconuts. I overcame the appalling smell and discovered that two or three gulps transformed me from a shy, retiring boy into a real sailor.” By the top of the next page he writes, “My days started at 4.am with a Johnny Walker. At 6.am another drink got me to work. I had a bottle in my desk. Lunch went from 11:30 until 1:30, and at 4 p.m. I decided to go home early…Like a sailor without a compass on a ship without a rudder, I was heading for shoal water.”
Friends encouraged him to go to AA, and at the encouragement of his wife, he entered into rehab. The journey from alcoholic to sobriety was long and arduous, but with the help of family and friends, and God, he has since remained sober for many years. He has now learned to accept life on its terms and to live “one day at a time.”
After finishing Peter’s compelling autobiography I asked him a few questions:
Me - When the reader finishes the last chapter what do you hope is going through their mind?
Peter - After putting down my book I hope that they are thinking "What a great collection of stories. I've got to tell my friends." I imagine too that they are are wondering if thet are all true. "Pari Evans" is a figment of my imagination, but The first part of that story actually did happen.
Me - I suspect that you're a fan of poetry, are you? If so, who is your favorite poet? Why?
Peter - I worried about and finally revered Francis Thompson,s The Hound of Heaven, an epic piece about his own redemption from addiction to opium. I found it a bastion of support during my own drinking days. Otherwise I have no wit for modern poetry. Kipling makes me chuckle.
Me - What made these 25 vignettes so compelling to you that they were included in the book?
Peter - All of these stories are significant milestones. There are other's yet untold. Most are nostalgic. All, for whatever reason, beg to be told. Somewhere in each, I have a message.
Me - Why should anyone part with their hard earned cash and precious time to read your book? Sell it to us!
Peter - I tell prospecive buyers that "T & T" is a bedtime book.The stories are short. All are quite gripping in their own way. All except one is true. Thery carve out the life and times of a Liverpool Sailor; taking on life a day at a time and enjoying every one.
Me - What is the next project you are working on?
Peter - Something quite different. I've started a novel I'm calling "The Gentle Art of the Healer" It's a love story highlighting the interesting life Gloria and I led from 1983 until 2009. She was a wonderful psychotherapist. I hope to show her off for what she was - A Giver of Love and spiritual treasures.
Me - Any advice or words of wisdom you have to share with other aspiring writers?
Peter - For beginning writers like myself, I urge them to learn to love the English language. Use it simply and boldly. Write every day and Please don't give up. Write about what you know.
Thank you Peter for giving us a brief glimpse into your soul.
If you’re interested, you can buy a copy of Triumphs and Tragedies by clicking here .