Ben Harrison Will Take Readers on a Real-Life Adventure in 2012!
One of the few really ‘great’ things to come out of 2011, was our introduction to a man by the name of Ben Harrison. Fans and readers have truly jumped on the “Ben Bandwagon” in the last few months, sending me letters requesting updates on this singer/writer/musician/art gallery owner – you name it, Ben Harrison brings it. So it is always extremely exciting to hear about upcoming projects from Ben that we will all be able to enjoy in 2012.
As you already know, Ben Harrison’s fantastic work of fiction, Charlie Jones, has already become a great many people’s favorite, and has been widely spoken about all over the internet. Not surprising, seeing as that Charlie Jones is one of those ‘pieces’ that can not be ‘chalked up’ as historical fiction. There is so much more in this story about a young boy who has to deal with social, cultural, and family issues during the post-WWII time period. Set in Corpus Christi, Texas, Charlie Jones has been offering many readers a great deal of enjoyment. (Especially those who, like me, have been burnt out on vampires for far too long).
Ben Harrison’s nonfiction work, as we’ve spoken about in the past, has provided thrills, chills, suspense, and – oddly enough – romance, for a great deal of readers out there. Undying Love, the factual story of an odd obsession of a man who fell in love with a corpse…and kept her by his side…has related to fans in such a way that it’s almost amazing to talk about. It’s like putting Dean Koontz together with Jane Austen; a new blend that has caused this one-of-a-kind true crime/romance/thriller/suspense/horror book to become something that fans and readers are dying to see on theatre marquees across the globe
Two weeks ago, Ben also mentioned various other projects that he’s working on, such as, a children’s book titled, The Rooster Who Loved the Violin; and a serial novel titled, Carla Bárbara and the Bird Dogs.
If we weren’t excited enough about all of that coming along, I recently received yet another gift, when Ben Harrison let me know that his number one project for the near future is completing a work titled, Costa Rican Adventure. His ‘hopeful outlook’ will bring this new offering into the public eye in two to three months when it is put out as an eBook that everyone can enjoy.
This is a story that is close to Ben Harrison’s heart, seeing as that it’s all about a very exciting adventure that happened in his own life.
It was in 1974 that Ben, his wife, Helen, and Ralph, their Irish setter, left San Francisco and drove to Costa Rica in a ‘67 Pontiac Executive. (Already I’m hooked; I want that car). Once they arrived, they began the mammoth job of building a thirty-eight-foot sailboat that they proceeded to live on for the next eleven years:
It took us two-and-a-half years before the launch, and another year in the waters of Costa Rica, before sailing south toward Panamá. During that time I was hired by the factory that was manufacturing a production sailboat named, the Tiburon 36’, and also played a large part in the design and production of the Cabo Rico 38’ – a well-respected blue water cruising yacht. Ours was, in effect, the prototype. As unlikely as it seems, at one point I found myself in charge of seventy “Tico” workers.
Ben continues by telling about his family’s passage through the Panamá Canal, and beginning a voyage south to the San Blas Islands inhabited by the Cuna Indians:
We sailed directly to Isla Providencia, Colombia, and then on to Roatán, Honduras, where we stayed a full year and survived a Category 3 hurricane. Arriving with four hundred dollars; thanks to our woodworking skills and my guitar we were able to leave with that same amount which sustained us on our venture up the Río Dulce in Guatemala. On to Cozumel, México, we traveled before finally – after spending more than five years south of the border – reaching Key West, Florida, where I became a professional musician and entertainer. Ben, our oldest son, lived his first five years aboard.
Ben Harrison talks about how the experience shaped his family’s outlook on life, because once you’ve built a boat in Costa Rica and gone to sea in it, there isn’t a great deal that’s going to be very intimidating after that. This author can only imagine the work, fun, and unbelievable undertaking that whole trip must’ve been for the Harrison’s. It almost makes you ‘pea green with envy’ when you think about living such a stellar adventure.
According to Ben, this book is not overly technical. It’s more about the people they encountered and the situations they found themselves in along their journey. One example he gives is a pig roast that they decided to give for Helen’s sister and brother-in-law when they came to visit.
I was told that Puriscal was the place to buy one so, with a severe wine hangover, off on the bus I went, only to discover later that the pigs I had to choose from weren’t dead yet.
Apparently direct quotes from the journals that Ben diligently kept are a part of the narrative, and give it a naïvely humorous perspective. To further enliven the manuscript, Ben goes into how they took a month to retrace their journey and bring the experience up-to-date:
First México, then Honduras and Costa Rica, it was strange how much had changed, and how much hadn’t. The little plywood house on an acre of land in the mountains where we built the boat is still there, as is the factory, which continues to produce top-of-the-line sailing yachts.
Guatemala, Honduras, Panamá, México, Costa Rica – these are captivating places to write about. The Mayan and Aztec cultures are fascinating, as are Cortez and the pirates, including Captain Morgan who sacked Panamá and Portobello, raping and plundering as he went along his merry way. We anchored our boat in the same harbors, found their old rum bottles, and sailed the same passages. The ruins of past civilizations are stunning to set your eyes upon, especially when viewed from the top of the jaguar pyramid of Tikal.
Even the way Ben writes this synopsis of his journey makes me picture these stunning photographs in my mind.
Then there was Ralph, our big, loveable Irish setter who was with us all the way, and the sole reason we rowed the dinghy to every beach remotely close to us. He helped us through customs, staved off potential robbers by yawning, survived a dramatic illness and was always a wonderful friend and companion.
Another cool upside to all this? Ben has discovered several reels of Super 8 film showing the launch in 1974 in Costa Rica and other footage of the boat that he’d never seen before. Readers will be thrilled when they get to see this boat first-hand as they walk through the Harrison’s majestic journey.
And, yes, there is still music in Ben Harrison’s future as well. Coming up in fact, is a performance of three Margaret Atwoods songs at the “Key West Literary Seminar” taking place on January 6th, and Ben’s concert at “The Studios Key West” on February 3rd. (Backing him up will be The Bubba System.)
From music to sailing to writing to actually sailing Captain Morgan’s old ‘haunts’ with his rum bottles in hand, Ben Harrison has done it all. And, thankfully, he is willing to share it with the rest of us. I’ll keep you posted!
Until Next Time, Everybody.
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