Thank you Paul

Fall 2010


Paul and Tricia are my neighbors here in Belize. Or let me rephrase that. Paul used to be my neighbor, now only Tricia is. You see, Paul died three months ago. I had very much looked forward to having him as my neighbor. The man was loaded with stories to tell. I had anticipated years of meeting up and listening to great tales.

With Paul a great part of Tricia died too. She is struggling to regroup, so to speak, what is left into a new person for herself.

But Paul left some stories behind in form of three books. “Crows in our hands” “Sea Stories” and “Sea Stories Book II”

“Sea Stories” deals with “Harrowing Tales of Mystery, Death, Hardship and Humor from the North Pacific”. Book two’s subtitle is “Seagods and Sundogs”. John Paul Barrett hand bound all his hardback books and sold them through his company “Gaff Press”.

Through the stories in those two books and the tales of living with crows I know a little more about Paul and Tricia, their life together and some about his life before Tricia. They have been married for almost 40 years, so most of their lives are entwined.

Besides the entertainment value of the books I always like to read about people’s insights. What have they learned? What can I learn from them? I’m a firm believer in watching other people, and see what works for them and what does not. This gives me a chance to avoid some of the real stupid stuff, and maybe do more things right than wrong. Paul seemed to have that same idea. And he freely shares his own successes and failures. While a lot of these are related to his sea going ventures, hence are not really applicable to me, one of the very last stories in his second Sea Stories book “Dreaming a Life” really touched me.

It deals with being a writer.

Allow me to quote

“Australian Aboriginal culture and myth assert that all things, before becoming real, must first be dreamed in the dreamtime, and then sung into being. My own experience bears this out.”

He goes on to say “ As a young boy I fantasized about someday becoming a writer. But I knew at the time it was only an unattainable dream. I wasn’t smart enough. Everyone had already written everything that need to be written. The libraries were full with millions of book. What could I possibly offer?”

Yet he continued to dream.

“And that’s essentially what I’m doing still – as I write these words– living the dream and singing it into existence.” End quote.

After reading that chapter I laid the book down and cried. Paul had voiced my dreams and doubts. Exactly.

Who would possibly care to read my writing. With all the smart stuff out there. And people who can really turn a phrase.

But Paul went about it anyways. No, he is not world famous. But he’s famous to some. And he followed his dream, his bliss. And isn’t that what it’s about? If you love doing it, then it’s all good.



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