New chapter for captain: George Story launches serial | News
George Story has led a very storied life.
Windjammer, maritime captain, engineer, musician, entertainer, father of five.
And then there’s his back story. The story of how, with the help of two beloved mentors, he overcame dyslexia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to write 12 novels, several novellas, and dozens of episodic short stories.
At 71, the longtime Lanesville resident has just published his latest tale on Amazon. “Primrose Grange — Liddy’s Narratives,” is the first of a five-part series appearing sequentially on a monthly basis on his Amazon site.
Story says that, thanks to new technology, he is doing things the Old World way. “Dickens, Mark Twain, Fitzgerald, back when they were writing, their stories appeared in installments in magazines.” and because of Amazon’s flexibility, he is following suit.
“Primrose Grange — Liddy’s Narratives,” published April 1, will be followed on the first of the next four months by more episodes in the life of Liddy, a girl modeled on Story’s 13-year-old granddaughter, Sienna.
“I have done many things in my life,” he says. “ But when I look back … I am most proud of my children.”
Those children have inspired characters in many of his stories.
Liddy, aka Sienna, came into being as a newborn named Lydia Gideon Walker in the last chapter of an earlier group of shorts, “The Souls of Primrose Grange,” and “she grows and finds life” as a teenage girl in Story’s latest.
Liddy has an extraordinary gift (no spoilers here) and because of that, she does not feel at home in the world outside Primrose Hill, an old New England estate.
Story himself found life as a member of an old Essex shipbuilding family who, over many generations built “thousands of fishing schooners.” He was, he says, “born a windjammer,” but here in Gloucester, he may best be known for having written, produced and directed an audio walking tour of the waterfront — a trifecta of achievements for a man whose boyhood was plagued by then undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD.
As a student, school was torturous until, at Beverly Farm Elementary School, his sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Mahan “ seemed to have more patience with the hyperactive me than anyone ever seemed to have.” With her encouragement, he thrived, writing a 15-page paper that to him was a revelation.
Years later, when he was in his 30s, a woman named Ruth Powers also saw potential talent, teaching Story the difference between a story and a story well written.
“I did not, at the time, understand that writing could become an obsession,” he says. But the more he wrote — in tandem with a vivid imagination — the more he was compelled to write. Over the years, books poured out of him, titles such as “Girl on a Pink Schwinn” and “Vanessa’s Valley,” both inspired by his daughter Vanessa.
For Gloucester lovers, his novel “Someplace Different” imagines a Gloucester untouched by man. No native tribes, no colonists, no fishermen — just a teenage boy and girl who live in the present, but escape together in the afternoons to this pristine Eden, where they can be like Adam and Eve.
Given his family history of boat building and seafaring and his years as a maritime captain, life on the ocean has also played a major role in Story’s writing. But he is, by his own accounts, no Herman Melville. Ever self-deprecating, the boy who overcame dyslexia and ADHD with the help of “wonderful women teachers” says “I make enough on my writing to pay taxes, but I don’t kid myself. I’m a $3.99 book writer.”
Well, just as a book can’t be judged by its cover, a book can’t be judged by its price.
And one thing’s for sure, if you buy a story by George Story, he’ll give you your money’s worth.
Joann MacKenzie may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or firstname.lastname@example.org.