“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
This surely falls into the category of Amazing Authors: Jim Henry, who only learned to read and write at the age of 96, decided he had a lot say and wanted to write a book. With the help of a tutor, at age 98, he realized his dream when he self-published In a Fisherman’s Language.
Jim was pulled out of school in the third grade by his father and put to work. Later, he became a lobsterman and spent almost his entire life pretending that he could read. When his granddaughter told him about a man who published a memoir called Life Is So Good about vanquishing his illiteracy late in his 90s, Jim decided that he could do it to. He started by learning to write his own name, then mastered the ABCs.
Working with a retired English teacher who served as his tutor, Jim began putting his life story down on paper. He wrote in longhand about growing up in the Azores Islands and about his adventures at sea. Excited by this act of creation, Jim told his tutor, “This should be a book.”
And a book it is. Jim may not be Stephen King, but he’s a bestseller in his hometown of Mystic, Connecticut. According to his family, he’s outsold Steve Jobs at the local bookstore and his assisted-living facility hosted a book signing for him. Jim’s even gone digital and has sold more than 2,000 copies of his book online (fishermanslanguage.com). Right now, he’s busy pondering offers from agents.
Here’s what one mother of three wrote on Jim’s Web site: “I also have always loved to write. It has been my passion my entire life. My dream is to write a book (poetry mostly), but I have many other stories in the works. This story was just what I needed to kick myself into gear. I have said…someday I will be published; but just don’t know where to begin! This has given me the inspiration to get the ball rolling !! I would love to pick the brain of someone who has done so already. Any ideas, suggestions etc. would be great! James is truly an inspiration. May God continue to guide James and bless him even more!!” Don’t you just love it! Write on, Jim, write on!