In a journey that took almost four years from start to finish, Ed Crockett was able to express his struggle to overcome the challenges of his father’s struggles with alcoholism in his book “The Ghosts of Walter Crockett.” On July 23, the first-time author met readers during an appearance at a book-signing event at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop in Windham.
“When my father passed in 2012, he was the feature obituary in the Portland Press Herald. The first line said, "Walter Crockett the biggest drunk in Portland," Crockett said. “Although that was true it was not the full story and certainly not his true legacy. Nobody knew that at the time of his death my dad had been sober for more than 30 years or that he had saved lives through Alcoholics Anonymous.”
He said that in his sobriety, the family had joked that nobody would believe the father’s story unless it was on the big screen.
“Shortly after his death I was reminiscing about my father with my teenage son, Ted, and told him Grampy's life would make a great movie,” Crockett said. ‘He looked at me, the wisdom of a teenager, and said, "Dad, it will never happen unless you do it.’ Those two moments prompted me to start writing.”
Crockett said that putting his family’s story into words helped release him from a troubled past.
“Writing this book freed burdens that I didn't even know existed,” he said. “It was very cathartic. Sharing my feelings was the most challenging. I enjoy talking about my mom and dad, but myself, not so much.”
He had finished his original manuscript of “The Ghosts of Walter Crockett” in 2016 and presented it to his kids and family.
“They encouraged me to share it with friends. In 2019 one of those friends, who had published a few books, asked if he could pass it on to his publisher. I said, "Thank you," Crockett said.
According to Crockett, he started the process of telling this story by trying to write a screenplay.
“I quickly realized I didn't know what I was doing and decided to write down what was in my head chronologically, listing key moments in our lives that intertwined then expanding on those moments,” he said. “It was done on weeknights and weekends. I was working full-time plus trying to get our soda business flourishing.”
Since it’s publication, the feedback Crocket has received about his book has been tremendous.
“It’s been 100 percent appreciative and encouraging,” he said. “It's been incredibly humbling and heartwarming. Everyone has a story. The things my family dealt with are very common. How relatable it is, is the most frequent comment.”
Through his book which is available at Sherman’s, Crockett said he’d like everyone to know that we all have people in our lives that are in a bad place.
“There is always hope. Let's not ever give up on each other,” he said. “The reward is priceless.”
Crockett’s family supports his writing the book and through its publication, something else interesting has happened.
“I've met three first cousins that I didn't even know existed. That has been really cool,” he said.
Currently Crockett is promoting the book and says although he doesn’t have any plans to write another, he does have some ideas percolating.
He said now that the book has been published and you’ve had some time to reflect on the entire publishing process, he’s very happy with the result.
“My editor was extremely helpful organizing the story and improving its flow,” Crockett said. “Being a memoir there wasn't any content to change, but there were healthy discussions on what rose to the top due to space and size.” <