Excerpt from A Pirate Looks at Fifty by Jimmy Buffett, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Pirate Looks at Fifty

by Jimmy Buffett

A Pirate Looks at Fifty by Jimmy Buffett X
A Pirate Looks at Fifty by Jimmy Buffett
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 1998, 420 pages
    May 1999, 255 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

The life they were so hell-bent on preparing me for bored the living shit out of me. It seemed way too serious. I saw more meaning in the mysteries of the ocean and the planets than in theology or religion. I was too busy figuring out ways to skip school, go diving, and get laid. My heroes were not presidents; they were pirates. Emerging from adolescence with a healthy "lack of respect for the proper authorities,"x and a head full of romanticism and hero worship, I was able to come up with an answer.

Q. What are you going to do with your life?
A. Live a pretty interesting one.

I have been called a lot of things in these fifty years on the good old planet Earth, but the thing I believe I am the most is lucky. I have always looked at life as a voyage, mostly wonderful, sometimes frightening. In my family and friends I have discovered treasure more valuable than gold. I have seen and done things that I read about as a kid. I have dodged many storms and bounced across the bottom on occasion, but so far Lady Luck and the stars by which I steer have kept me off the rocks. I have paid attention when I had to and have made more right tacks than wrong ones to end up at this moment--with a thousand ports of call behind me and, I hope, a thousand more to see. My voyage was never a well-conceived plan, nor will it ever be. I have made it up as I went along.

The Fifty-Year Reality Check

A List of Things to Do by Fifty

Learn to play the guitar or the piano
Learn to cook
Play tennis
Learn another language
Take flying lessons
Swim with dolphins
Start therapy
Go to New Orleans and Paris
Learn celestial navigation (or at least how to find the planets in your solar system)
Go to the library

Just Getting It on Paper

My writing style is a rather unrefined stream of consciousness; I don't know when to stop telling the story. I have always begun a writing project with a loose idea of a story but without actually knowing where I'm going or how I'm getting there.

I started out wanting to be a Serious Southern Writer. My mother had made me a reader and stressed the legacy of my family's Mississippi roots. William Faulkner, Walker Percy, Eudora Welty, and Flannery O'Connor were household names--Mississippians who had made people take notice. I have a feeling my mother hoped way back then that she might have had her own serious writer in the making.

Then, just as I was about to get serious about journalism, along came that "devil music," and my whole life and direction changed course. Music replaced literature, and nightclubs were more fun than libraries. Yes, that rock 'n' roll had a definite effect on what kind of writer I became. By the time I had spent a few decades on the stages of the world, I knew I might still write one day but that I would never be a Serious Writer. There was this strange stigma I associated with Serious Writers, seeing them as tortured, lonely individuals whose somber fatalistic existences were accentuated by drunkenness, isolation, and depression. Well, I knew I wasn't one of those people. I was too warped by the court-jester--like behavior that's essential to being a good stage performer. I knew that whatever I wrote, it would have a heavy layer of humor. By the time I expanded my horizons from three verses and a couple of choruses to short stories, and then prose, my sense of humor naturally came along for the ride.

Besides, I don't have the talent to compete with the Great Serious Writers. Anyway, writing is not a competition to me. Writing is fun, and I am simply a storyteller. I also really enjoy the self-discipline writing requires. It's a great challenge, like learning celestial navigation or becoming a seaplane pilot. Anyone bellying up to a bar with a few shots of tequila swimming around the bloodstream can tell a story. The challenge is to wake up the next day and carve through the hangover minefield and a million other excuses and be able to cohesively get it down on paper.

Use of this excerpt from A Pirate Looks at Fifty by Jimmy Buffett may be made only for purposes of promoting the book, with no changes, editing, or additions whatsoever, and must be accompanied by the following copyright notice: Copyright© 1998 by Jimmy Buffett. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

  • Book Jacket: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Eat the Apple
    Eat the Apple
    by Matt Young
    Truth is stranger than fiction. Matt Young's memoir tackles the space in between truth and ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano

    A charming, bighearted novel starring Auntie Poldi, Sicily's newest amateur sleuth.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Anatomy of a Miracle
    by Jonathan Miles

    A stunning novel that offers an exploration of faith, science and the meaning of life.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.