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Unit 8 Text B A turning point of my life翻译,原文和录音

[2018年11月6日] 来源:新视野大学英语Unit 8 编辑:给力英语网   字号 [] [] []  

A turning point of my life

1 I wasn't yet 30 years old and was working as a firefighter in New York City in a firehouse completely swamped with calls. In the rare moments when we weren't busy I would make calls on our cordless phone handset or rush to our office to read Captain Gray's subscription of the Sunday New York Times. Late one afternoon when I finally read the Book Review section my blood began to boil. An article stated a thesis I took to be an offensive insult: William Butler Yeats the Nobel Prize-winning light of the Irish Literary Renaissance had risen above his Irishness and was now a universal poet. I grew indignant suddenly and a deep-seated passion within me was activated.

2 There were few things I was more proud of than my Irish heritage. My ancestors were Catholic Irish farmers fishermen and blue-collar workers all of whom were patrons of literature. From the time my family came ashore on Ellis Island and faced the threat of being deported we have fought discrimination against Irish immigrants. Ever since I first picked up a book of his poems Yeats had been my favorite writer. He wrote his poetry in close adherence to his Irish sensibilities. His life was in essence a tribute to his homeland. So it was offensive to think Irishness no matter if it was psychological social or literary was something to rise above. I felt like my heritage was a defendant at a tribunal and I had no choice but to protect it and denounce such an outdated prejudice.

3 Vibrating with agitation I grabbed a piece of clean paper one that had the logo of the Fire Department of the City of New York across the top. I began a letter trumpeting my indignation to the editor of the Sunday Book Review describing Yeats as he was: a writer fundamentally Irish in all he did and wrote.

4 I don't know why I felt I had to defend the world's greatest poet (at least next to Homer and Shakespeare) from being "prosecuted" or to compose a defense of Irish writing. I just knew that I had to write that letter in the same way a priest has to pray or a musician has to play an instrument.

5 Until that point in my life I hadn't written much of value  a few poems and short stories. But like a beginning artist who longs to see his work come to life becoming an animated Disney film I understood that the more one draws or writes the better the end result will become. Realistically I approached writing like waxing a car thoroughly and repeatedly. So I wrote often to improve my writing skills. I tentatively sent material to various magazines and reviews but no one had ever been willing to publish me.

6 So it was an unexpected delight when the Times published my commentary. I suppose the editor decided to publish it because he was first attracted by the official nature of my stationery and then by the strangeness of an inner city firefighter's using refined language. I'd like to think though that the editor silently agreed with me.

7 I received about 20 sympathetic and congratulatory letters from professors that I tacked up by the superintendent's desk. These letters tickled me making my heart flutter with the thought that I was not only a published writer but an opinion maker. I was suddenly dubbed as someone whose views mattered.

8 Incidentally I also received letters from True magazine and from The New Yorker asking for interviews. It was the latter that ignited my career  the article titled "Fireman Smith" provided the impetus for a large publishing company to request a manuscript about my life.

9 I had always subscribed to the belief that the work of firefighters was a worthy subject for a book but it had received incomprehensive coverage so far. I was bewildered at first with little confidence in my ability to write a whole book. So I began little by little writing one module at a time. I soon had the basic skeleton and framework for my book. The book went on to sell two million copies and was translated into 12 languages. In the following years I wrote three more best-sellers and last year published an autobiography.

10 Being a writer had been far from my expectations; being crowned a best-selling author was almost unimaginable. How had it happened? I often found myself thinking about it marveling at the inconsistency of my success and earlier failure. My thoughts always came back to the nucleus at the center of it all that letter to The New York Times.

11 The clearest explanation is that I had found a subject I felt so strongly about that the writing was a natural consequence of that passion. I felt the same kind of passion when I began writing about firefighters and later a serial story about my mother. Whatever the subjects they are always meaningful and timely because they represent the great values of human life  decency honesty and fairness  subjects that burn within me as I write.

12 Over the years all five of my children have come to me periodically with one dilemma or another. Should I go out for soccer or basketball? Should I take a job with this company or that one?

13 My answer is always the same: Think about your feelings deep down in your bones. Measure the heat of the fire there for that is the passion that will flow through every particle of your being. Always find that passion. And if you lose it retrieve it and start again. Your education and your experience will guide you toward making a right decision but your passion will always enable you to make a difference in whatever you do.

14 That's what I learned the day I stood up for Ireland's greatest poet.