After completing the purchase on Amazon, sophomore Carlos Zelaya awaits his copy of “Natural Intent,” a collection of poetry pieces composed by former language arts and career research teacher James Peterson. According to Peterson’s biography on the Amazon website, the book intends to provide respite and calm to help ease stress while encouraging the reader to indulge in the pleasures of nature. When his friends shared a link to the Amazon page with him, Zelaya was eager to persuade others to support Peterson and his book.
“My first reaction was to spread the word to everyone I knew at West Shore and tell them to buy his new book,” Zelaya said via email. “Mr. Peterson was an amazing teacher and I had him for eighth-grade language arts. He would be kind to everyone in the class and he was a good storyteller when it came to telling us about his life experiences. His skill in storytelling will surely help him out in poems and the new book that he is making.”
Steve Thomas, who teaches Geometry and Algebra 2, is also enthusiastic about Peterson’s involvement in writing.
“I was super-excited because I’ve been trying to encourage him to do this for a couple of decades,” Thomas said. “When we were in high school, he won the poetry contest at Eau Gallie, so way back then he had over the top talent for this kind of thing. He’s never stopped doing it and over the years I’ve seen bits and pieces of his work and it’s very impressive.”
According to Thomas, Peterson’s current focus is writing a fictional novel that dates back to the origins of the Kennedy Space Center, piecing the story together with information correlated to his father’s experiences and memoirs as the space center’s first hired security official.
“I just met with him this weekend,” Thomas said. “He’s got the first 90 pages written. It’s a very interesting topic. He’s just so talented when it comes to poetry and writing in general.”
By Monica Castellanos