When Benji Smith and Emily Lau boarded the Costa Concordia cruise liner a year ago they were embarking on a honeymoon cruise long anticipated. Not long after, however, it turned into a nightmare as the ship hit a reef and over 65% wound up underwater.
The two survived the Jan. 13, 2012 ordeal - 32 passengers and crew did not - and have now created something artistic from it. A press release on the PRNewswire in Boston, where the two live, on Dec. 28 announces that Smith has written a book on their experience while his wife, a classical musician by profession, has created a record.
"This experience forced us to confront the fragility of our existence," says Lau. "But over the past year, paradoxically, it also gave us courage. The courage to seek justice for this catastrophe, and the courage to find beauty even when justice is elusive. That's really what this album is all about: when life gives you a shipwreck, make shipwreck music."
Costa Concordia album and book
She's created music that has a sense of turmoil and disaster, contrasted by calmer moments of clarity. Called the Isle of Lucidity, her classically arranged album has text from contemporary poets and poets from the past. The journey she seeks to take listeners on is one of tragedy, beauty and hope.
Her husband's book, Abandoned Ship: An Intimate Account of the Costa Concordia Shipwreck, talks of their life before the cruise, the night of the disaster and how close they came to death (at one point they say it seemed no more life boats would return to pick them up) and the aftermath and efforts to get back home on a limited budget. He says that the kindness of people they met along the way enabled them to come through their journey.
The two give no details of how their book and album can be purchased but they can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Neither do they reveal if they follow the legal journey of Costa Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino, charged with multiple offenses in the disaster, or if they are part of class action lawsuits against Costa Cruises, the owner/operator of the ship.