So I’m working on an exciting project right now, those of you who are on my list know all about it. In preparation for the writing I’m doing, I have sought interviews and impressions from combat veterans. Specifically, I’ve been looking for armor and artillery guys with limited success.
Boy have I opened a can of worms with this. I’ve gotten tales from all sorts of people, in all walks of life.
I have talked with soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen. Most only had one enlistment, and sometimes the drifting sands of time have caused many to forget the nitty-gritty of their old trades.
But some have memories that are as clear as a bell, as ominous as an approaching tornado. Memories and echoes that remain vivid after many decades- as if it all happened yesterday.
I spoke with ordinary guys, career guys, and certified heroes. I have sat with the wounded. Much of what I’ve heard I will not repeat in any form. The pain, the hurt, it is as real and visceral as a punch in the gut.
When writing about war, I owe it to these people to get the facts straight. I owe it to my comrades- and the fallen.
It’s a careful balance, writing to entertain without verging into voyeurism. I try to keep my readers moving through and enjoying the story in my books, while informing them of what exactly we as a society ask of our combat soldiers, men and women.
Sometimes what is asked is too much.
Yeah, not exactly keeping it on the light side today, for that I apologize. I figured I’d give you all a window into the entire writer’s journey. For me, sometimes it leads into the past.
Into a bright and sunny place, unwashed and unshaven, with a cheap cigarette jammed between my lips.
Experiencing and describing these moments is an occupational hazard, one that I have willingly accepted in my latest career.
I need to make sense of echoes.