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.
2 thoughts on “Echoes”
I had two Grandfathers in WW2. They were told to put it behind them and not talk about it.
i remember one as a man who channeled his art, the other was very distant. Not sure we ever worked out the right way to handle the repercussions of sending people to war.
The war is never over, not really. Over here they used to simply push a bottle of alcohol into guy’s hands. A problematic approach, at best. These days they do a much better job, but it will never be good enough. Not until we study war no more, and I can’t see that happening.