This morning, I sat down to write. I had cleared my schedule to work on my upcoming presentation: “A Saving Grace, a Unique Vietnam Story.”
After over 10 years of on-again-off-again dedication to this subject, I have come to the place (yet again) of focusing on it. After all, the 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War is less than three years away. That date has long been a focal point of my efforts and there’s no way to deny any longer that it’s coming up way too fast.
Still, and yet again. I encountered some hesitation, so I pulled out a copy of my 2015 chapbook, The Fight to Write, What the Vietnam War Taught Me about Truth and Writing. Granted what I read were my own words, crafted while at the tail end of pursuing my master’s degree; still, I did find them inspirational.
My hesitancy did not vanish, but after many years of working with, digesting, reviewing, writing, and re-writing my stories of Vietnam, I can feel their own strength and life propelling them forward. Really, they are no longer “my” stories, but their own.
Still, I am the one that can shepherd them into the world and help them reach the ears and hearts that they might benefit. I do not present these stories as answers or as fixed morals, only as openings to a greater conversation we all want–and perhaps need–to have:
From the book:
. . . as I keep writing, I am finding that my stories are meaningful and they do add to the conversation.
I am finding that my fears are real but that they are worth overcoming.
I am finding that I am glad I keep fighting to write.
Vietnam is a wound that is still bleeding. Our country, our world is bleeding, as it has throughout history. Is it your fault? No. Is it your responsibility to fix these things? I don’t believe so.
Is it your responsibility to find out what all this means to you?
I believe it is.