So, it’s done, but nobody wants to review it. Maybe the joy was in the doing…
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HistoryDude has written 3 entries about this goal
“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember.
We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”
-Lewis B. Smedes
I was contacted today by a friend of a friend who had seen some excerpts from the war diary, and asked me if I’d be interested in considering doing something with it. Of course, I’ve considered doing something with it, but such an endeavor goes so far beyond personal, I don’t know how to begin. I suppose that’s the hardest part…knowing when, how, or if to start. As such, I think it’s something I’d like to do on my own time and on my own terms. I told the rep from this publisher that, and she told me what a topical, real and “inspiring” adventure I’d had. She further went on to say that it would ”...be a shame not to share it with others.” She didn’t even know the half of it…
What about a life is worthy to record? I’m not conceited enough to believe for so much as a moment that my life has been any more exciting than any other. Yet, it hasn’t been boring either. That’s the true beauty of the thing…the fact that I was a pretty regular guy that was lucky enough to do some extraordinary things. The danger is in idealizing the moment, however, and I suspect that is a large part of why I cannot engage in a project which fictionalizes things which were so close, so tangible, so real…
My memory has not dimmed. When I close my eyes, I can hear an old Masai warrior softly singing to the elephants who approached our night camp on the peaceful and star-filled Serengeti. I can see the toothy smile of my now fallen translator and best friend as we walked together through the torrid dust which remained behind when the last empire builders in Afghanistan realised that the moment was lost. As well, if I think about it hard enough, I can almost feel the warmth of a woman who was trying to love me, as she fell asleep on my chest while I read her Keats in bed. She had a fantastic singing voice that seemed so out of place in the midst of a horrible war, and I remember how listening to her cast peaceful notes off into the breeze whilst cleaning her sidearm seemed so anachronistic, but calming, nonetheless…
There is a glory in capturing moments which could not last. I can see them all plainly, as they happened. Would I cheapen the memory of those who are no longer with me…people I loved…by cashing in? It’s not a decision I really want to face, so back into the box to story goes…for now.
Once, I knew a love for a group of people on an amazing adventure that shone with such a brilliant incandescence, that perhaps it burned to it’s own destruction. Alone now, I have taken the personal lessons which accompany empire, hubris, and the broken promises made to a generation of people who relied on us to heart. I quietly employ them in the conduct of my ordinary life, prosecuting peace through words and ideas instead of conflict with intimidation and violence.
That’s good enough for me…I think.
Some time ago I started rearranging my war diary into some epistolary letters…from one person to another. Like early Jane Austen, just better. It’s going to be a wonderful story. Perhaps I’ll do something with it someday, perhaps I won’t. It’s cathartic though.