I’ve been writing at this book, off and on, for over 10 years now, and some days I just can’t see the point. As my wife has reminded me on occasion, writing at this damn book don’t pay the bills. I don’t know what it does, beyond fill some compulsive need I have to get it all out.
As I read over it, re-writing and re-re-writing, agonizing over ‘what to leave in, what to leave out,’ – which includes who to leave in and how much of their part of this fits with the purpose of the book – I often feel total futility and depression over the whole project. It just doesn’t seem good enough to me, and I don’t know that I can make it any better. I want it to be better, I’m willing to work at making it better, but I just don’t know that I really know how. I know that parts of it are good, but it doesn’t seem consistent to me… And it doesn’t seem to have continuity – it may be asking too much of the reader to keep all this confusing stuff straight.
Seems I’m spending more time on file management and web posting than on actual writing lately, and that’s frustrating.
I do have some clarity on what the book is really about: it’s about who goes to war and who doesn’t and why they go or don’t go. That’s the hook, the connection with today, the topical aspect. Thus I’m thinking of an epilog or essay at the end addressing that directly. The nut is, I went not out of bravery but out of fear. It was easier to go than not go, easier to conform than resist. So the story is showing how that worked out, all the pressures and rationalizations that made it possible for me to go. Those guys who went to Canada or to the brig were the brave ones.
The thing about what happens – happened – to those who went, me ‘n Charlie, is really a secondary level of purpose. It also has some topical value, as in pointing out to people what is happening to these poor guys – even tho they volunteered – who get sent to Iraq.
So I will keep on struggling through this, whether I ever finish or not, and certainly whether or not it ever seems acceptable for publication. Maybe at least a few people in my family will one day read it.