[I will insert this into the pieces, maybe as a preface, or otherwise as separate quotes along the way….]
Susan Griffin’s A Chorus of Stones is the most powerful book I’ve ever read. It was a major influence in my decision to write my story of this war and its impacts on a few lives. A few excerpts:
There are events in our lives that we cannot understand because we keep a part of what we know away from understanding. War is one of those events.
The telling and the hearing of a story is not a simple act. The one who tells must reach down into deeper layers of the self, reviving old feelings, reviewing the past. Whatever is retrieved is reworked into a new form, one that narrates events and gives the listener a path through these events that leads to some fragments of wisdom.
In the fifth year of writing this book I met a man who had been shell-shocked in the Vietnam War. I asked him to tell me his story, and he tried. But he had lost the capacity to make a meaning from the events of his life…. The war was not what he had imagined…. He wanted to leave the army as a conscientious objector. But he was sent to a psychiatrist and threatened with dishonorable discharge. Then he simply ceased to care…. I began to suspect his lassitude concealed a state of paralysis, not of the body, but of the soul. He was as if suspended in the past, disbelieving the old values, yet unable to act on his own beliefs.
And you, though you don’t know him, though you will never even see him, will retain some sense of him as you begin, after the war, to put down on paper all this that you saw and heard.