I finished a piece of fiction over the weekend. I've been working on it for the longest time even though it's only 1,600 words. It's almost done. The story attempts to connect the experience of our sport with the those of the warrior. It's been a difficult piece to write.
Writing fiction requires you to pull something from your life or the lives of others and stretch it to fit another framework. It forces you to draw emotions that were experienced or witnessed in one context and in some way make sense of them in another. This piece, about a warrior home from battle, requires me to rely upon the experiences, ideas, and emotion of others in ways that seem very different from previous writing. The ground is sacred. It feels as if I am trespassing.
Service to one's country is a high calling. The call comes to those who serve for myriad reasons. In my family the calling came twice from a court order; young men guilty of minor offenses offered the choice between jail or service made an obvious choice. Others sought adventure, or at least a release from boredom, and flew to places in Texas and Illinois and South Carolina to transform themselves.
I never served. My dad, who racked up thirty-three years of service in the Air Force and Air Guard, cautioned me against the life. As a son of a father who was never home I sought a different path to try and leave that legacy behind. But I have always carried the sense of the brotherhood, sacrifice, joy and pain of the life my father lived though only as a spectator.
On this Veteran's Day I carry in my heart a thankfulness for all the men and women who wear a uniform in domestic and foreign lands. I am deeply humbled by your choice and thankful for the selflessness by which you lead your lives. It is a sacred act. God bless you and your families.