01. April 2007 · Comments Off on Why I Write · Categories: Domestic, General, Memoir, Veteran's Affairs, Working In A Salt Mine..., World

Because I breath, and I can tell stories, and stories are important. They connect us to our history. Those stories are a shining path in the tangle of that amorphous mass loosely known as popular culture. Stories are a guide and inspiration for those of us who must find our way through the tangled jungle, for those of us who would rather not sleep-walk along a perilous knife-edge… and certain stories are also a warning of danger

“The story of the Fall of Singapore has exercised a powerful influence over my imagination, because it was in its way a dramatic re-enactment of the tragedy of the Titanic on a much vaster scale. Singapore was a place where the assumption of the British hereditary right to rule was so strong that even the obvious advance of the Japanese Army down the peninsula could not waken social circles which had known nothing other than ineffable superiority to the new reality.

The British governor told his army commander, “oh I suppose you’ll see the little men off.” Only after the Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk in an afternoon did it begin to dawn on them that they were all of them doomed. Doomed.

They simply couldn’t imagine what doomed meant. People accustomed to teas and dances, deference from the natives; accustomed to snapping their fingers and parting crowds at the bazaar simply couldn’t come to terms with the idea that in a little while they would beaten, raped, and starved. If they were lucky. This effervescent bubble of oh so clever people even organized something called a Surrender Lunch, during which they were supposed to gorge themselves in preparation for the privations ahead. It was beyond sad. It was pathetic.

And as I said, Singapore has exercised a powerful influence on my imagination because this forgotten incident is the nearest we can come to past as prologue. That is what awaits the liberals when Islam takes over. They will still be yelling for their rights as they are led away to be flogged.”

Comment, Wretchard, at The Belmont Club

Wretchard’s example of the fall of Singapore is an example of an historical event that I also circle back to, along with a handful of others. Writers have our favorites, apparently. Certain events, times and places force a recognition that all things are transient, that all flesh is grass, that these things shall pass, as immutable as they might seem to the casual glance. The apparently unsinkable ship can sink out from under you. We aren’t at the end of history, after all. Maybe this might be a good time to retrieve into active consideration certain of our historical memes.

I started writing on this blog when it was still Sgt. Stryker’s Daily Brief, when the original creator of it put out a call for more writers, active duty and veterans both, round and about July or August of 2002. A lot of things changed in five years. My first post here is now three jobs (not counting temp assignments), and three posts weekly times 52 times 5 years more or less, plus a whole change in professional focus ago. When I started, I thought of myself as an office-manager/administrative assistant who wrote on the side, but as of last July I began to think of myself as a writer who did a little office managing/administrating on the side. So, for a few years, I wrote about mil-bloggy matters, interspersed with entries about my admittedly eccentric family and non-conformist childhood, about living in Japan and Europe as a military member, and about my daughter’s doings as she was deployed with her Marine Corps unit to Kuwait and Iraq, early in 2003.

I looked at writing for this blog as a means to educate and entertain the general reader about the wonderful, wacky world of the military. But on the way to that end, a lot of other stuff happened. First, there are other military blogs now, veteran’s blogs, family-of-military blogs. We stopped being unique in that respect quite some time ago, in blog years. (Which must be somewhat like dog years) Writing for the blog was always supposed to be about the writer wanted to write about. Current events, politics, war, military trivia, and popular culture. Whatever… just make it good writing, sparkle a bit; and someone will find it interesting. Which is good, but nothing stays the same for long.

I pretty much milked the family stuff pretty well dry. (It’s all in the book, mostly, be a sport and order a copy if you want all the scandalous details). The same for my various cross-Europe junkets; I wrote all about that, don’t want to repeat myself. I can only extract so much amusement out of the menagerie of dogs and cats, and the maintenance of my house. So… I moved on.

Everyone does. A lot of the bloggers that I used to read regularly in 2002-2003 have done exactly that. Other interests, other lives, they had said all they wanted to say on a particular subject, they wanted to write a book, they had health issues, family issues, other interests, another job. Some of them turned to writing seriously about things that they felt were important to them. And so have I.

(More to follow. Of course. Would I leave the regular readers hanging?)

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