I’m proud to belong to a group called the Military Writers Guild. I’m even prouder to have an essay included in the upcoming anthology titled Why We Write: Craft Essays on Writing War (Middle West Press, 2019). The official launch date for this 250-page book is December 10th, 2019. You can pre-order the Kindle e-book now: https://amzn.to/344HlZW
This book is powerful, filled with work by writers who have won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Over 60 writers have contributed to this book and if you, or anyone you know, want to learn about the craft of writing about war, this book is for you.
The Military Writers Guild is an inclusive community-of-practice of writers, comprising writers of non-fiction and analysis, journalism and history, literary and genre fiction, and even poetry and plays. “Military writing” is a big tent, that includes all of these forms and formats.
You can learn more about the Military Writers Guild and this book using the following tools:
The guild on Twitter: @MilWritersGuild
Meanwhile, like we say in the airlines, sit back, relax, and enjoy a short excerpt from my essay in the book. For the whole essay, where I explain why I write, please consider buying a copy of the book.
Excerpt from “It” Shoots: Zen and Writing
You bound yourself to the ejection seat with a lap belt and shoulder harness. You plugged your G-suit into the airplane to keep blood in your brain. You plugged your comm cord into the airplane so you could speak and listen. You plugged your oxygen hose into the airplane so it could help you breathe. You plugged an umbilical into the airplane so your helmet-mounted sight fed you information no matter where you looked. In his memoir Fighter Pilot, Robin Olds wrote something that rings true after you spend so much time connected to one piece of machinery:
Man merges with machine; he doesn’t simply use it. You don’t climb into an aircraft and sit down. You strap the machine to your butt, become one with it. Hydraulic fluid is your blood; titanium, steel, and aluminum, your bones; electrical currents, your nerves; the instruments, an extension of your senses; fuel, the food; engine, the power; the control surfaces, the muscle. You are the heart, yours is the will, yours the reasoning power. You are something more than earthbound man. You are augmented and expanded by the miracle of the machine. You are tied to it physically and you are part of it emotionally.
“Yours is the will,” indeed. The machine made anything possible. Flying was easy. It was using the machine for combat that was hard. Knowing all the tactics. Knowing all your weapons. Applying the knowledge in practice. Running a tactic properly with a formation of four airplanes, eight airplanes, even as a mission commander of 80 airplanes (not just F-16s) took a lifetime of training. I can only hope I was at least average.