Whenever people ask how I became a writer I tell them Vietnam made me a writer.
I have met people who don’t get it, the way my identity as a writer, as a person, is so intricately shaped by war. The Vietnam war of all things.
I was nearly 40 before I found a way to break through the agonizing silence I had experienced as the remains of that war.
Writing taught me how to move beyond the hurt, to the healing.
A writer must seek out the juxtapositions in life.
Where others see hardship, a writer finds tenderness.
Writing taught me to look for beauty wherever I go.
Creating restored a sense of wonder within me.
Writing taught me how to look for the poetry in tombstones.
Creating gives order to the chaos.
Creating is how God gives definition to the disparate bits of our lives, growing beauty from ashes.
Hitler was an artist, did you know that?
He created works of wonder before he became the mastermind of great evil.
Who, save God, can know what makes a person abandon creating, and choose instead to devote themselves to destruction?
We all choose what path we will take: To be that person who creates, or to be that person who destroys.
The notion that how we choose shouldn’t matter to anyone else but us is a bunch of hooey. Of course it matters. Every single one of these allied troops lost their lives because Hitler decided that he wasn’t a good enough artist to be truly successful.
Somewhere along the line, Hitler decided he was a much better destroyer than he was a creator.
He employed his boundless imaginations toward unimaginable horrors, and in so doing, changed the course of history.
Don’t be mistaken.
The path we take matters.