My weekend at Fort Hood (and where I fit in as an author)...
Submitted by Kathleen Rodgers on October 15, 2012 - 15:05
My husband and I just returned from visiting our lieutenat son who's stationed at Fort Hood, TX. Being back on that HUGE post brought back lots of memories. We lived on Fort Hood from 83-84 when my husband, Tom, served as an Air Force liaison officer with the then 6th Cav Brigade.
Fort Hood has suffered tremendous losses in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and seeing soldiers everywhere brings the war to the forefront of things.
While there, I spent some time talking to a young enlisted wife in her late twenties, a young woman about to marry a lieutenant, and another gal dating a young soldier. I listened. Didn't say much. They talked about surviving deployments. Having nightmares. About the horror their men have seen. I sat there (the old lady at 54) absorbing everything they said. I tried to digest it, understand it, and then I tried to figure out where someone like me fits in. I write about the military yet I never wore the uniform. I write about the military from a cushion of time.... a time when my husband served, and now I'm trying to write about it again because I have a son on active duty.
Here's what I felt sitting around listening to these gals in their twenties. I felt like a fraud. No matter what I had to say, I would never really be able to understand because I am not in their shoes...
Then I took it a step further. I began to think as a novelist... Would any single one of these women be able to relate to my novel The Final Salute or the new one I'm writing? I began to question my own voice and if I could offer anything NEW to the mix.
The big questions for me as an author play on my mind once again: WHO is my audience? WHO am I writing for? WHAT do I know that I can bring to the fiction table? WHY does any of this matter?
All I can do is put one word in front of the other and hope I'm making progress...