Veterans, and Other Disjointed Types

If you’ve come here, you’re probably aware that the only way out of PTSD and other primal horrors is through reading and writing, give or take a bit of Lithium.  To kill the pain, I recommend keeping a journal, though not of the today-it-was-raining-and-I-wish-my-boyfriend-would-call variety. Try writing about stuff that hurts you. Describe the way the sun hits the waves. Take interest in the matter accumulating on the floor of the Steak-n-Shake restroom. Look at yourself in the mirror every once in a while (less than twice-an-hour) and ask yourself how you’re doing. Try not to cry. That’s what combat is for, and other drunken jaunts with your carbine. Get it all out. Once the emotion is released, and you’re feeling properly cathartic, then you can start writing.

I also suggest reading more than the ingredients on your breakfast cereal carton, as, unfortunately, few us of are inclined now to do. Good books to start include:

  • Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead
  • Jones’s The Thin Red Line
  • O’Brien’s The Things They Carried
  • Graves’s Goodbye to All That
  • Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front (some people hate this; you should judge yourself)
  • Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage
  • Tolstoy’s War and Peace
  • McCarthy’s Blood Meridian
  • Swofford’s Jarhead
  • Faulkner’s A Fable
  • Woolf’s To the Lighthouse
  • Ford’s Parade’s End
  • Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia
  • Sassoon’s Memoirs of an Infantry Officer
  • Bishop’s Collected Poems
  • Conrad’s Nostromo
  • Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory

Finally, in case you’re feeling suicidal (seriously), follow this link. There is help. And there’s no reason to kill yourself before you’ve written some good words. The world is just too boring without your voice in it. Trust me on this.

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