Friday marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Next month marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI. I’ve written about both and my current work in progress takes place in WWII. So, why do I write about war?
I studied International Relations in college and global ethics. At the heart of them is the commitment to making a more peaceful and better world in which to live. My approach to my university studies involved historical concentrations. Past is Prologue and “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it,” by George Santayana carry responsibility with them. By examining what has happened and why it has happened, there can be greater understanding and an attempt to embark upon a more peaceful path.
I write historical fiction, particularly within wars, because there are moments in time that are especially poignant in expressing the idea that a person is an individual and that being from a location does not make one good or bad. Furthermore, the other is often quite similar to the self. War offers dramatic settings to showcase this and to perhaps, dilute the appeal of their repetition.
Of course, not all of my stories are set in wars and even when they are, wars have varying degrees of importance on the actual stories. Characters are at the heart of each story and they each come with themes and story lines that may or may not be best enacted against a war.
There was a very interesting article about writers as the heroes of this generation. In a way then, writers are the social conscience, exposing others to lives they have not lived and ideas they have not thought. They are there to inform and to help to guide the thoughts of others. Writers are teachers by another medium.
Lest we should think that wars are no longer as encompassing as they once were and be tricked into thinking that they no longer hold a threat, the 1870s and 1880s were remarkably peaceful overall, known for being a time of great peace and cooperation and technological advancement. Professor Philip Zelikow of the University of Virginia has compared this time in history to then, in terms of the transitional period that it created. I in no means am suggesting that we should be frightened of the inevitability of war. Merely, we should be mindful of its causes and informed of its consequences. For some, that eduction comes best from novels. There is an immediacy in the characters and a vested interest, that makes their trials palpable. We ought only to be vigilant, so that we can pursue the paths of peace whenever possible.
The simplest answer then for why I write about war is because I love peace and wish to help its furtherance.
My best to you all,