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Faulkner and VietNam

October 8, 2015


I had the opportunity to visit with my friend Robert Schwarz today.  He said, “One of my goals as a writer is that one day, maybe in a thousand years, someone will pick up one of my books and read it all the way though to the end, without being able to put it down.”  Well, Robert, that has already happened, you didn’t have to wait a thousand years.

Robert got through his time in Vietnam (Cu Chi,1969-1970) not by smoking marijuana or using heroin or alcohol or wanton sex, as so many did, but  by reading: the classics – in the field on missions, in the bunker, waiting for the next big thing.  He read Faulkner during his time in the war, poignant truth for a soldier who cannot leave the war behind, much less forget it, even for an hour, or a single night.  This is one of those quotes:

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun 

I have copies of his memoir, Leaving the Nam, available only from him by a request in the mail, or from me.  $15 includes shipping.  He has no real email address, doesn’t own or use a computer, and wrote some of this story on feed sacks on his tractor in the Texas Hill Country.

From the back cover – “These stories – sometimes boring,  – exciting – terrifying – depressing – moving – provoking – will allow you to feel what it is like to be immersed in  an experience so completely – immersed in the war in Nam so completely – that you the individual cannot tell where the outward experience ends and your own inner natural being begins as all the guys felt – all the guys who were there.”

From → Writing Fiction

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