Monday, September 27, 2010

A. J. Somerset Hosts the Afterword Blog

Over at the National Post A.J. Somerset has stepped in as Guest Editor for the week. His first post is up, called WHAT DO I KNOW?, and it offers a bit of a history on the genesis of his Metcalf-Rooke Award winning Combat Camera.

I’d like to ground this story in concrete specifics, as good storytelling requires, but I can’t. The story is, consequently, short: some years ago, I knew a guy, a keen, dedicated armoured corps Master Corporal. He had married his high-school sweetheart. They had a baby. A girl, I think. And he went over to Bosnia and then came back and, months later, poured a hot bath and took his clothes off and got in and slashed his wrists. I remember his last name, the name every soldier is known by. I remember his first initial, which goes on every soldier’s paperwork. His wife found the body. And that’s all I know.

I didn’t set out to write a novel about post-traumatic stress disorder. It was March 19th, 2003, American ground forces were punching deep into Iraq, and I sat down to write a nasty and superficial little black comedy about media manipulation. But fiction doesn’t work that way. These things, things that make us angry young men and, later, sadder men, they have a way of creeping in and taking over. And now it is September of 2010, and American soldiers are still in Iraq and Canadian soldiers are still in Afghanistan, and soon they will all pull out and come home, and PTSD is very much the flavour of the week.

For the rest of his post, please go here:

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