Day 28 VCCA: Source Material for War

I’ve been looking over what visual artists call “source material” for my
war stories. That is: the sights, sounds, and facts that feed my
obsession with the global war on terror and what it leaves behind. Many
VCCA Fellows give a presentation or reading near the end of their stay
and I’ll be offering one this Wednesday night. Typical me–I’ve gotten
myself all worked up about the presentation for no good reason. I could read something tried and tested, such as “Kabul Stadium,” which was
recently accepted for publication in Talking River Review.
But just as soon as I settle on that, something starts to itch in the
back of my brain. Why play it safe? Shouldn’t I make myself more vulnerable?
Shouldn’t I share something new, a sort of badge of my efforts over the
past month?
In my indecision, I went back to my source material. After
all the hours of war dramas and documentaries I’ve watched… After all
the war-themed nonfiction and fiction books I’ve read… After all the
maps I’ve looked at and facts I’ve double-checked… It is actually just
a handful of images and quotes that continually strike me the most when
I close my eyes, forget about the pressure to publish a book, and let
my mind go back to the source.
For tonight’s post, I’ll offer a brief glimpse at a
few such images, all readily available through Google Images searches. War is impossible to fully
capture, and different things will strike a chord (of dissonance, of
empathy, of horror, of victory, of loss… ) in different people. For this writer, over the last
two years, here’s a sample of what’s stayed with me.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.