Over the past two months in this blog, I’ve retold the story of the fall of Saigon, related my struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI), and written about my novel, The Trion Syndrome. The narration was as much for my own rethinking of where I am in life as it was to inform the reader.
The Eric Hoffer Award’s recognition of my novel set during the fall of Saigon, Last of the Annamese, as runner-up for first prize in general fiction, reminded me that the duty and privilege of the writer is to inform readers about facets of life they might never encounter except in books. I’ve lived through adventures and experiences—the fall of Saigon, coping with PTSI, working with the dying—few have faced. It is my mandate, my honor, my duty, my curse to let people know what each means.
My future lies in two novels I’m now working on. Josh at the Door, as one is called for the moment, explores passionate love between a man and a woman late in life. The other, Secretocracy, draws on my experience as an intelligence budgeteer who refused to approve an illegal operation and suffered the wrath of a presidential administration.
The latter was finished and ready to publish when the Trump administration took hold, and I realized I needed to reset the story to the present time. I’m now in the middle of the rewrite. The problem is that the story hinges on the Democrats’ success in the November elections, an outcome I can’t bank on.
The biggest problem I face in my writing these days is that I am a victim of my own success. To promote my books, I do presentations and readings. These events, especially my retelling of the fall of Saigon, have become so successful that I am doing more and more of them and have little time to write. Granted, I enjoy public speaking, and people who attend the presentations buy books. But my vocation is writing. One of my objectives for the month of May is to reshape my life to allow me time to write.
I’ll let you know what happens.