As I write, I have just given the fall of Saigon presentation three times in five days. I’m scheduled to do it twice more before the end of the month. I marvel at the emotions the story still calls up in me. Every time I do it, at three moments in the story I choke up and gets tears in my eyes. My grief over what happened is like my Post-Traumatic Stress Injury: it will be with me always.
I mutter complaints about my heavy presentation schedule, and I grumble about the time it takes to do this blog daily. I whine that the reason I haven’t finished the novel I’m currently writing is that public speaking and daily reporting take up too much time. But when I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that I genuinely enjoy both. I do them because I want to.
Nothing quite matches the pleasure I get when someone I don’t know comments on something I have reported in my blog. And I know of no fulfillment like that of looking out over my audience and seeing that they are transfixed by my story. Most satisfying for me is the knowledge that I am adding to people’s understanding of what happened in Vietnam and during the fall of Saigon. I want people to know.
And public speaking boosts book sales. The presentations I’ve given since the beginning of the month have resulted in the sale of more than thirty copies of Last of the Annamese. I’m not making any money from selling my books—I sell them at cost. My fervent desire is that people will read what I have written and gain new understanding of what happened in Vietnam.
So grumbling and whining notwithstanding, I’m doing what I most want to do. The task before me is to be more efficient so that I’ll have time to blog and do presentations and still have time to write.
I’m working on it.