I have written several times in this blog about my writer’s block and my inability to work on either of the novels I’ve been writing since the death of my partner, Su, in March 2020. I was working on a story set during the 1967 battle of Dak To in Vietnam, an event I was very much involved in. And I had been drafting a narrative drawn from the more than twenty years that Su and I had been together. Su’s death, in effect, put a stop to my writing.
The Dak To story was to have been about the situation I found myself in before and during the battle. I forewarned the commanding officers of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division and the 173rd Air Borne Brigade that a large North Vietnamese force was hidden in the hills to our west preparing to attack. I wasn’t believed, and one battalion from the 4th Infantry Division was badly mauled. What followed was one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam war. At the end, no territory had changed hands.
The novel based on my relationship with Su was to have been named Josh at the Door. It was to have been the story of a man and woman in their sixties who have an affair that lasts well into their eighties and beyond. When Su died, the story changed to that of an older man mourning the loss of his beloved. The title became Love in the Time of Coronavirus, in imitation of Love in the Time of Cholera, the great novel by Gabriel García Márquez.
Since Su’s death, even though I know what I want to write, the writing won’t come. I sit at the keyboard and wait for the story to flow, as it always has in all my other books and short stories. Nothing happens. Instead, I find myself thinking of Su and the good times we had together.
I believe that my only choice is to wait for my soul to heal and start again pumping out stories that demand to be written. In the meantime, I’ll have to content myself with silence.