As I have told anyone that will listen, I recently finished writing a novel titled No Refuge. Due to the overwhelming success in sales (10-12 copies, maybe more), I felt compelled to write another one although I would have bet good money that would never happen. I'm hoping that the experience gained from No Refuge will carry over for a better reading experience on the latest project. I mention this because I read a lot, every evening in fact, at least a chapter or two before the sandman comes along. It's from these books that I get inspiration and ideas. The down side is that many of these writers are SO damn good that's it's discouraging. Their talent with words blows me away. I will never, repeat never, achieve the level these guys are on.
It's a little like watching golf if you're not a golfer. You see someone like Tiger Woods bend a shot around some trees, knock it 250 yards, and watch it roll up a foot from the pin. A non-golfer might say something like, Oh that was pretty cool. But a person that actually plays golf would be going, OH MY GOD. DID YOU SEE THAT? UN-FREAKIN' BELIEVABLE! That's how I am with good writers. Often I call on the Missus to listen to me read something that I think is an amazing paragraph. She smiles, nods, and goes back to petting her cats.
I'm currently reading WAR by Sebastian Junger, a documentary of the time he spent with our troops in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan, arguably the most dangerous part of that country. Junger is the guy that wrote The Perfect Storm which was later made into a hit movie. Junger is my Tiger Woods. This guy can put you there, right in the middle of the firefights, make you duck when the shells come in, make you cry when a man is lost. When I saw that Blockbusters was offering an online movie titled Restrapo (the name of one of the men to die in an ambush there) I had to watch the movie. I could actually feel my gut getting tight as the men I'd just read about appeared on the screen, knowing they weren't going to make it home.
When the movie ended, I continued to sit there for a while, staring at the black, wondering; do we really need to be there, are we sacrificing these outstanding men and women for nothing? Sebastian Junger would describe my moment there in the easy chair as a "confused silence."