When we got home I wrote a 100-page commentary about the trip. It took me 18 months. Then it sat on my computer for five years. This spring I decided I wanted to get it published, to honor Art and all the others who have served in the military. It took me six months to get around to doing the research on publication and possible publishing houses. I couldn't find any other books about vets who returned to Vietnam, or a traditional publishing house that looked like a likely representative for my book. On Monday I sent an email to AuthorHouse, a self-publishing company, explaining my subject and my publishing needs. Today I got a call back. Demond and I talked for an hour. I talked about what my goal is for the book. He told me what his company could provide that would help me achieve that goal. At the end of the conversation I signed up. I am very excited. I know this is the right thing to do.
It doesn't matter to me if I sell only 20 books. Or fewer. What does matter is that Art's story is out there.
It's not an unusual story. He was a sergeant in the Marine Corps stationed at Da Nang during the Tet offensive. He saw only one day of combat. It affected every aspect of his life for 35 years.
Many Vietnam vets live with their memories of that time. They may bury them, or deny them, or run from them, or act out in other areas of their lives. Art decided to go back, to overlay the memories of the young man during a terrible time with those of a man in late middle age. It was a good choice for him - and for me. I'm hoping that if this book is out there, other vets will see it. Or their wives, or their children. Maybe other vets will return for their own healing.
It feels really good to have made this decision. I'll keep you posted on this new journey.