Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Return to Vietnam - journey of healing

My husband Art is a Vietnam vet with memories. In 2005 we traveled to Vietnam with a group of vets and a psychotherapist who specializes in working with vets with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was a life-changing journey.

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.


23 comments:

Teresa Evangeline said...

I'm very excited for you and Art and for your shared story. It needs to be told and often, every story there is to tell. It matters, still.

Lynilu said...

Yes, do keep us posted. I'd be interested in reading it.

My late hub was in Korea, and I had a lot of friends in Viet Nam. Reading about the experience would be good, I think.

Good luck!

turquoisemoon said...

Oh my...this is so good. I too had a lot of friends in Viet Nam. BF is also a Viet Nam vet. Thank you for sharing this.

Judy and Emma said...

Memories of that time are very emotional. Let us know how we can read this.

Retired English Teacher said...

I am thrilled to hear you have done this. Art was a very wise man to make this journey. I think the book could really help others. Thank you for having such vision and for following through with looking for a publisher.

#1Nana said...

Good for you! It's a big step to put yourself out there.

If you're self-publishing, is it digital?

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Going back to Vietnam was a great idea, and writing and publishing about it will be very valuable, I'm sure. I have a friend who continues to be tormented; I believe I'll send him a copy.

That corgi :) said...

first time commenting on your blog; I think this book will be so useful and healing for many affected by their experiences in that war; a very loving thing for you to do for your husband. I can imagine it will be well received! good luck with it!

betty

Grandmother said...

So many were affected so deeply. What a good and healing thing for Art to do. What an honorable tribute you are paying him and hopefully others.

wheels4me said...

Good luck with your book. Are you still in contact with anyone in Viet Nam?

Arkansas Patti said...

That is a story needing told and I am glad you are tackling it. I hope it helps those still struggling.

Out on the prairie said...

Lots of groups getting together, one leaving here on a medical mission soon. We offer lots of supports NOW for our vets.

Olga said...

I am so impressed by your efforts in this--making the trip with your husband, writing about it, and now having it published. What a valuable thing you are doing.

DJan said...

What a wonderful thing to do. I am interested in finding out how it all goes, and I know you'll let me know right here about it. You are a good writer, so it should be a book of healing, too.

Dee said...

Dear Linda, getting your book published will, I'm sure, help many other people--those who served in 'Nam as wall as their families.

I used to live next to a man who was in 'Nam and he still suffered greatly from the memories and the drug use that numbed them. He was a fine man, but bitter.

I wish you every success with your book and I so hope you let us follow you on the journey to publication so that we'll all be rejoicing with you.

Peace.

BlueRidge Boomer said...

Thanks...
From one Vet wife to another...
Please keep us posted on where we can purchase our book..

Nance said...

Good, good for you. And good for Art. I would read that book and I'm excited to follow its birth. Vietnam was central to my generation; all the stories are personal because all the young men were ours.

In October, we'll make our first trip to the Vietnam War Memorial in DC. I haven't been the the Capitol in twenty-five years. I'll touch the wall in Art's name.

1NurseRatched said...

Way to go, sister! If you don't put it out there, nobody gets to read it. I'm proud of you.

Rita said...

That was a brave and healing decision for Art to return to Viet Nam. I am so glad you were there with him and wrote about the experience. And now this! So excited for you! This is a story you don't hear about. I have heard of men gong back to try to find their children, but not a specific healing journey like this was. Wow! Best of luck. This is a story that needs to be shared. I can hardly wait to hear all about this book publishing process. Congrats! :):)

Sandi said...

Linda, that is wonderful news! I read a book this summer about "tunnel rats" in Vietnam. It was a hard book to read, as the memories this man carried with him were terrifying.

It's good that you are able to honor your husband and others who served in Vietnam. My husband also was there. Fortunately he didn't serve in combat, but he doesn't talk much about what he did do.

I'm anxious to hear when you are published. Best wishes!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Linda, I'm so happy and excited for you -- and for Art, that his story is going to be published. It's so important that we pay attention and realize what our veterans have been through. I think Vietnam was especially hard because they went through the horrors of war and then came home to an often hostile reception. My brother is a Vietnam vet who was taunted and spit on during the first few weeks of medical school when classmates called him everything from "redneck" to "murderer." He suffered from PTSD and felt very much alone. Interestingly enough, we tried to collaborate on his story back in 1977 when I was already writing books, had an agent, etc. But no one wanted to touch a book about a Vietnam vet's experience. It's about time their stories were being told. Good for you!!

Nezzy said...

Oh sweetie, good for you. Ya just never know until ya step out on faith and do it!

I was in college durin' Vietnam and many of my friends were drafted. You story sounds fascinatin'.

God bless ya from these happy hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa!!! :o)

Janette said...

You might try: http://the-military-guide.com/

When you publish. My husband traveled back to the town he served in about 15 years ago. It was very important to him.
I can see how this type of book will be a healing experience for many who "journey" with you.