Sunday, February 3, 2013

What Military Memoirs Teach Us about Writing and Life

At the moment I am engrossed in the book, My Share of the Task by Retired General, Stanley McCrystal. It's not the first military memoir I've read. A few months ago I was reading American Sniper by Chris Kyle, late into the night.
Sadly, Chris Kyle was killed on a shooting range on Saturday, February 2nd 2013. He was a great American and will be missed. Click here for the story.
These books of such great men of history are some of the most engrossing and engaging reads that I know. They give us a glimpse into the difficult choices and true strength of the warriors who protect our land.
While I write in the paranormal erotic romance genre, my reading tastes vary greatly as it does for most authors. I have never attempted to write a book with military characters. I don't feel I would do them true justice, even if the story is mostly as a romance novel. The story simply wouldn't be good enough.
Military memoirs amaze me. Perhaps it's because I so respect the men and women of the U.S. Military for what they do, or it may be that I love to peek into the back room of recent history. Finding out tidbits of knowledge I might never know otherwise. Either way, I am not entranced by the battles they've fought, but by the character of the men.
Reading about these men and the life and death decisions they make every day when the U.S is involved in a conflict, makes me realize the quality of professional we have in our military. They are humble yet fierce, passionate about making the right choices and living their life to a higher standard.
I think the one thing I learned from reading military memoirs is that perseverance is not an option but a requirement. Life doesn't wait for you to be ready for a challenge; it gets in your face and threatens to drown you. Sometimes it's because you've allowed something unhealthy into your life and other times because it's time for you to advance to the next stage of your existence. A trial by fire if you will.
I've heard authors struggle with writing. Bad reviews bruise us, our muse deserts us, submissions are rejected over and over. I myself have experienced these things. I've even questioned whether to keep trying to write when I just feel dry and uninspired. At those dark moments I go back to what I know will soothe me. So, I read.
I read the memoirs of men who perseverance in life has impacted history itself. I read the memoirs of men who would lay down their lives for us, even as we don't give our full support to them. They set a standard of honor few of us will ever achieve in our lives.  
While I don't know whether I'll ever have a place in history with my erotic romance stories, I do know that to stop writing is akin to surrender, and that is something a warrior who works his craft, does not do.
 So, makes friends in the writing community and seek advice, eat ice cream if you need to, (at times) feel sorry for yourself, but never surrender and stop writing. This is the craft we work, and we must never allow ourselves the convenience of failure.


  1. Thank-you for this beautiful post Mary. It's truly inspiring.

    1. Thank you, Ivy. It was written from the heart. A broken heart with Chris Kyle's death, but he's an inspiration in many ways.