What We Learned from the Fire
Funny how certain themes pervade my writing from time to time. A little while back I wrote a short piece (not sold at the time of writing) on religious extremism / militarism being grounded in an blind faith and an unwillingness to ask questions.
Exhaustion has also been on my mind, and how it can be a catalyst for reflection. If you took a chance to listen to me reading from Robert Nichols (head over to Instagram if you haven’t yet) you might recall this line:
Only sometimes will exhaustion allow
Us peace to observe the image of love’s ghostfrom Sonnets to Aurelia by Robert Nichols
It has been on my mind that only when adrenalin has been drained, or passion spent, that we can look back on what drove us. Think of it as the seconds needed to overcome an amygdala hijack, and allow the rational mind to take over, writ large.
From that was born What We Learned from the Fire, a reflective piece looking at the horrors of war in the aftermath of a battle, seen from the fatigued perspective of those who execute orders rather than those who give them.
The stories I have sold so far have been, by and large, refined and honed over years. Edited, rejected, re-worked and re-sent over and over. This was a stark contrast. It emerged fully formed, was scraped and cleaned and landed the first time I sent it out.
Thanks for that to Doug Irvin, who saw something in it that fit the theme of this anthology. Read his thoughts on how the anthology came together here. He observed on accepting the story that it put him in mind of Wellington. The comment was a little inscrutable, but I guess he meant this:
Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle wonArthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
It is a melancholy piece, that’s for sure. Don’t worry, the other contributions aren’t.
There are more guest posts about the anthology hosted on Richard Paolinelli’s blog as well.
Interested? Check it out:
And you can find out more about my writing here