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Ernest Hemingway "The World Breaks Everyone"

The last scene of "War Springs Eternal," was a dream and in the dream, the main character was Ernest Hemingway.{I had been reading a biography.} The dream was so vivid, that when I woke, I grabbed my cellphone, opened my memo app, hit the microphone icon and immediately dictated the details of the dream. I knew I could not let those images fade away into nothingness. I had to create a story. I fell back to sleep wondering just what story was going to spring to life.

The next day, within a few hours, the opening paragraphs of what was to became, War Springs Eternal came to life. As I was writing, I decided to set it in WWI. I pulled myself from the keyboard and devoted the remainder of the weekend to doing research. I read two books on the era and watched several documentaries. After my research was completed, I shifted those paragraphs to the middle of the story and wrote an entirely new opening. Soon, the story was writing itself -- up to a point. It was my original intent to have that final scene take place on the island of Saipan. I was toying with the fantasy of moving there, and became fixated on bringing my newest tale to the picture perfect Marianas Island chain. However, after my research, I accepted the fact that it simply wasn't a viable locale for the final scene.

For about three or four weeks, I banged my head against both a literal and figurative wall trying to come up with the right location and backdrop for that final scene. Then one day, telling some Navy stories to a friend of mine, it hit me. All I had to do was get the main character there, and once I came up with that transition, within a matter of an hour, I completed what is, of all my stories, the one closest to my heart.

From the new first paragraph, I knew the only viable explanation for the main character's actions in the last scene were his experiences as a combat veteran afflicted with PTSD. I wanted people to understand, that those experiences lead him to make what to him was a most rational decision. It wasn't the PTSD, but it was what caused him to suffer from the traumatically induced disorder that forced him to make his decision.

As I was putting the final touches on the completed draft, I came across the Hemingway quote which captions the picture to the right.

Once I read it, I knew I had to include it in the beginning of the novella and it was the perfect lead into the dedication. This is how it appears in the opening...

The world eventually broke Hemingway to the point that he took his own life. Many have speculated about the reason(s) why the greatest American author of his time took his own life, even I discussed it in One Day I Was. However, regardless of why, the fact is that a strong-willed person, who had become stronger many times, was eventually broken. The world always wins.

The characters I write, are all, in one way or another, broken. I write about broken and damaged characters because in my experience, the broken person is the norm, not the exception.

We are all, to one degree or another, in some way broken. That is not a bad thing. Many of us survive and even thrive from the world’s efforts to break us.

Additionally as writers, understanding the broken within ourselves, allows us to understand, and further explore the broken in others, and eventually, in our creations.

War Springs Eternal is dedicated to my brothers and sisters in arms -

-To those who were asked to do the unthinkable.

-To those who HAD to do the unimaginable.

-To those who are broken and still fighting.

-To those for whom the fighting became too much.

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