Years ago I wrote a short story. It started as a dream of being a female soldier in Iraq, and those first few sentences I wrote still bring back the memories of tight, ragged breaths in the hot sand. Three paragraphs later, I decided this female soldier needed to encounter a fictionalized version of a real-life Medal of Honor recipient. I knew he would change her life.
Then he changed mine.
At this juncture I’m going to avoid using his real name out of respect for his family’s need for more time, though readers of military history will have no trouble recognizing him. The short story soon became a novel. Throughout the process I had moments where I knew I wasn’t writing alone. I am grateful for every moment, every word that revealed something more of his character.
I don’t know what the future holds for the novel. I’m seeking the family’s blessing for using his name in connection with the novel. I long to honor his memory in every way possible. That means, however, that I must also honor his family, and may need to further fictionalize the man in the novel. While I await word, I am also working on other projects, including a biography from publicly-available sources.
The title of the short story is “Charlie Mike” and in military jargon that means “continue mission.” No matter what obstacles come, we readjust and find new ways to accomplish our goals. We move forward. If this is the way you want to live, then I invite you to stay in touch. Real people are my inspiration. Let’s keep working together to make something beautiful out of the darkness.