Oh

In a true war story, if there’s a moral at all, it’s like the thread that makes the cloth. You can’t tease it out. You can’t extract the meaning without unraveling the deeper meaning. And in the end, really, there’s nothing much to say about a true war story, except maybe “Oh.” True war stories do not generalize. They do not indulge in abstraction or analysis.

For example: War is hell. As a moral declaration the old truism seems perfectly true, and yet because it abstracts, because it generalizes, I can’t believe it with my stomach. Nothing turns inside.

It comes down to gut instinct. A true war story, if truly told, makes the stomach believe.

In full here: How to Tell a True War Story, from The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien.

Read this. I know I don’t get it any more than the woman at the end, but. Oh.

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June 22, 2009. Tags: , , . serious stuff, writing.

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