Monday, June 21, 2004

Books for soldiers

There is a certain sense of trepidation in writing to someone you have never met and know nothing about. I have had pen pals in the past, but always knew a little something about them before I wrote. As I looked over the listings of service men and women who wanted and needed news from home, books, hygiene supplies, and to know that someone cared, I was caught by the overwhelming response and wondering where I could fit something in, give a little something back. I don't have much and lately I have had a lot less, but I feel a kinship with these people who are so much like the men and women among whom I grew up as a child of a career Army NCO. I know how much they miss their families and how difficult it is to get thru the days without news from home or news from anyone.

I found one order for books unfulfilled and offered a hand, but I kept looking, half afraid that I would not be equal to the task of corresponding with a stranger. Not that talking (or writing for that matter) has been a problem for me before, but I really know nothing about any of these people. I finally chose a staff sergeant (laughing as I did at an entry to the call for letters asking what SSG stood for) and hopefully he will find something to give him a smile or just a moment to know he is not alone.

On another tack, I am faced with a clear slate at last -- well, mostly a clear slate. I find that the editor in chief of The Rose & Thorn has not publicized the staff issue or the contest, thus making sure there will be very few entries to judge and my last official act will die ignobly. So I'm asking all my LJ friends to get out there and buy a copy. Surely you can afford $3.00 for a superb and beautiful magazine you can read at your leisure during those long hot summer days while you bask by the pool or gobble ice cream and iced tea, water, or coffee, something shorter than a novel and sometimes even short enough for a quick read before you head to bed or to the beach or wherever. You don't have to enter the contest, but you could buy the issue and send the entry information to a poor writer friend who would like to enter but cannot afford the modest entry fee. I guarantee you will enjoy at least some of the issue, dependent upon your tastes and proclivities (there's even a bit of erotica between the otherwise PG-rated chaste pages) and an incredible three-way interview with three of the best known, award winning writers of science fiction & fantasy of our generation: Mercedes Lackey, Elizabeth Moon, and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. So you see there is something for everyone's tastes: a little romance, a bit of horror, some poetry, a taste of tittilation, and some really great illustrations, which I chose personally.

So, if you love good literature, funny and poignant stories, or poetry of every stripe and you don't mind a bit of high brow pedantic writing, go check out the staff issue and make me proud. Make my swan song one that will echo for a while and not go unheard and unremarked.

That is all.

I'll shut up now.

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