Long ago, while yet a tiny sensitive child, I realized the meaning of hypocrisy. When I sensed such by those in a position of trust, the feeling of being suffocated by deceit initiated my first contemplation of suicide at the age of six. Divine intervention is very real. I’m still here. I know too well how close one can come to taking one’s own life. Veteran suicides – 22 a day – those are only the suicides reported. Personally, I’ve known too many who lost hope, known too many men, women, children, veterans, friends who either attempted to end or did end their own lives. We each carry difficult burdens. The kindness we share with each other can be as powerful as divinity interceding.
Contemplations this morning move me to write of the strength and courage of a few who have shown interest in the project to assist veterans through the arts – in this case, self-published authors. A woman I met on-line has become a friend. It is an honor to be considered a friend to whom one can express the hard stuff, in her case extreme physical discomfort, illness and 50 years of epilepsy, etc. Her name is Margaret Brown. She wrote a book.
In my collection of treasured items are a few books signed and gifted to me by self-published authors. These writers who went out on a monetary limb to self-publish are heroic. Their books are very special to me.
First is the lovely Mary Ramstetter, historian, rancher, Vietnam veteran’s wife and long time family friend. Her prize winning books can be found on line at C Lazy Three Press / Crawford Gulch / Colorado. With the help of her husband Charlie, Mary gathered information and wrote her books. Charlie used the proceeds from the sale of cattle to self-publish her books. Nice.
Next is Sandy Munro from Aspen and his staunch, artistic wife Mary Lynn. A musician, Navy pilot, an inspiration, kind and generous Sandy wrote “Finding Uri.” His beautiful and emotional book is a treasure on the book shelf. Who was Uri? He was Sandy’s father K.I.A. in WWII discovered through a box of letters. One can google that book as well.
Now deceased and very much missed is the Air Force pilot, Major Kevin McGregor, Persian Gulf. He wrote and self-published “Flight of Gold.” Reading this true adventure story one feels the freezing cold, hears the roaring decent of avalanches, adrenaline spikes as a single engine plane seeks a landing zone on a mountain’s cliff face. I never met Kevin. He sent me a copy of his book and signed it with the powerful line… “Never Give Up.” My heart broke with disbelief to hear that Kevin had taken his own life. I carry the guilt of not having sent him an invitation to Wagon Mound before it was too late. No one knew.
And then there is Margaret who wrote “That Time, That Place, That War ~ Vietnam.” Mrs. Brown wrote that book with the care, assistance and love of the veterans of Vietnam who became her friends. She signed her book. “To Rene and Her Dream ~ Peace.”
Art is the expression of the heart, is a personal attempt to find the best within us and put it out creatively on canvas, in clay, through song and instrument, and powerfully in the written word. An artist must tell the tales of the times, paint more than just a vase of flowers. One must share the stories in the hope that the stories will inspire others towards courage and towards Peace. When one needs to recover from a ‘punch to the gut,’ art – even sewing together pieces of fabric – is the salve that just might do the trick. I hope the link below will take you to Margaret’s little video. Love you all and thank you all very much. sincerely, me ‘… Never Give Up !’
2017 11:16 am