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AIR - A Writer's Journey...

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AIR has been an active project since September 2017 and the most difficult novel undertaking for me to date.

Before one word could hit the page, I had to become a virtual Annapolis cadet, or midshipman, as it were, learning from the bottom up all things US Navy. After all this time, I am far from an expert, but a 1940 copy of the "Bluejackets Bible" helped. It was given to me by a dear friend who knew I was in deep research mode for AIR.

The fact that it was the edition many of the sailors on board the USS Oklahoma would have had in their lockers that fateful Sunday made it a weighty book indeed in terms of information, yes, but more so, emotion.

What first struck me was not six pages in where midshipmen were taught to identify the Flag of Principal Maritime Nations for 1940, and although it should not have come as a surprise, but seeing the Nazi Swastika and the Japanese Rising Sun emblems startled me and gave me a chill. I had a visceral feeling of death wash over me, of men crying, screaming, burning, begging for their mothers, the wails only dying with the extraction of air bubbles as they sink further down into the sea, their only invitation—the intake of death... drowning... fierce, painful, then a quiet stillness for all eternity.
Those boys wouldn’t have given that page a second glance, for in 1940 no one knew the total cost of that war, the torture that would befall survivors under those regimes, and most importantly, no American ever questioned their country's might.

Looking at this page some 70+ years later, we know, and it’s hard to see those emblems in a North American book and accept that this was real - the immense pain, the endless loss.
It was in this time-weary and worn book that the pain of this journey began and it has never subsided. It is up to me to do these men proud. I am only human and I will make mistakes, but not for one moment do I take a casual stance towards these men and their story. I need to listen to their whispering voices and learn from their lessons hard fought.

The journey of AIR continues...