Afterwar is taking turns I didn’t expect, which is usual. The problem lies in the very nature of the story I’m excavating. One of the things in tis book is the fact that combat trauma marks people, and warfare doesn’t stop when the surrender is signed. There are refugees to feed and shelter, there’s post-traumatic stress reverberating through an entire society, there’s mopping up to do, there’s rationing, there’s criminal activity either from desperation or simple greed. And that’s just the beginning. The process of cleaning up after a war is a messy one, and long-term.
This is nothing new to any student of history, but part of the genesis of Afterwar is my frustration with military history that ends with the signing of papers. Of course going through the aftereffects would double the size of any textbook covering a war. I understand the exigencies of limited space, I really do, but each time I watch a war movie and something explodes all I can think is, Jesus, that took forever to build, it will take forever to rebuild, and yet it’s blown up in a matter of seconds.
To me, the real story starts when the rebuilding begins. Which is part of why this particular book is fucking with me so badly, because it’s a way more complex project than any I’ve undertaken before, ever. I’m waking up in the morning and thinking, Lili, you are such an idiot for not only asking but demanding to take this on. I’m sure my new but long-suffering editor will have similar things to say, too.
I’m committed now, as they say. There’s no way out but through, as happens so often with books and indeed life itself. So it’s time to go for a run in the rain, marinating the scenes I’ve got to write, and come home to do them. The tax paperwork, in comparison, is easy-peasy.
Of course, now that I’ve said that, I’m sure there are multiple snarls waiting there to trip me up. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
*puts on goggles*
*they do nothing*