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The VVA Veteran Reviews Prelude

Prelude was recently reviewed by David Wilson, a reviewer from the site “Books in Review II.” Wilson's review eloquently chronicles his reaction to the novel alongside his own experience in Vietnam. "I highly recommend this novel, both as a good read and as a glimpse into the lives of...

SD Sawyer

Growing Pains

I am shy. Clung to the sashes behind my older sister’s dresses throughout childhood. But the only career I ever wanted, oddly enough, was to be a teacher. Never thought how it would put me on center stage every day. I quickly forgot about shyness when, assigned to teach the relevancy of English, I looked into the faces of a class full of middle or high school kids. We’d garb up in funny old clothes, weird hats, plastic eye glass frames— assuming the identity of characters in novels. Sometimes we’d do lights-out dramatic readings (Poe’s stories were best.) I lost shyness and myself in public school classrooms witnessing teenagers learn about literature— and life.

I retired. What else would affirm such purpose for me as teaching had done? Perhaps— writing. I’d always loved it. Had little time to pursue it, but had been successful with poetry, even published in literary magazines. But that was years ago.

After 9/11 our military initiative to protect us increased. Uniformed soldiers appeared everywhere. And when their deployment ended and they returned home, celebrations were joyous, tearful, and— public. Newspapers, television stories, magazines all recorded the excitement of returning troops. I smiled, grateful of course.

Like most retirees, I began sorting through things. I came upon my poetry chapbook and reread poems I’d written long ago. “The Wall,” which I posted, and one entitled “Sisters, Still So Silent,” my experience as a Vietnam Waiting Wife.

How easily poetic images slipped me back there. Did I really want to return to the 1960′s? For weeks I sorted through letters and mementos, talked with my husband about his tours of duty. After he left for work one February morning, I sat down at the computer and began my first novel, Prelude to Reveille: A Vietnam Awakening. Words, memories and anxieties flowed quietly as tears most days, month after month. I wrote more pages than I ever imagined. And when I reached the last sentence, I recognized it. He simply said, “I knew you’d find me, Babe.”

Yeah, I sort of knew it too.

If only, if only somehow I could help find the others. . .

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4 Responses to Growing Pains

  1. KT says:

    Great post S.D.! How funny that you’ve always considered yourself shy, but continuously ended up in the spotlight! I applaud that bravery – it takes a lot when you’re shy to open up…and you seem to be doing great job at it!

  2. Susie says:

    Wow! How fortunate we are that you got over being shy! You touched so many young lives through your teaching. And, now, you have written a powerful novel that is sure to also touch many others. Kudos, S.D.Sawyer! I look forward to your next book!

  3. Jake Murtoff says:

    Mrs. Sawyer, as a former student of your i must say if you considered yourself shy then i was the quietest student you ever taught. Also, forgive my grammar, spelling, and punctuation, you did teach me way better then that. And lastly you gave me the best year of english i ever had i’d do it over in a heartbeat.

  4. sdsawyer711 says:

    Oh Jake, I’m speechless! I’ll never forget the skits your class did. I bet I could even dig up videos for your 5 year reunion! You all gave me such a fantastic year that I decided to retire after it ended. I knew it just couldn’t get any better!

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