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I guess writers view the world a little differently. Little things that I would have in past overlooked, now can reach out and grab me. This morning, out of a twitter feed filled with tweets from the some 2000 accounts I follow, one message jumped out at me and I clicked on it. It was posted by a USMC account and the article was about Marines in Afghanistan.
So many things about the article struck me, to the point I saved it so I could refer back later–yes, for research, because it seems everything in my life relates somehow to writing. But the larger point is, I didn’t have to read the article. My current military romance books are all written right now and I haven’t planned or contracted new ones yet. This is the kind of thing I would have groaned about reading back in high school for class, but now, I’m IMing a Marine friend to discuss interesting tidbits I found in the article, because I was excited about it!
For instance, I’m excited there was a bad poppy harvest, the bad guys’ largest source of income. I noticed that tidbit, a single sentence, buried on page 2 of the article because I wrote a scene in an Afghan poppy field in an upcoming military romance novel of mine.
Six years ago I would have looked at a picture of the poppy field and thought of Van Gogh. Or perhaps thought, “how pretty”. Or maybe even decided I was craving a lemon-poppyseed muffin. Today, I see a poppy field and, for better or worse, I immediately see it as a source of illegal drugs, the income from the sale of which buys weapons to kill American soldiers. Am I sorry for this loss of naiveté? Not at all. In fact, I’m grateful, because for us to truly appreciate the beauty in the world, there has to be an awareness that there exists ugliness as well.