Weekend Writing Warrior 5/8/16 #8Sunday

For May I’m pulling from me short story collection, The Futility of Loving a Soldier.

It’s eleven stories about veterans and their relationships with family and friends.

Today’s excerpt comes from the second of five related stories, “A Family Tradition.” This one is about Maarten, a man who served during WWII and has spent his life battling his father’s legacy, as conveyed by his single mother, Ophélie. It continues where last week’s excerpt left off.

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Growing up without a father around, with a mother who made sure he knew what kind of man his father was, Maarten had had no choice but to excel at everything, and so enlisting had been the obvious step after high school: a chance to prove to his mother, his father, and himself that he was strong, that he cared about more than himself. What better cause than one’s country?

His time in the Algerian desert wasn’t what he’d expected. He’d wanted to be in the infantry, just like his father, but he’d ended up as a mechanic, fixing broken-down jeeps and supply trucks. It had kept him from the front, but to his surprise he didn’t mind; in fact, he liked it. It was a relief not to have people depending on him, life or death hinging on his trigger finger.

Ophélie hadn’t understood, of course—not after the lies Joos had told her—and so Maarten had lied too – no, he’d exaggerated. Other men’s exploits became his, and they stayed his when he returned home and married Catherine, they continued in the bedtime stories he told his sons, and they stretched into the future, in his hopes that his boys could make them real.

So far, he hadn’t been disappointed. His sons John and Ted had what it took to be soldiers some day, and Artie… well, Artie tried.

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And now for the stuff you should do!


  1. Even being a mechanic can be dangerous. My dad was an airplane mechanic in the RCAF during the Battle of Britain and was caught in several German bombing raids. But the injury that ended his war? A bus accident on the way to a dance. How ironic.

  2. Well, someone has to fix the vehicles, right? Sad that the legacy he tried to live up to is now even more difficult for his sons.

  3. and Artie… well, Artie tried

    So much story, in so few words.

    You unravel his storytelling so reasonably… Not a bad man, just wanting to have been more…

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