So, here I am writing about 1945, a time frame that was 68 years ago and I “discovered” a few interesting things. They are interesting because they are very real and I did not have a clue about them when I started my book. Please give me some leeway here, when I struggle a bit to bring my point across.
The start of the book was very simple in that I have a good memory and I had also some old notes regarding dates and places. So I started writing…. And here is what I discovered:
When you or I think back at something that occurred a while ago something happens in our brain to bring the event back to the forefront. Somehow we “inspect” the former incident. When we talk about it, we sometimes say things like: “In retrospect”, well, you know what I mean. For the lack of a better word I call this memory recall: “Harmless”.
I talked very often to my family, my friends and others about WWII and my experiences, and none of these conversations ever affected me in any shape or form. However, now as I write about it something very different happens to me. I am starting to “relive” events and happenings which were somehow depressed or at least forgotten.
Here is an example:
In 1944, at the height of the air raids in Berlin, we were about 130 children per classroom. Every Friday morning we had two minutes of silence in which we stood with our heads bent and remembered the parents, relatives or classmates we lost in the previous week. Actually there was not a day where not one of us classmates did not lost a loved one. My original class of 128 children in 1943 shrank to 22 children in 1944. Some of us had been ‘evacuated’ Some of us were simply missing. But, most of my classmates died due to the bombing attacks.
There was never any counseling for us. Two minutes of remembrance, once a week, was good enough. The phrase we always heard was: “It is total war..get over it.”
Later on, 20, 30, or 40 years later, here in the States, I was often asked: “Did you or do you have any nightmares?” No, I never had, yes, I did have horrible memories, but I never thought about them because they were unproductive. And, I don’t think about unproductive things. Well, not much anyway. But, now, writing about these times I find myself actually reliving, (no, re-experiencing is a better word) past events …long forgotten. And let me tell you, it is not funny, sitting by the computer, trying to type while shaking.
Now, am I learning anything from this? I mean anything productive? Well, for one thing, I think that it would be far easier to write about other people than about myself. It follows that it might also be easier to write fiction. However, as for right now, I continue my story to the end.
As for my future, as a writer, I might decide to write fiction. Time will tell….