Life in the War Zone is not a ‘WAR’ story.
It is a collection of poignant, eye opening stories and articles, written primarily as fictional accounts, yet based on true experiences of people living and working in major war zones around the globe. Each story and article has been formed from interviews, discussions, reports and dialogues from those directly involved and affected by conflict.
Here, with ‘Life in the War Zone’, Paul White has gently coaxed from the depths of people’s hearts the truth of how destructive and debilitating the effects of war are to individuals, families and entire communities.
Each tale reflects true events; Paul has managed to elicit the emotions, the feelings and the inner anxieties of those whose accounts are represented here.
Yet he has also found stories of great courage, fortitude and resilience of human spirit strewn amongst the detritus of war.
Whilst these stories are particular to the individuals to whom they belong, the sad fact is they can easily be told by so many.
This book may be finished, but sadly the strife continues.
OUT ON 11th FEBRUARY as Amazon Paperback or eBook direct
The Al Rahiri Dinner had been discussed at length. This was hardly a surprise as the Al Rahiris themselves were often discussed at great length. They had arrived in the District, direct from Arabi about eighteen months previously. The wife had spoken very little common then and even though there was no ‘Aberddu’ way as such, it was very obvious to the other residents of the Merchants Quarter that whichever way the Al Rahiris did things it was most definitely not the Aberddu way. It wasn’t that people were openly hostile to them, they were in general very polite and helpful but it was clear that whilst they had come from a great range of Western nations that lived in the same climates and had the same kinds of clothing and diet they were strangely uncomfortable in the presence of people of equal wealth and standing who were so very far from home.
The wife didn’t wear a corset. In fact both of them dressed in loose-fitting silks dyed opulently. They had food specially imported for them. In the summer – at first at least- they had no worn shoes. Having arrived in August, when the sun beat down on the city the building held the warmth well and they were comfortable. Some of the more ample matrons had suggested, not exactly unkindly, that when they were first met with the western winter they would return to Arabi on the first caravan going East. None of their husbands bothered listening to them, or they would have discovered that getting a caravan back East would have been both easy and pointless as Mr Al Rahiri pretty much had the monopoly on East-West import into Aberddu and out across the sea to Aragon and Nortrol.
It was a strange kind of polite ignorance that kept the Al Rahiris at arm’s length. No one knew what they ate or what kind of hours they kept. No one was even sure that they’d be able to get the wife to understand them. Whilst they were highly intrigued by the couple, they were not prepared to accept them into their homes with undue haste as more than anything they feared it may lead to nothing more than an uncomfortable and embarrassed silence.
It had taken six months for what Mulligan had started to think of as the Metcalfe Gang to invite them anywhere, and it was Metcalfe herself that plucked up the courage after running into Mrs Al Rahiri, whose name it turn out was Jali, at the Weavers and Dyers Guild perusing the same newly arrived batch of muslins and silks. After that, when Metcalfe had discovered that in fact Jali, and her husband Kaseem drank tea and were prepared to keep local hours and ate normal food, they were invited more freely to social events, although they were by no means part of the ‘usual crowd’ as Maurice Fortescue had swiftly become.
We are, as I type, in the midst of a publishing revolution and therefore a reading and writing revolution. The invention of the e-Book has blown open the closed-shop exclusive, it’s not what you know it’s who you know, hope you get lucky world of traditional hardback publishing. Blogging has been challenging it for some time, with eloquent and erudite writers able to express themselves freely – in all senses. Readers are now able to access uncensored, unedited content – with mixed blessings but that is the price of freedom. We, as readers and writers have freedom at last to write and read things that truly inspire us even if they are ‘not commercial’. We can seek out themes and push limits of fiction and journalism without the ‘right people’ having their final ‘red pen to correct and censor our views’ say on the matter. Of course, it’s a double-edged sword and much of this free content is puerile, poorly written, derivative or dull – but (apart from poorly written) these are grossly subjective qualities. Sure, Indie authors are more prone to textual error due to the fact they are less likely to have been able to get professional proof-readers – but people who buy first editions will tell you that spelling and grammar errors occur frequently in popular commercial fiction too. However, freedom means we take the rough with the smooth and this sudden tide of writers will carry on its waves the kind of artistry that may well have been overlooked by publishing houses seeking the next million-seller.
As readers and writers we need excercise our freedom – download indie author content, read and talk about it. Post about it on social media, tell colleagues and friends – recommend e-books in the same way we recommend favourite novels. We need to stick together – without readers writers know that they are little more than diarists. Without new writers, readers are left looking at the back of the corn flakes packet wondering whether they can be bothered to reread Catcher In The Rye. This is the biggest revolution in fiction since the invention of the mass market paperback. We need to take the initiative and make e-books and indie authors popular and important – by talking about them.
To this end, and as a first step reblog this post and see if we can start a tide of positive awareness of indie authors.