We invite guest bloggers and writers of articles on subjects relating to our book to share their content here.


Related subjects: Love, handwritten correspondence, Korean War, the 1950’s, loneliness, separation from loved ones, emotional/mental instability, sexual frustration, U.S. servicemen/women serving overseas, family secrets, elopement, unexpected pregnancy, psychological effects of military service, and Dear John letters.

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Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Very interesting insight describing how a soldier serving in Afghanistan used letter writing to create "order out of chaos" and get back some of his humanity. Soldiers in the Korean War certainly must have experienced the same needs and motivation. Good read.

Why Do We Write?

January 22, 2018 by Angry Staff Officer

Why do we write? That’s a thorny question for many authors. We’d rather give a terse reply and chug some bourbon rather than give an honest answer. Because posing that query forces us to look inward and ask the hard questions. And we’d rather ask those questions about other people than ourselves, for fear of what we’ll find. For me, it took a little while to pin down exactly why I jab at the keyboard several times a week while peering anxiously around to see if writer’s block is attempting to ambush me. It does that, you know. No warning and then – BAM – it takes you right down.

Being an overly analytical Army engineer, I began by trying to get at the root cause of the issue: who do I write for? That one’s easy: when I began writing as a teen, I was writing solely for myself. Which was good, because my own self was the only witness to the absolute bilge that one produces at that age. In college, I wrote for professors and cursed everything. In graduate school, I wrote for the monster named Thesis that presided over every waking hour. And when I was finally freed of this beast, I had no desire to write any more.

At least, I didn’t until I found myself in Afghanistan. It was a war that didn’t feel like a war. We wore the trappings of war – body armor, helmets, weapons – but it was more like one long board room meeting with brief moments of explosive excitement. Deployment as an executive officer and then later as a staff officer means that you have little to no control over your life. Hours are set by someone else; the mission determines where you go and what you do. You spend hours at a computer to produce orders and guidance that no one will read. For a young officer, it is a rude awakening to what the veterans who grimace into their coffee cups every day already know: it’s not the outcome that matters, it’s that the processes are followed.

I would walk back under the shadow of the towering T-walls to my five foot by seven foot personal palace, my small space of solace where I slept and sought some semblance of control. And it was here that my fingers again tentatively returned to the keyboard. Muscles in my mind – long dormant – torpidly stretched and yawned, shaking out the kinks. Slowly, and then with speed, I tapped out my first few pieces. In a sense, it was my declaration of independence. It was an attempt to state my humanity, as if to shout out to the bordering Hindu Kush mountains, “I am me, I am an individual, I am not a drone, I create.” They never seemed to care, those gorgeous and forbidding mountains.

To create. To build a sense of freedom. That is why we write. In a world where I could control very little, the ability to empty the jumbled cornucopia of my mind onto an empty page and come away with something that resembled a thesis and an argument gave me back some bit of my humanity. It was creating order out of chaos; or just creating chaos, but it was my chaos. For once, I was the ruler of my small domain.

From then on, I have written to create. Whether it is a humorous piece exploring who we are as veterans, an analysis of Star Wars tactics, or an exposition of historical events, I write to join in the communal sharing of ideas. It is an inherent desire deep within the soul to live beyond one’s self. So really, for lack of a better explanation, I write to be human and part of the human race.

And also because it’s damn fun.

About the Author: Angry Staff Officer is an Army engineer officer who is adrift in a sea of doctrine and staff operations and uses writing as a means to retain his sanity. He also collaborates on a podcast with Adin Dobkin entitled War Stories, which examines key moments in the history of warfare. You can visit the Angry Staff Officer at angrystaffofficer.com

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Updated: Apr 16, 2020

By Christine Stevens DeLorenzo

1995 Montegrappa Silver Dragon

If we got you thinking about writing that love letter, great! We applaud you. Now we’re going to help you find that perfect high quality pen – fountain, rollerball, dip, and ballpoint.

1. From limited edition and luxury to everything in between, Pen Chalet offers over 70 writing instrument brands and lots of useful accessories. Prepare to be wowed. www.penchalet.com

2. If you own a Montblanc writing instrument, then you’ve really made it in this world. If not, and you didn’t know, their pens are classics. My favorite is the BEATLES SPECIAL EDITION BALLPOINT ($760.00). What’s yours? www.montblanc.com

3. Thinking bold, brilliant, and one of kind? Then vintage or pre-owned writing instruments is the way to go. www.thepenmarket.com. They also repair pens and have a “Trading Post” where folks can list and sell their old pens.

And don’t forget, June 10th is National Ballpoint Day. Observe it by writing that love letter! (Use #BallpointPenDay when using social media.)

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Updated: Apr 16, 2020

By Christine Stevens DeLorenzo

When was the last time you wrote a love letter? A hand-written love letter on paper and written in ink? If you’re like most people – addicted to your smart phone, Amazon, and Netflix – then you’ve probably never written a sweet sheet.

Instead, because you text, acquire purchases online, and watch scheduled and unscheduled programming, your available time to express your heartfelt emotions is probably reduced to “LuvU,” “WantU,” “MissU,” or a stolen line from movies that you’ve searched for online.

Some people are satisfied with sending “I Love You” text messages, or what I call “Word Spurts.” But is your recipient really feeling gratified receiving them?

Texting for hours on end throughout the day can make most people verbally constipated when it comes to communicating heartfelt emotions to their one-and-only. No wonder texters shun using pen and paper to express their love.

Handwritten love letters require time and thought to express what is in one’s heart. When you put time and thought into a love letter, the words you choose are more significant… more meaningful… more intimate… more memorable.

As you accumulate handwritten love letters, they become a type of tender, tangible, historical, and personal narrative that can be mused over again and again for weeks, years, and decades. Hand-written letters are priceless, cherished gifts. They are treasured and kept in special drawers or exquisite boxes. Whereas Word Spurts are gone in a blink of an eye, or buried amongst thousands of other types of mundane text messages.

When it comes to expressing your love for that special someone, nothing compares to complete, thoughtful words in your own unique longhand, showcased on a blank card or a sheet of paper, then tucked inside an envelope and mailed USPS, or left taped to her mirror:

“The first time our lips touched ever so slightly, my heart skipped a beat. Right then and there, I knew I could love you for the rest of my life. But I didn’t tell you. Instead, I hoped for our second kiss. A week later, you were in a baggy white tee shirt and torn jeans and back in my arms. I thought, ‘I must be dreaming. What does she see in a guy like me?’ It is two years later and I no longer need to question your desires. I can see your love for me in your eyes, I can still feel your love for me on your lips, and I can still sense your love for me during our passionate nights. Without you, I would never have put pen to paper. And, so, I write, think, write, feel, write some more, feel some more.

"A new door opened when you came into my life. Since then, we’ve promised to take each other’s hand and walk through life’s doors together.

“Thank you, sweetheart, for your understanding, knowledge, gentility, strength, support, kindness, compassion, peace, and balance. My heart is always with you. Today, and forever. Just wanted you to know. Oh, and since I am feeling giddy and carefree, how about letting me make dinner tonight? Yes? Good! See you at 7:00. And don’t forget to wear the baggy tee shirt and torn jeans.”

When it comes to love and the heart, which sentiment do you think your one-and-only would prefer to receive: a text, or a sweet sheet created knowing that not all communication should be immediate?

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