An Unquiet American
“Blogging is the only addiction that won’t make you fat, drunk or stoned. But it might make you so hungry for instant gratification that your books get shorter.” – Erica Jong, novelist, HuffPost blogger
One of the pleasures of being a writer is the opportunity—the word excuse comes to mind—to research and write about the thousands of issues, events and cultures that make up our world. Most of what I study and write about is related to being a crime novelist (violence, criminality, forensics). Some of my research is personal (as when my house burned down in a wildfire) or political and historical (the Iraq War). The rest I can only ascribe to neurological pingings that send me hunting down rabbit holes like a subatomic particle crashing about an accelerator.
In this blog I look at some of the themes and issues that help define who we humans are—where we’ve been, where we stand, where we’re going. Subjects I’ll talk about over the coming months include — in no particular order — espionage, poverty, war, history, science, archaeology, literature, cognition, human rights issues, the Middle East, Lawrence of Arabia, murder, military working dogs, the Space Race and single-malt Scotch.
Please search my posts for topics that interest you. And leave comments if inspired to do so. Like any sailor voyaging into the unknown, I am looking for my tribe.
“You can’t patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid.”
— Michael Connelly, The Black Echo
Part 1 of this Series: An Introduction to PTSD
I first became interested in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as research for a novel. My protagonist is a former Marine who served during the Iraq War. She worked in Al-Anbar Province in western Iraq, where she collected and processed the dead. Witnessing first hand what IEDs, sniper bullets and mortar fire does to human bodies left her with a raft of psychological scars including nightmares, flashbacks, and a constant state of alertness.
And—in her unique version of the disorder—ghosts.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that one out of every 13 adults in the U.S. will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. That’s eight million adults in any given year. The annual cost of PTSD (mortality expenses, drugs, medical treatment, and indirect costs at work and elsewhere) is estimated at over $42.3 billion dollars.
What was most shocking to me after I started my research was the discovery that I, too, suffer from PTSD. read more…