There are few times when a writer engages an audience with total, emotional involvement that surpasses any previous experience any of us has ever had. That came Wednesday night when an autobiography focused on an infantry patrol deep in the jungles of Vietnam during the height of the bloody, entangled conflict. Split-second life and death decisions, so flippantly tossed around in the world of fiction, are a reality here. The decision to kill or be killed is incredibly difficult to transcribe, to put on paper, then to read aloud to a group of fellow writers who have no experience with the reality required to comment or critique that writing, not in the least the decision itself. It really isn't a decision, it is a crucible of life and warfare. It is training, it is a gut-wrenching need to live. This isn't fiction. This is real life, and impossible to create with such personal turmoil and wrenching soul searching without having lived through it. The crucible of that autobiography is so intense, so personal, that to convey it in writing is be cathartic for the writer, and therapeutic for us all at the same time. We were privileged Wednesday night to Bart Stamper's reading of “Point Blank.” This is not fiction; it is a revelation of the human spirit, and to have been part of that reading was an emotional experience we all felt and understood. Bart's writing lifted us all to a different time and place. We were with him on that patrol.
Thank you Bart Stamper.