So I’m not sure what part of my brain was engaged when I suggested to Z that, when crafting his creative writing piece on the Vietnam War, he should be sure to include some dialogue to bring his characters out a little more.
Z had decided to write about US infantrymen (grunts) on patrol coming under fire. And, all kudos to him, the dialogue is really remarkably realistic.
It flows well. Nicely natural. Not overlong. Good pace. Good rhythm.
Yet utterly, comprehensively, eye-bleedingly obscene.
More Tarantino than Roger Melly. And really pretty good for a child of nine. If it weren’t for the obscenity, of course.
I said — well, Skyped — “Is this a challenge to see how much swearing you can get into one story?”
He Skyped back, “no, but they swore a LOT in chickenhawk so i am following their example.”
Which I couldn’t really fault. And it’s not as if he swears in conversation. Only prose.
Anywise, he is very proud of it. And, I think, as a piece of writing by someone his age who hates writing with a passion (although loves words) it’s really pretty good. So I’ll focus on something practical, like paragraphing, when we do the edit, and leave the swearing be.
Which leaves the writer, the mother and the educator in me battling it out on age-appropriate reading.
I gave him Chickenhawk mainly because Mason offers such a fantastic, passionate account of learning to fly a helicopter, theory, practice, combat flying, camaraderie, the works. There is even a map of the controls!
I thought the military-transport freak in Z would love it. It also seemed to offer an easy route into the American experience of combat, pairing nicely with the Cu Chi Tunnels (both the experience, and the book), and complementing the horrific stuff — Agent Orange, My Lai, the girl in the picture — which we saw in the War Remnants Museum.
I’ve probably got it wrong, again. Mind you, he’s seen Tarantino films. So why not Tarantino prose?