The American Irish…Still…”Fightin and Writin”
SO, YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK? Not only a book, but you want to chronicle the “emotional history” of an entire generation – that generation of children born to Greatest Generation parents…that generation of children fortunate enough to hear the compelling wisdom, logic and common sense of the Greatest Generation, day in and day out…from their lips to our ears.
So, you want to write a book? Well then…what reserve of boundless energy will you draw upon and what fountain of inspiration will you spiritually connect to…as you begin at the beginning with halting, uncertain baby steps, and then onto the middle passages, invariably breaking stride as you fight against physical and emotional fatigue, and then, in the end, regrouping to reach deep within yourself for a flourish of graceful strides to finish the marathon you began years before, when you were running toward an ill defined goal on a barely illuminated pathway called…“writing a book.”
So you want to write a book? What then will you draw upon… to run that marathon and intimately connect to the soul of the reader? If you are spiritually connected to Irish ancestors who emigrated from the “Island of Sorrow,” then you are in luck, for, as you begin at the beginning, you will draw upon your Irish ancestors’ long-gone spirits and the natural strengths that those strong-willed, “colorful souls of yesterday” have passed on to you…through your evolutionary roll of the dice. For the Irish, writing a book begins when the “wee people” (leprechauns, fairies, sylphs, undines, salamanders, and elves) from the Irish countryside chauffeur in your “celtic muse” and beckon you toward their carriage of artistic expression. For your writer’s journey, all you need bring is a pen, a pad of paper and an Irishman’s philosophical embrace of life.
During your chauffeured-driven, book writing tour through the Irish landscape of words, phrases, expressions and stories, you will draw upon the rebellious spirit of an Irish people constantly under siege…and you will hear the whisper: “Deliver us from evil.” You will draw upon the compassionate heart that instinctively connects the Irish to societies’ “no counts” … and you will hear the whisper: “When I was hungry, you gave me to eat.” You will draw upon a resignation that, eventually, allows an Irishman to accept the fragile uncertainty of life that lurks around each and every corner…and you will hear the whisper: “Sorry for your troubles” and “Thy will be done.” You will draw upon the inevitable loss of control over your world and the melancholy of helplessness that incessantly temps the Irish to the “drink”…and you will hear the whisper: “Lead us not into temptation.” You will draw upon the doubt of the great unknown, holding fast to your Irish rosary, but knowing full well the limitations of all systems of belief…and you will hear the whisper: “Credo…Credo…I do believe in something larger than myself.” You will draw upon the constant upheaval of a deeply rooted, bellicose, Irish nature as you desperately try to forgive your enemies… and you will hear the whisper: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” You will draw upon an infatuating spin of the english language…a language forced upon the Irish, but a language the Irish made richer, more colorful, more dramatic, and more lyrical than the strange sounds first heard from the lips of foreigners who sought to conquer the Irish … and you will hear the whispered voices of James Joyce, Brendan Behan, Oscar Wilde, Sean O’Casey, William Kennedy, Ken Bruen, Frank McCourt and Seamus Heaney. You will draw upon a robust sense of humor that comforted the Irish by distracting them from their hollowed-eyed burden of poverty, hunger and exploitation…and, as the laughter dies down, you will hear the whisper: “God save us all” and “Give us this day our daily bread.” You will draw upon the indomitable spirit of Irish determination… and, in your darkest hour, you will hear the whisper: “This too shall pass.” But, most of all, you will draw upon the national past time of the Irish … the grandiose art of story telling … and you will hear the silent whisper: “never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
As a person of Irish descent, you don’t so much write a book, as you rather “standby”… subconsciously connected to the pen and watch as the words, phrases, expressions and stories flow out of the rich Irish heritage of struggle, survival, long suffering and contradiction. When you put pen to paper, the evolutionary connection to Irish ancestors literally takes over, and the book writes itself while an author, like myself, merely holds the pen and watches in wonderment as the pen magically spins its stories and philosophy right out of the “lives and times” of the Children of the Greatest Generation…with the so-called author merely left with the task of rewriting, rewriting and rewriting … for clarity, flow and structure.
Although Children of the Greatest Generation is limited in time (1943 to 2011) and parochial in setting (Detroit, Michigan), it is universal in its Irish-inspired philosophical message … the philosophical message that comes forth out of the “living and dying” of the Greatest Generation and their children.
Frederick W. Lauck, Author