Writer's Connection, SM
a publication of The Virtual Writing
"The Creative Process of Writing
is a Liberating and Therapeutic Experience"
In This Issue:
2. Publisher's Note
3. Philip Caputo's The Rumor of War
4. Helpful Hints
The Writer's Connection explores the creative process
of writing and the interplay between thoughts, feelings,
and actions. We are an interactive community of authors
and readers who share ideas to enhance our knowledge,
skills, and experiences in writing fiction in any genre,
but our emphasis remains mystery and suspense thrillers.
Published monthly, the Newsletter offers writing tips
for authors, coaching suggestions, editing, and marketing
Topics are presented from the perspective of Keith Barton
and represent only his ideas on producing your first manuscript,
and are provided to the general public. Because we are
an interactive community of writers, other viewpoints
are welcomed and may be printed in future monthly newsletters
with permission from Keith Barton.
2. Publisher's Note
Dear Writer's Connection Subscriber,
This month's newsletter features: Philip Caputo's The Rumor of War
3. Philip Caputo's The Rumor of War
There have been thousands of books on Vietnam but none more graphic and personal
than Philip Caputo's book, The Rumor of War. Mr. Caputo was your average
high school student in Midwest America who only thought about helping his country
when he heard John F. Kennedy's famous inaugural address, "Ask not what your
country can do for you but what you can do for your country." Later, in 1964
Lyndon B. Johnson agreed for military advisors to help the struggling country of
South Vietnam fight against "aggression from the north." The Gulf of Tonkin incident
was mysterious and ambiguous on whether we were drawn into this war or looked for a
reason to enter the war. Regardless of the circumstances. Philip Caputo, like any
young 21-year-old wanted to join the Marines and to fight for his country.
The first third of the book tells of Caputo's boot camp days, DIs, survival training,
and infantry school training before his deployment to Danang Airbase to secure a
perimeter around the base. Terrain was now defined by hills instead of street
names, enemy engagement by trip mines and snipers rather than combat battalions,
fighting with boredom, dysentery, and malaria rather than the enemy and the
constant change of orders from higher ups more interested in body counts than
strategy. Caputo could have easily focused on the graphic horrors of war, no
doubt prevalent on both sides in the Vietnam conflict, but instead his
first-hand narrative depicts the people of South Vietnam as victims more than
Viet Cong sympathizers.
Caputo is honest in his R&R (rest and relaxation) liberties in the "boom-boom"
houses and dives in Saigon where servicemen drink and carouse with the locals
to escape the atrocities in the field. What struck me about Caputo's book is
the slow pace of the war: the NARVN fought at night, slept and dug in during
the day, and essentially picked off American soldiers by sniper fire. Caputo
tells the story of a close friend and fellow non-com officer with only six
days of his tour left taking a sniper's bullet in the head while filling
canteens at a stream for his buddies. His inglorious death like so many of
his comrades, some by enemy fire from USAF jets and mortar rounds falling
short of their mark, does not help grieving families nor does it give meaning
to a war that was not going to be won in Washington. Some pretentious
officers were more concerned about their boot shines and body counts than
ammo supplies and morale. Others fought valiantly by their men choosing to
lead rather than look through a pair of binoculars.
As a member of third platoon, trench warfare consists of jammed rifles, firing
at imaginary nighttime targets, and resisting fatigue. Men go for days without
food or sleep only to catch a mortar or bullet while dozing in a foxhole
because their buddy also fell asleep. Pursuing the VC is like the proverbial
game of "king of the mountain;" only this time there are hills and underground
tunnels that hide the VC who have learned the art of guerilla warfare since
the French occupied their country in 1954.
Action lasts only two or three
minutes; yet everything is seen and felt with unusual clarity. Corpsmen,
EVACs, hot LZs, and jungle surround twenty-year-olds a long way from home
with little reason as to why they're in this war and who's winning. Women
scream, children cry, villagers run out of flaming villages that was home
for them, American soldiers befriend villagers who turn on them by giving
away their positions to the VC in order to stay alive to live another day.
Some marines "lose it" like Lt. Calley did in the infamous My Lai incident
where villages are decimated by flame throwers because some colonel wants
a dead VC to impress his superiors in a war of body counts.
In the field manuals where guerilla warfare was learned in Quantico,
Virginia, "The jungle can be your friend as well as your enemy." Caputo
concludes that "There was nothing friendly about the Vietnamese bush.
Once the H-34 Huey put you down in a hot LZ, you were literally back in
some prehistoric Jurassic Park nightmare where everyone was your enemy
and no one was your friend except the soldier sharing your foxhole.
Each man helplessly waited for that bullet to pierce their helmet or
skull and end what was supposed to be "something we could do for our
- What parallels do you see between Afghanistan and Vietnam? Is any war winnable in
the sense that there is a winner and loser?
- Although some might say we should not have entered Vietnam what would have been
your orders if you were the commanding general and you had unlimited governmental
support back home in the states?
- For the 58,000 who lost their lives in Vietnam what is their legacy? What do
you tell their families and veterans who still harbor resentment and mental
The Writer's Connection SM is a free publication.
If you want to continue to receive this Newsletter, you
SUBSCRIBE by clicking here or by sending a blank email
message to firstname.lastname@example.org
with the words SUBSCRIBE TO THE WRITER'S CONNECTION
in the subject line.
To UNSUBSCRIBE click here or send a message to
email@example.com with the word UNSUBSCRIBE THE
WRITER'S CONNECTION in the subject line.
Be assured your name and email address are confidential.
We do not sell, rent or share our mailing list with anyone.
Keith Barton, Ph.D.
(c) Copyright 2010 A. Keith Barton, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
The Writer's Connection SMis copyrighted, but
you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish
as long as not a single word is changed, added, or deleted,
including the contact information. However, you may not
copy it to a web site.
Republication of The Writer's ConnectionSM
in paper media is encouraged and permitted by individuals,
organizations and associations, as long as the issue is
reprinted in its entirety, without change, and includes
the contact information.
With advance permission, we are happy to edit an issue
to fit your space requirements. Republication also is
encouraged under other circumstances. However, the advance
permission of A. Keith Barton, Ph.D. must be obtained
in the event that changes in the text are desired.
The Writer's Connection SM Mission:
The Writer's Connection SM is dedicated to
helping first-time authors create their first manuscript
for publication and to offer an exchange of ideas and
opinions from our readers who might be interested in becoming
The Writer's Connection is a publication of The Virtual
Writing Coach and Keith Barton, Ph.D. and a registered
We would like The Writer's Connection SM to
be as interactive as possible. If you have feedback, comments,
topics you would like addressed, or can suggest additional
resources to benefit us all, please email us at any time.
Send your e-mail to
Please forward this issue to anyone you think would find
The Writer's Connection SM interesting and
beneficial. Your recommendation helps us keep growing,
and ensures an excellent exchange of information and techniques.
You can read previous issues of The Writer's Connection
SM in our archive section.
About Keith Barton, Ph.D.
Dr. Barton received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University
of Texas at Austin and has been a practicing therapist
for over thirty years. He is currently enrolled in MentorCoach
and is accepting new clients.
He has been an adjunct professor at the University of
South Carolina, consultant to Fortune 500 companies in
executive development, founded and managed Texas Community
Living Ventures, Inc., in 1986 for providing group home
services to persons with mental retardation. Keith founded
and has been running a clinical practice in Northwest
Houston since 1990.
He writes part-time with the goal of completing one novel
a year. His desire to coach others derives from his passionate
interest in helping others become attuned to their creative
powers of storytelling.
Dr. Barton has training in coaching, cognitive and family
therapy and health psychology. He has published articles,
made presentations and conducted workshops about:
Anxiety and achievement
The relationship between psychology and spirituality
|Get Keith's Latest Book
Retirement Is For Sissies: Or
How I Survived My Job