There’s no getting around it, Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) is real and has affected soldiers of various wars. In his latest book, Dancer & Other Tattered Threads of PTSD Lives: After the Wars, author T. Patrick Devlin has taken the challenges of PTSD for veterans and conveyed them into three short stories.
Although the stories are fictional, Devlin does not approach these challenges in a stereotypical manner. Instead, in the short stories, Dad’s TV, Dancer, and Roadkill the author brings clear insight into the lives of veterans, their family members and others who interact with them.
In Dad’s TV, Devlin gives the reader a first-hand account of a son dealing with the effects PTSD has on his father, a World War II veteran. Set in the 1950s, Dad separates himself from his family by means of his new television set:
To be honest, at no time did Dad ever seem quite right. There was no real normal for him. He hadn’t totally adjusted. I suppose that it was still too soon after the war. He was silent, remote and constantly appeared to crave distractions and diversions. He avoided any possibility of interaction with his kids. The TV set was just one of those diversions. However, in our house, it cemented the separation. The screaming audio and visual imperatives to pay full attention to it and to ignore every other living thing on the planet, were totally effective.
In Dancer, a dog is rescued from an abusive experience and is taken to a safe home. Yet, Dancer is having a hard time adjusting to her new environment:
Dancer was in another new place. She had been traumatized by the experience of being imperfectly rescued from the agony of her mistreatment as a puppy. She had experienced some time when she was in a safer place, but the wounds to her little brain were probably only being cauterized and not successfully identified and soothed from the damage that had already been done. In her internal desperation to find refuge from her harassed existence, she clung to Arianna like frost on a pane of glass. Our eldest daughter, though, was not in a position to be a healer. She was already burdened by the usual household duties as well as the advanced coursework of her university studies. The chances for the dog to improve were further compromised by the two male members of the family who were seemingly indifferent to the dog’s presence. They were also, most likely, an unpleasant connection to Dancer’s memory of the past.
A Korean War veteran-turned sheriff of a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the main character in Roadkill. Trying to solve one of the biggest crimes the town has ever seen while staving off loneliness and keeping his composure after reliving the nightmares of war are not easy tasks for the ex-Marine:
During the rehabilitation of the lodge, Dukes’ psychological trauma from the war was beginning to heal. The exhaustion from the new job and the fatigue from the labor that he expended on his essential need for shelter, shut out most of the nightmares. As he mended the old lodge, he began to repair the damage caused by the war to his mind while he cautiously reshaped his department.
He took plenty of time to do all three jobs. As a result, he stayed away from marriage. In those few moments of genuine loneliness, he did think of the comfort of having a woman around. “No sane woman would have me” came the instant, unspoken rebuke. The dreams were too violent, too, frequent. When he’d break out from the terrorizing grip of another nightmare dream, he was aware that he was swinging, screaming, or waking up crawling across the floor. “No, this wasn’t something to put a woman through…” he told himself.
Devlin, also author of Redball Mission, engages the reader and places them into the thoughts and feelings of those affected by PTSD. To preview Dancer & Other Tattered Threads of PTSD Lives: After the Wars, go to http://marketingnewauthors.biz/dancer-other-tattered-threads-of-ptsd-lives-after-the-wars/
To read an excerpt from Redball Mission, visit http://manasunriser.blogspot.com/p/redball-mission-by.html. To purchase the book, visit http://marketingnewauthors.biz/redball-mission/