One of my very first posts, way back in the unenlightened days of April 2009, was about the art objects crafted by World War I’s unfortunate grunts. Since then, I’ve always kept an eye peeled for the artwork of combat soldiers, which is often formed in the most desperate and uncomfortable of circumstances. I love this idea of creative energy acting as a bulwark against, for lack of a better word, insanity.
A great example, which I cite in the upcoming book, is the genre of short timers’s calendars from Vietnam. When someone had just a few monts to go on their tour, they often made a hand-drawn calendar on which they could mark off their remaining days “in country,” one by one. Many were lewd and crude, or at least on the risque side of things. (A large-scale NSFW favorite here.) Others were just wholesomely cartoonish, or dare I say informative. All exuded a certain gallows humor that only men who’ve witnessed terrible carnage can understand in full.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers. See you back here on Monday, hopefully with another 4,000 words of book copy beneath my belt.
(Image via Letters to Larry)