It’s been an amazing weekend. I owe much of my research skills and plots to other writers, bookstores, and libraries. It is on the wisdom of others that my words make my worlds. I have written before of my friend and kindred spirit, Linda Roller, Airbnb owner and bookstore owner of Liberty Bookshop in Avis, Pennsylvania. On a recent visit, I mentioned researching Viet Nam for the sequel to Tides of Blue. In her amazing ability to choose the right book I need each time, Linda said, “I have the book for you.” She handed me a memoir of Viet Nam by a local gentleman, Walt Steinbacher.
I am 63. My memories of Viet Nam lie within Walter Cronkite reports remembered from childhood, movies, books, and television shows. I am fortunate that my brother missed going to Nam. When it came time to research Viet Nam for the upcoming book, Currents of Blue, it was difficult to find ‘just the right book’ to answer questions and build my character of John Nelson Black. Most Viet Nam vets I have met are reticent to talk about their memories. I respect this. Walt’s memoir Point Man Up is the perfect book to answer my questions. His writing of the war is not sugar-coated. It is written with the memory and intensity of being one of the cogs in the wheel to keep himself and the other soldiers alive fighting in Viet Nam.
On this visit to Avis, I had the honor and privilege to meet and talk with Walt. As Linda describes, Walt is a Roman candle in this world. This gentleman is lit from within and openly shares his memories of Viet Nam and life. Walt’s philosophy on life is that he wants to do more good for the human race. He spoke on how we need to be kinder and gentler in this world and honor everyone. I am deeply honored to have had a few hours to speak with Walt, and I look forward to talking with him again.
Point Man UP: One Marine’s Memories of Vietnam is available at: