Hope you enjoy the trailer for our new book about the 359th Fighter Group. The book is now available on Amazon!
In December 1943 the newly formed 359th Fighter Group flew its first mission in the European Theater of Operations. Twenty-two months later World War II ended, and in November 1945 the 359th was inactivated, with 346 combat missions and 13,455 sorties to its credit. This collection of mission and POW reports, bar stories, and post-war reflections provides a first-hand account of life on base, in the air, and going on leave in war-time England, as recounted by the 359th’s pilots, officers, and enlisted men.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
For a moment let’s not consider
the beauty of the mallard
paddling, paddling on the lake.
Overlook her iridescent shawl
shimmering green like a silk kimono;
ignore her resplendent composure
as she drifts in splendor
like Cleopatra’s barge.
Disregard her breast, chestnut hued,
a mahogany bib,
and think nothing of her hind-feathers
like soft gray cumulus clouds.
Concentrate instead on the wake,
the silver trail left behind
as she’s paddling, paddling on the lake.
Take note of reflections,
the expanse of water, the trees,
bordering the water. The sky—
and its reflection.
Now, close your eyes
and consider the beauty
of the bird itself
The origin of the word jinx isn’t clear, but there’s speculation that it might come from iynx, a wryneck bird that’s able to twist its head around 180 degrees while hissing like a snake. Historically, the poor bird has also been used for divination and magic. Steaming entrails, I assume. It’s not good to be an iynx.
As a writer, I often emulate an iynx. My head spins regularly, plus I’m rather good at hissing. Fortunately, my entrails have thus far remained where they belong, though in honor of all things macabre we could pause to discuss evisceration in more detail. But I digress…
I sometime wonder whether I’ve jinxed myself by doing or not doing certain things, though I hope I’ll never act like certain baseball players whose actions often amuse and sometimes irritate me. Let’s see, before I touch the keyboard I need to spit, adjust my right sleeve, wipe my forehead, tug on the brim of my baseball cap, wipe my forehead again, tug the brim one more time, then inhale and exhale slowly. Whew! Now it’s safe to start writing! Right? Maybe not.
But I do have a few superstitions. (Don’t worry, no steaming entrails.) One of my superstitions is that if I’m in query mode, I want to have at least eight queries out. For me, eight is luckier than three or seven. Does that make me feel as if I’m in control? Yes. Isn’t that good, especially when there’s so much we can’t control in this crazy business?
How about you? Do superstitions influence your writing day?