“Leading to the mountains were four klicks of level paddy. The mountains jerked straight out of the rice; beyond those mountains and other mountains was Paris. The tops of the mountains could not be seen for the mist and clouds. Everywhere the war was wet.”
Going After Cacciato, Tim O’Brien 1978
I grew up during the Vietnam War. I was not a big fan. I applied for conscientious objector status twice and was rejected both times. Luckily I was draft age at the tail end of the war. My older brothers escaped because of student deferments. Everyone at that time seemed to be involved in the war somehow. For or against, families being split up, sons and brothers being sent off, protests. I was suspended from school for lowering the flag on the school grounds when the Kent State shootings happened. This book, then and still now, captures the absurdity of some of the circumstances and also the surrealism of fighting in the middle of the jungle. This is a different depiction of the war – falling through the tunnels, flying off cliffs. Dealing with death in a way that makes your mind decide to walk to Paris in the middle of the war. The book jumps from time periods to places and my painting is jumping from rice paddies to jungles to Paris all within a very mixed up frame of reference.