Remembrance Day makes us think, among others, of soldiers who were also writers, filmmakers, and readers. We’ve heard about days of long boredom and tension between battles, when men and women waited, or worked to recover their health. We imagine them taking time for their passion for story in those calm moments.
They wrote poetry, essays, stories, and letters home. Scrounged film and took movies. And even though work was sometimes lost, or forgotten afterwards in attic boxes, much survives. We think of Tolkien’s son Christopher reading tales of Frodo and the Ring his father sent to him at war, and Gertrude Stein driving ambulance in Paris, and then hosting fellow writers after hours. Did Wilfred Owen read his work aloud to other soldiers?
For those at war who made it home, we imagine their pleasure in returning to firesides, armchairs, and desks to read and write again.