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Monday, January 14, 2013

A Piece of My Heart

Have you ever read a book that stays with you?  Even weeks after finishing the book something pops back in your mind and your recall a certain passage or scene or story?  That is what happened to me after I read A Piece of My Heart by Keith Walker. This isn’t even something I would normally pick up to read. I like fiction and can’t remember a non-fiction story I read prior to this one.  Actually, I should clarify. I do read nonfiction but for research or travel, not for entertainment or to escape as with fiction.   I certainly wasn’t reading this for research because the most recent war my characters are likely to encounter is the Civil War, which will be referenced in a series that won’t be published for over a year from now.

A Piece of My Heart is about twenty-six women who served in Vietnam as nurses, entertainers, intelligence, USO, Red Cross and other areas.  They each tell their own story of where they were in their life prior to going to Vietnam and how they came to be there. They told of the experiences in Vietnam and the aftermath when they returned home. I lost count of how many times I cried because the stories are so emotional and moving.   

As with all wars and conflicts, where we have troops fighting, there are medical personnel ready to care for the injured.  I am sure you all remember the television show M*A*S*H which was set during the Korean War.  Or some of you may remember China Beach, set during Vietnam. We don’t hear much about the nurses and the doctors, only about the conflicts and those fighting (unless I missed it on the news), yet their roles are not any less significant. At least to me.

I became fascinated with the lives of women in war, especially the nurses we hear so little about.  This interest has been there for a very long time though, just sitting in the back of my brain waiting to be reignited and probably why I bought the book in the first place.  I was hooked on China Beach which aired from 1988 – 1991 and I am pretty sure they have not shown reruns.  I can’t even get a DVD set (I looked after reading A Piece of My Heart).  But, what I did find was a script for A Piece of My Heart written by Shirley Lauro.  The script is wonderful and I could see it play out in my mind as I read it.

Besides the normal fiction on my shelves and in my Kindle, I also read plays.  Sometimes they grab me and I can’t wait to see it performed. A Piece of My Heart was like that and not only did I want to see it performed. I wanted to direct it.  So, back in October I submitted this play to one of the local theaters. It is a winter playhouse and performed in the round.  This is the very venue I pictured the production being performed.  In December I learned that the play had been chosen and a year from now (yes a long time, I know), I will be directing A Piece of My Heart.  I also just found out a high school will be performing it in February.  As I haven’t seen it, I will be taking a three hour drive to see the production.  I’ve never done that for a high school show ever.  The only time I’ve ever driven three hours was to see a professional show in Chicago.  But, I want to see A Piece of My Heart that badly.

Have you ever read something that stays with you? Has there ever been a book you want to see performed on either the stage or in a movie? 

Jane Charles
also writing as Amy De Trempe

12 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Jane! I find directing fascinating. It's storytelling using so many tools. I hope the experience is wonderful for you!

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    1. Deb,

      I am looking forward to the experience and will probably be planning for the next several months as I think about the set, lighting, costumes, etc.

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  2. That's great, Jane! Congratulations!!! One book that has stayed with me for a long time is "I Know This Much is True" by Wally Lamb. I couldn't put it down and it's such a good story. I could definitely see it as a movie.

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    1. Thanks, Samantha. I don't think I have read "I Know This Much is True". I will have to pick it up.

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  3. That's so exciting, Jane! Congratulations on getting to direct this piece that speaks to you so clearly. :)

    I've always been a huge fan of Larry McMurtry's books, all the way since I was in middle school. I particularly love all of his westerns, like Lonesome Dove. Now, many of these have already been made in to TV miniseries, and some of his contemporary books have been made into Hollywood movies...but the one that has never left me, and that I'm dying to see somewhere is Anything For Billy.

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    1. Catherine, I am ashamed to admit that I haven't read any of Larry McMurtry's books, but I have seen Lonesome Dove. I'll need to find "Anything for Billy" and add it to the stack with Samantha's recommendation.

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    2. It's a fictionalized account of part of Billy the Kid's life. Great reading. :)

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  4. I was really moved by Same Kind of Different as Me. Nothing like bawling like a baby while on a plane, lol. It was such a beautiful story though, all true, about a wealthy couple befriending a homeless man and how it changed both their lives.
    Congrats on your directing!

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    1. Erin, I am quickly learning I have missed a lot of books that I should be reading. I will add it to the list as well but will note to read it in the privacy of my home with a box of tissue handy.

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  5. I love fiction, non-fiction and biographies. I like to mix it up that way and I feel like I'm constantly learning. I just finished reading "The Uninvited Guests" by Sadie Jones. It's what I suppose is called dark humor but I can honestly say I couldn't put it down. I found myself chewing my nails and looking at the pages in horror. Very different to say the least. I would be curious to see what others say about it. I won't be forgetting that book for awhile yet. Not sure if I feel it should be made into a movie.

    I enjoyed reading the book "The Help." I found it to be fantastic. However, the movie was a total letdown. I don't feel that it portrayed what the author was trying to get across in the book.

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    1. Connie,

      That is always my fear when a book is made into a movie, that it won't be as good. I always try to read the book when there is a movie I want to see. But, now I wonder if I am better off not having read the book and maybe the movie would be better. I might have to try that and see.

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  6. I absolutely loved "Blessed are the Cheesemakers" and yet, I have never been able to entice anyone of my friends or family into reading it. To make up for it, I've read the book four times. :)

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