One of the things that I want to do before I die is write a book.

The thing about books is that they’re really long.  And anything that is longer than a blog post is typically too long for me (that’s what she said, of course).


Another problem is that books typically require a plot, and I’m really bad at developing a plot.  Or at least a good one.

But this post isn’t really about me.  It’s about my friend.

I went to college with Jena.  We had a few English classes together, but reconnected a little over a year ago, when I saw her at a bar at the Jersey shore.  Recently, she started a blog, where she crushes* that thing called “writing.”

*”Crushes,” like, in a good way.

She recently bestowed upon me the great honor of being one of the first people to read her unpublished manuscript — her grandfather’s memoirs during his time in the Navy during World War II.

It is a story about character, and not just the character of her grandfather, Steiny, and how it was tested by the war.  Other, unexpected, characters reveal their looming presence throughout the stories.  Characters like the Pacific Ocean.  Characters like the Gear (Steiny’s ship).  And other, painfully distant characters, like home.

After I read it, I told Jena that I really wanted to meet her grandfather.  Timing hasn’t really worked out, though, and I haven’t been granted that privileged yet.

But in a lot of ways, I’ve already met him.

Go buy this book.  It is really good.  Jena did a fantastic job, and I am very proud of her.

And kinda jealous.  My hands are hurting, just from writing this short post.  I’m not sure if I’ll even have enough stamina to sign my name at the end.

Codename: Sob Story: The Tale of a Picket Line Sailor During WWII

-Youngman Brown

0 thoughts on “YMB Recommends: Codename Sob Story

  1. Thank you Youngman 🙂

    And you will meet him soon enough as he will be moving to our “little town” in a few weeks. I think you owe him a game of poker 🙂

  2. The World War II book sounds interesting.

    I've never written a book, although I have succeeded with a couple of work-related chapters in someone else's book. I'm currently trying to write one of my own, but don't hold your breath!

  3. Thanks for the recommendation, Mike. It reminds me that I have an old (nearly indecipherable) journal from my grandfather from WWII.

    As well, I interviewed a Tucson author about her writing process but neglected to ask about stamina. She did have some cool things to say about other aspects of the writing process. You can watch it here if you like

  4. My best friend is my timer. I set it for 30 minutes at a time and just write. Twice a day if I can. It's amazing how much writing you can do in 30 minutes.

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