- N. N. Light
Lines in the Sand: An American Soldier’s Personal Journey is a Binge-Worthy Festival pick #memoir
Title: Lines in the Sand: An American Soldier’s Personal Journey in Iraq
Author: F. Scott Service
For F. Scott Service, a five-minute phone call one peaceful morning was all it took. Faced with the terrible dichotomy of his moral opposition to war and an innate sense of duty, little did he realize that when he was called for deployment in Iraq that his would be the journey of a lifetime.
A tour of duty destined to change him forever.
Witnessing the violence of a country ravaged by chaos and facing the disintegration of his life back home, his sojourn in Iraq forced him to fight a new battle, a battle within himself. What had once been a noble intention became a desperate struggle to salvage what was left of his humanity, an excursion into the darkest recesses of the human mind that ultimately led him to question everything he had come to believe.
Pushed to the edge, only then would he discover what lay within.
Author F. Scott Service recounts his wartime experience within an artfully lyrical epistolary composition. Transcribed from his handwritten journals, Lines in the Sand is a powerful exercise in self-exploration amid heart-wrenching loss and anguish.
Watch the book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pzr0hQuiMU
Top told us this morning while we were at formation that more than 23 mortar rounds came into the camp last night. That’s quite a bit for one sortie but it didn’t seem different from any other day. I’m not sure where most of them hit, but I do know there were a number of explosions close to me and a few landed in the field next to us. One went right over Malcolm. It freaked him out pretty good.
Today has been quiet so far, but rumor has it that an attack is impending. It’s sure to get worse before we leave. And they are getting more accurate. The longer I stay, the more I am pushing my luck. Maybe someday soon my ticket will be up and I’ll win the “lucky lottery” and go home in a plastic bag. It makes me feel sick to my stomach to think that all I have to do is take a leak at the latrine and BAM—that’s it, lights out, my thoughts and memories scattered like leaves in the wind.
Maybe a mortar will just land on me while I’m smoking a cigarette or working on a helicopter.
Maybe I won’t even know it.
Maybe I won’t feel it.
Or maybe I will.
“This place sets you on edge all the time,” a buddy once told me. “It’s the all-encompassing underlying stress of potential death, day in and day out, that I’m completely fatigued by.”
And he’s right. The incessant, unrelenting fear of when, not if, you are going to die is what wears you utterly to the bone.
I’ve found that my entire lifestyle here revolves around mortar attacks. What I used to think of as normal moments and activities are slowly being interpreted by my brain as nothing more than a distraction from the attacks. I’m grasping at tiny moments to provide me with some sense of security in this abysmal situation—going to the hangar, drinking coffee in the morning, thinking that it might be fun to build another shelf for my hovel—it’s become critical to have these fleeting moments of not being afraid, and yet the shrieks and explosions of incoming mortars are steadily establishing themselves as the new normal of my life.
I just need my luck hold out.
That’s all it is—survival.
But a feeling of resignation has crept into me and taken root. I shrug my shoulders when an attack happens now—why bother worrying about it? If it’s my destiny to die over here, then so be it. The sadness will be over and I won’t have to worry about a life in the States that could have been. I won’t have to worry about career choices and life insurance and what to have for dinner or whether I will have a wife to come home to.
I worked on the next newsletter today. I interviewed some guys from the unit and took a few photos. I’ve resolved myself to getting as much done as quickly as I can. It keeps me focused on something other than death.
What’s going on at home is still constantly on my mind. I haven’t heard from her. I have no idea what’s going on with her.
Well, you know what, I love you.
No matter what happens, I always will.
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What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?
Tom o’Vietnam by Baron Wormser. I simply couldn’t put it down because I felt as if the author was completely in my mind, speaking my voice, the voice of a veteran. I heard myself, felt myself in those pages. It’s an amazing piece of fiction from someone who never served in the military.
What makes your featured book a binge-worthy read?
I think, I hope, that it’s binge-worthy because it will shed some authentic light into an experience that was life changing for me. I hope it provides some enlightenment as to why war is wrong and the devastating consequences it can have. I hope it moves people’s hearts and shows them a broader perspective of the world around us.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US account to win.
Runs August 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on September 1.
A former sergeant with the Army National Guard, Scott is an award-winning, full-time author. His first memoir, Lines in the Sand: An American Soldier’s Personal Journey in Iraq, is a transcription of the handwritten journals he kept during his tour of duty and details not only the turmoil of war, his divorce, but how he became a conscientious objector. It has been awarded a Readers’ Favorite Five-Star rating and a Pacific Book Review Star for a memoir of excellent merit.
His second, Playing Soldier, takes on a broader scope capturing his lifelong journey of unlearning expectation, celebrating individuality, and nourishing self-acceptance once buried by cultural stamps of approval and societal convention. It has won the IndieReader Discovery Award for Memoir. It was also awarded Finalist in the 2021 National Indie Excellence Awards for New Nonfiction and in the Book Excellence Awards for Memoir.
Having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional/Technical Communication and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, he has also had experience with editing, journalism, and desktop publishing.
He lives in New England and you may connect with him at: www.fscottservice.com
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