This autumn, I was honored to be a featured reader at the historic Janice Holt-Giles House in Adair County, Kentucky as part of the â€œKentuckians Reading Kentuckiansâ€ festival. The event took place on September 17. No, Iâ€™m not from Kentucky, but I was invited to participate due to my ties to the area.
That same week, local Adair County resident Dakota Meyer became the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in nearly 40 years. President Obama presented him with his Medal of Honor on September 15.
To honor that historic event, changed my original reading selection from Tracks and decided to read an excerpt from the story â€œFreedom.â€
â€œFreedomâ€ is a story from Tracks about a soldier who returns home after a tour in Afghanistan for some R&R before his tour in Iraq.Â He has not escaped the warâ€”it wages in his mind and in his interactions with those he loves most.
Hereâ€™s an excerpt:
Even with all the people around him on the train, Joe was alone.
Memories of Wu, McMurphey, Manning, and Biâ€™nh echoed in his
mind the way the train echoed when it passed through a dark tunnel.
There had been the good parts to the visit: holding her, loving her,
her face nestled against his chest, his lips on the warm part in her
silky black hair. Still, something had died between them during this
visit as surely as his friends had died at his side in Afghanistan.
Learn more about the Janice Holt-Giles House and the Kentuckians Reading Kentuckians festival, visit the Giles Society website.
Read about Dakota Meyers in Kentucky Magazine.
Learn more about Meyers and the Medal of Honor at CBS.
An early, alternate version of the story â€œFreedomâ€ was serialized in the monthly newsletter Coloquio, and then republished in serial form at Gather. Begin installment one at the link below.
Or read the final version of â€œFreedomâ€ in Tracks, available in print and online!
Eric D. Goodman, Books Correspondent
Eric’s column, Lit Bit, is published every week to Gather Essentials: Books.Â Featuring bits on writing, writers, books, and literature, Lit Bit will fulfill your literary longings.
Eric is a full-time writer and editor.Â His work has appeared in a number of periodicals, including The Washington Post, The Baltimore Review, Writers Weekly, The Arabesques Review, The Pedestal Magazine, The Potomac, JMWW, Freshly Squeezed, Scribble, Slow Trains, Whatever Literary Journal, Smile Hon Youâ€™re In Baltimore, Read Street, On Stage Magazine, Four-Cornered Universe, To Be Read Aloud, Neck of My Guitar, Travel Insights, Coloquio, and New Lines from the Old Line State: An Anthology of Maryland Writers.
Learn about Eric’s full-color, hardcover childrens’ book Flightless Goose.
Listen to Eric read the following stories on The Signal, a program on the Baltimore-DC NPR station, WYPR: