Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Great stories on family - Warren about C.J. Chivers & Joe Posnanski about his daughter

Two pieces of writing I've read fairly recently and keep thinking on both deal with family and our interactions with and what we do for our children.

The one that's directly on the subject is by Joe Posnanski with "An Evening Drive" posted to his personal website. About the writer with his 14 year-old daughter, it's great stuff that brings to mind past blog posts from Posnanski on his daughters like "I Hope You’re Happy With Your Husband" and "Katie the Prefect."

The other piece to note here is "Why the Best War Reporter in a Generation Had to Suddenly Stop" by Mark Warren for Esquire. It's written about a writer I've a few times linked to pieces by in C.J. Chivers and while the entire feature by Warren a fascinating one, the part that gets me is about what led Chivers to walking away from the incredibly dangerous task of war reporting...

"Before leaving for his last trip to Iraq last year, he and Suzanne and two of their sons were sitting around the dinner table playing pitch when one of his boys started to itch terribly. He was suddenly covered in hives from head to toe. They called the family doctor, who was puzzled because he could find no clear medical reason for the hives. There was no indication of an infection, and the hives didn't resemble the kind caused by allergy. A couple days later, Chivers left on his trip to Iraq. It was to be a short assignment—three weeks or so. While there, he spoke regularly with Suzanne, who said their son's rash had not gone away. Then, on the day he arrived home, the hives disappeared, suddenly and completely.

Chivers consulted the doctor, who told him that the rash was almost certainly an autoimmune miscue and was probably caused by terror. His son had been afraid for his father's life.

'A switch went off at that moment for me. You know...I mean, I realized I couldn't do that to him. And for a few weeks, I quietly argued with myself about this and tried to find a way to mentally, to see if I could get the switch back into its old position. I remember lying in bed night after night saying, I think that's it. I think I'm done.'

Chivers talked to his brother, also a former Marine, and he said, 'If your kid's sick and you know the medicine that will heal him, do you withhold it?'"