World War Fascination

World Wars I & II were unique. After hundreds of years, humanity was faced with a war on a scale that nobody had ever experienced. And this happened twice within 30 years.

Much changed between WWI and WWII, so each time, different generations and different groups of people were affected.

WWII seems to be the war that most remember, possibly because we are closer in time to this tragic war than WWI. But it’s also possible because the atrocity seemed so much worse the second time around. Soldiers who had fought enemies, hunger, and sickness had come home from WWI, and then their sons were sent to the front. The loss of life was still so fresh in everybody’s minds, and it was happening again. And then there was the Holocaust (although not many knew of these horrific crimes until the war ended.)

Is one war worse than another? Is the first time harder because you have no clue what’s happening, or is the second time harder because you do know what’s happening?

Today’s generations seem to have a fascination with this tumultuous time period. Movies  come out every year about one war or the other (War Horse, Boy in the Striped Pajamas, etc) and books cover the topic extensively, from the politics to the widows to the POW camps. We even examine the propaganda from this time period. This topic has so much depth to it that one can never know everything about it. Each family experienced something different, each widow had a different grief, and every single politician had a different theory.

The Lanzis I shows what life was like for an Italian family who experienced both wars and the fascist governments, and still had to live their daily lives. A young boy comes of age, a mother learns new lessons every day.

What stories do you have to share about WWI, WWII, or any even during that time period? Do you have stories from your grandparents or aunts and uncles? Or do you just read about this period a lot? What books or movies particularly resonate with you?

Share

A Passage

1917 

Luisa Lanzi had just begun to prepare their meager daily meal when suddenly, around noon, the Austro-Hungarian quick-fire batteries started hammering the town, plunging over fifteen hundred shells onto it in a matter of minutes.

At the first blast, her thought went to her son Riccardo, who was fighting in the nearby Piave Line. Then, as the explosions seemed to get closer to her house, she grabbed her nine-year-old son Lorenzo by the hand and raced toward the concrete stairway, calling to her husband while running. “Roberto, Roberto, where are you?”

“Run!”

Between the blasts, she kept calling. Calling and praying, while sheltering her young son with her body from the avalanche of falling debris that rolled down the stairs. They lay tightly in the far corner, shuddering at every blast. At last, there was a deafening explosion,  and the house collapsed over them in a dreadful crash. The acrid smell of cordite and the dense cloud of dust filled every pore  of her body, while the vision of death almost paralyzed her. Oddly, in her state of bewilderment, she found herself considering whether she was alive or dead. Then she was suddenly aware that something budged under her body. “Lorenzo,” she cried, coughing dust. “Lorenzo,” she repeated in astonishment, “we are alive; we are alive.” She began to crawl out from under the stairway and over the wreckage, pulling her son behind her, his face a mask of dust lined by two streaks of tears.

Desperately, she called to her husband again, as her bloodied hands lifted the rubble nad pieces of shattered furniture. “Roberto… Roberto!”

No answer ever came back to console her in her desperation.

Share

WWII Books and Movies

When entire generations grew up during the 2 biggest wars in history, pop culture was changed. This terrifying time period became the background to so many novels and movies, it’s almost impossible to name them all.

However, these movies and books do show younger generations what kind of horror their grandparents went through.

Here are a few books and movies that revealed WWI and WWII to younger generations.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl: Either due to the youth of Anne or the horror and honesty of the events she went through, this book never fails to capture an audience. It shows the life of a young Jewish girl as she goes into hiding with her family to avoid the Nazi’s. She faces the worries most young girls face, and then is thrown into a completely different and dark world.

 

 

 

Flags of Our Fathers: This New York Times bestseller is about the five marines who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, after the most horrifying naval battles. From Wikipedia The book follows the lives of the six flag-raisers through their early lives of innocence, military training, fierce combat and afterward, when they were sent on tours to raise money for war bonds.

Saving Private Ryan: This may be the best known WWII movie out there, and for a good reason. Not only does the film capture the horror of the landing on Normandy beaches, but the terror of losing your family and loved ones during the war.

Share

Writing Fiction

Fiction is one of the most difficult genres to write. A good story can be ruined with poor characters or terrible dialogue, and a boring plot is a surefire way to kill a book before it’s even begun.

Maybe writing a book starts as a hobby, or something to fill your time, but so many people pour their heart into writing. Years of hard work go into these books. So it’s important to research and practice your craft.

Here are a couple of tips on writing fiction.

1) Plot

Having a good plot can mean different things to different people, depending on your preferred genre. Those who love historical fiction may despise romance. But whatever genre you are writing, make sure your plot has something exciting that sets it apart from all of the other books out there. Follow the age old map- introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution.

What’s important to remember is making sure the plot isn’t too complicated. If there are too many twists and turns, the reader will become confused.

2) Characters

When writing a character, they should be realistic and relate-able. To be clear, realistic doesn’t mean normal. It just means their reactions to situations should be realistic. If you’re creating a character who is raised in a peaceful, loving family, violence would be a shock to him or her.

3) Research

This one is easy, but time consuming. If you’re going to be specific about something, make sure it’s accurate. If you are writing a historical fiction, make sure to note that you’ve taken liberties with characters and their histories. Research is a catch-22: you can find the facts, but it doesn’t mean they’re true. This means double check everything on Wikipedia.

4) Dialogue

One of the hardest things to get right is dialogue. You want it to sound realistic, not forced. A simple way to check this is to speak as you write the dialogue. Or, if you have a really good friend, talk through the situation with him and see how he would react.

5) Editing

No matter how many times you re-read something, that doesn’t mean it’s right. Have as many people read the book as possible. If you can, get a professional to edit the book.

Of course these aren’t the only tips. You can easily find professionals on Twitter, and of course a simple internet search will turn up hundreds of tips. These are just the quick and simple.

Share

THE LANZIS I: The boundless shades of life

The Lanzis I, is the story of a courageous family. It takes you from the period that followed WWI, during the time of the rise of Fascism, up to and including WWII and the liberation of Italy by the Americans. This litterary novel bursts with reality; it is beautiful, painful and remorseless. Well known events are seen through new eyes, in an original and refreshingly appealing way. The story portrays ‘real’ people as they are seldom characterized in North American litterature.
The Lanzis, chronicles a proud family who resist the pressure of an autocratic Regime. It also depicts the poignant story of a young boy, sexually coming of age; his innocence set against the backdrop of the war.

Share