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" A bullet can kill the enemy, but a bullet can also produce an enemy, depending on whom that bullet strikes. "
" A writer's obligation is to invent: to go beyond what did happen and to look at what could have happened but didn't. Fiction writers are born liars. "
" What do you do when you get a draft notice and you think a war is wrong? And I struggled with that for months prior to my being inducted into the army, and I'm still struggling with it, 40 years later. "
" I hated the draft, but at the same time, it's something that made every American take war seriously. "
" I learned that moral courage is harder than physical courage. "
" I carry the memories of the ghosts of a place called Vietnam - the people of Vietnam, my fellow soldiers. "
" A true war story is never moral. "
" In Iraq and Afghanistan, our soldiers signed up intentionally. That's a huge difference from the largely conscripted army of my era. "
" The people in 'July, July' do find themselves looking backward, talking to others and to themselves about those over-the-cliff, fork-in-the-road moments in their lives. I imagine this is what must happen at a 30th college reunion. "
" 'The Things They Carried' is labeled right inside the book as a work of fiction, but I did set out when I wrote the book to make it feel real... I use my own name, and I dedicated the book to characters in the book to give it the form of a war memoir. "
" No matter how wonderful the story, it has to move on something, and that is language. The words that I use, the pace, the rhythm and cadences all need to be there. If they're not there, the story is like a boat that just sits there and doesn't move on the ocean. "
" Sure, best seller. I'd love to knock Stephen King off the top of the list. I know I won't, but, after all, I spend my life inventing a different reality. "
" I received my draft notice right after graduation from college and had three months before going into the Army in September to think about it. "
" In February 1969, 25 years ago, I arrived as a young, terrified PFC on this lonely little hill in Quang Ngai Province. Back then, the place seemed huge and imposing and permanent. "
" If you stop loving someone, did you ever love them? If you say you're committed and later you're not committed, well, was the first thing commitment? You see what I mean? This kind of thing has always interested me. "
" The word war itself has a kind of glazing abstraction to it that conjures up bombs and bullets and so on, whereas my goal is to try to, so much as I can, capture the heart and the stomach and the back of the throat of readers who can lie in bed at night and participate in a story. "
" Everyone acts stupid at some time in order to be loved. "
" We tend to regard history as true and 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' as untrue. That's always puzzled me. "
" I live in my head all day long and the world is a little dreamy. "
" Who do you call a civilian in a guerilla war? I mean, it might be a farmer by day or a merchant, a housewife, and by night the housewife may be helping to make landmines and booby traps and who knows. "
" When writing, I'm not thinking about war, even if I'm writing about it. I'm thinking about sentences, rhythm and story. So the focus, when I'm working, even if it's on a story that takes place at war, is not on bombs or bullets. It's on the story. "
" Fantasy has a dark side to it. It also has a light hemisphere - the power of the human imagination to keep going, to imagine a better tomorrow. "
" It's very hard to articulate the things that are important about writing. "
" My life is storytelling. I believe in stories, in their incredible power to keep people alive, to keep the living alive, and the dead. "
" War is a fundamental aspect of human existence. It's good to know what war entails and what the human sacrifice is. "
" Working as a journalist, I was always tempted to lie. I felt I could do dialogue better than the person I was interviewing. I felt I could lie better than Nixon and be more concise than some random person I was covering. "
" With no draft, the only people who went to war were those who wanted to, or at least those who wanted to join the military. "
" Love, as wonderful and horrible as it is, has at its center a kind of pitiful humor. "
" For me, at least, Vietnam was partly love. With each step, each light-year of a second, a foot soldier is always almost dead, or so it feels, and in such circumstances, you can't help but love. "
" Laughter does not deny pain. Laughter - like a wail - acknowledges and replies to pain. "
" Pinkville was called Pinkville because in the military maps, it was shaded a bright kind of shimmering pink, which signified what was called on the maps a 'built up' area, which was extremely misleading - 'built up' only meant there were little villages and it wasn't just desolate paddy land or unpopulated. "