#WIPpet Wednesday, er, Thursday?: A Taste of War

Here I am doing that thing I sometimes do with posts that are supposed to happen on a particular day, and writing it on the next day, my excuse being I live in one of the earliest time zones in the world, so in most places, it’s still the day before. Mostly because I wanted a particular photo for this week’s WIPpet Wednesday, but it was really one I could only get this morning (it’s the one just below there).

The Australian War Memorial illuminated worn images of Australian servicemen and women at this morning's Dawn Service.

The Australian War Memorial illuminated with images of Australian servicemen and women at this morning’s Dawn Service.

Today is ANZAC Day, the 98th Anniversary of the day the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the beach at Gallipoli and thus became involved in the First World War effort. Though it is the Anniversary of that particular day, it has come to commemorate Australian men and women who have served in all conflicts, past and present. When I’m not writing, I work at the Australian War Memorial, so today is kind of a Big Deal. Sometimes my work can be a bit boring, sometimes it’s gut-wrenching (like when you come across service records with lines like “Cause of death: Slit throat (self-inflicted)”), but most of the time I feel proud that I am helping to tell these stories.

But what does all this have to do worn WIPpet Wednesday? Well, in describing what Cait and particularly Felipe witness while at war in A More Complicated Fairytale, I drew a lot on things I’ve learned at the AWM and I think my writing is all the richer for it. Therefore in honour of ANZAC Day, here are 24 lines (since this post is disguising itself as a Wednesday post and yesterday was the 24th) from a relevant scene in AMCF. Felipe has been at war because every 21-year-old in the Kingdom, princes included, are required to do 12 months of National Service and Cait, realising she maybe likes him a bit more than she’d care to let on, enlists as a nurse. Also, this scene will probably explain why Felipe was walking with a cane in that WIPpet from a few weeks ago. đŸ˜‰ Oh,  and Cait keeps asking patients who come in about Felipe,  which had led to her kind of developing a reputation as a royal family fangirl.

[Felipe] was alternating between attempts at stoicism and raving from pain.  A bandage covered a large section of his torso;  one side of it was blood-soaked,  indicating exactly where his wound was.  Another was wrapped around his left leg.

“Felipe?” Cait whispered. “Felipe,  can you hear me?”

“Someone get her out of here,” the Matron barked angrily. “Caitlin, just because you have some fixation with the prince does not give you any right to -“

The Matron trailed off when she saw  the way Felipe’s hands suddenly gripped Cait’s and his eyes opened, recognition dawning as he focused his gaze on Cait’s face. “Cait?”

“Yes, I’m here.”

He tried to smile, but it came across as more of a wince. “Am I dreaming?” he asked, his grip on her hand tightening.

“No, you’re not.” She squeezed his hand back.

“Then what are you doing here?”

“Well, someone had to come out here to keep an eye on you, didn’t they?”

He gave a small laugh, and then winced again. “I know I’ll be all right now.”

Cait nodded, biting her lip. “You’ll be fine.”

And  with that, I shall leave you, because it is now half pay one and one been awfully procrastinate-y today, so I really should go do some wiring, particularly as my nose hours traveling to Such ney and back only resulted in a few paragraphs. I’ll catch you all later!

~ Emily

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15 thoughts on “#WIPpet Wednesday, er, Thursday?: A Taste of War

  1. ReGi McClain says:

    What a lovely excerpt! And what a lovely picture to go with it. I think this is a perfect WIPpet for the holiday. Although I know everything will be fine eventually, if you left this moment as is (or if I had missed the earlier WIPpet), I would be doubtful of the prince’s survival. Nicely written.

    Like

    • Emily Witt says:

      Thanks, Regi! I was thinking after posting this that I do put Felipe through a lot for the sake of furthering the plot. He deserves his happy ending after everything else!

      Like

  2. Kate Frost says:

    It must be love for Cait to enlist as a nurse and to put herself in a position to witness the horror of war. Very touching scene between the two of them and as ReGi said the perfect choice in honour of ANZAC Day.

    Like

    • Emily Witt says:

      Felipe as much as points this out to Cait later on, though it’s in the middle of an argument and she kind of hates him a bit for pointing it out. Her idea of what the war would be like is quite naive until she gets there but she makes the best of it, since she’s kind of stuck now.

      Like

  3. Raewyn Hewitt says:

    Love your post today. We were at the ANZAC celebrations this morning – even after 98 years it’s still very moving. So interesting that you work at the Australian War Memorial – it’s beautiful. (I did an internship in Canberra many years ago – so good to have an idea where you are)!

    Love the WIPpet too – and that she headed off to war too!

    Like

    • Emily Witt says:

      I had never been to a Dawn Service before moving to Canberra but it is really beautiful. Though we did have a baby screaming not far away from us today which does one of ruin things a bit.

      Like

  4. kathils says:

    I love the bit where the matron is going to kick her out and Felipe wakes up. Ha! Take that! Yes, I said that while I was reading. Okay, maybe it was more of an “in yo face!” but it’s early here and I haven’t had my coffee yet. Well written and a fitting tribute.

    Like

  5. katemsparkes says:

    Your job sounds amazing, even if it is boring at times, and I love that you’ve used that experience in your writing. Makes everything richer, doesn’t it?

    This is a lovely passage. I can see where the matron is coming from (imagine if a big pop star landed in the hospital and a rabid fan was there. Nuh-uh!), but that is a very satisfying moment when the patient indicates that she should bug right off. đŸ™‚

    Like

    • Emily Witt says:

      It really does! I didn’t even really realise I was doing it until the stuff was already written. When I first set out to write the story, I sort of knew there was going to be a war, but didn’t realise how big a part it would play and how much the things I’ve learned would come into play. It’s pretty awesome to see!

      Haha, yes! He is pretty much the closest thing their kingdom has to pop stars, so it’s totally like that!

      Like

  6. Eden says:

    Nothing we do, learn or experience is wasted if we allow ourselves to look at it in the “write” light. (Well, maybe writers and other artists have a bit of a monopoly on this kind of thing, but having more people who experience life as writers and artists, as dreamers do, is sort of my ideal for life.)

    Sounds like you’re making your job work for you as well a you working at it. Your writing clearly is gaining levels. Congrats. And congrats to Cait and Felipe for finding each other alive (if not safe) in a war zone.

    Like

  7. Gloria Weber says:

    I always think of writing something with the influence of something I know very well (like something from my “geeky” side), but I can never get it to work with an idea or get it to gel right. You seem to not be having that problem, so awesome! I hope it keeps going well for you.

    Like

  8. Alana Terry says:

    That is so funny because about five days ago I was reflecting on how many people I now know in New Zealand/Australia and I thought to myself, I wonder when ANZAC day is because wouldn’t it be a surprise to them if I wished them a happy ANZAC day? But I guess that was just wishful thinking. Anyway, happy ANZAC day. Oh, and a Prince actually wounded? Well that’s novel! Usually he gets by without a scratch!!

    Like

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