About Daniel C. Lavery

Dan’s writing shows his transformation from a child to an athlete and a Duke pre-ministerial student where he began to question ancient and arbitrary dogma. He graduated from Annapolis, navigated a Navy jet, and a ship to Vietnam, fell in love, turned peace activist and a civil rights lawyer for Cesar Chavez's UFW. His memoir, "All the Difference," describes the experiences, some humorous and others deadly, that changed his consciousness from a pawn to an advocate crusading for justice against some of the most powerful forces in America.

Whose history are we really talking about?

 

 

That question requires us to focus on where we came from, our history, and everyone else's. We have all learned some form of history from different teachers in school, from books, and from the media. The history many of us grew up with involved powerful kings, queens, wars, governments, and the development of parliamentary democracy with some historical and romantic novels. But for the British, for example, when England leaves the Catholic Church in 1534 major changes occurred after Henry the VIII that changed how we approach the subject.

 
 

By the time some of us entered a university our perspective began really changing. Marxism had arrived bringing a heightened attention to the arc of class and economics. The Russians with the horrendous record of brutal killing under Stalin suddenly became our ally against the vicious Nazi regime Hitler led in a world that featured three fascist countries against what we called loosely “the free world”. Many treatises on history have helped to revolutionize our view of the past, but surely began filling up with depth from new historical knowledge that modified what simplistic patriotism taught our children about such issues as slavery, racism, and war and how we were exceptional.

 
 

After WWII things drastically changed and our military industrial complex with the aid of the CIA launched a series of military actions that were far from helping build up weaker countries. Supporting unpopular dictators because third world countries might lean towards communism, like in Vietnam brought us into a war of choice built on a lie that two of our Navy Destroyers were attacked on the high seas by North Vietnamese torpedo boats when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unraveled the truth. We had provoked the attack the night before by sending Norwegian fast boats with Vietnamese crews attacking North Vietnamese torpedo boats while U.S. Navy ships bombarded them from the ocean!

 
 

(Fulbright Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings on Vietnam )

 

Soon we were involved in a widespread peace movement, nearly one half million deserters, draft dodgers, and our President Nixon carried on a secret B-52 bombing campaign into neutral Cambodia followed by an invasion he called a “protective reaction!” A few days later the nation responded with a series of loud protests around the country from thousands of colleges and with anti-war veterans’ groups expressing their outrage at Nixon’s expanding an unpopular war. When five students were killed and nine injured by national guards at Kent State, the numbers of protestors dramatically increased as did the rhetoric of the Nixon Administration attacking the protestors as slime. Christian Appy’s American Reckoning is one of only a few histories of the Vietnam War that describes how it ended America’s exceptionalism-the broad faith that the U.S. is a unique force for good in the world-for most people and had a profound effect on our national identity.

 
 

Another force connected with women involved half the population followed by equally powerful questions about race and racism. The idea of history as a procession of dead white males written by live ones may sound ridiculous now, but the war to open up a wider perspective was a real one. So writers of history began demonstrating different point of emphasis and views. Soon the teaching of science and engineering became increasingly important.

 
 

All exposes the current assault on the humanities within higher education as even more uncultured. The thinking goes like this: the study of history, English, philosophy or art doesn't help anyone get a job and does not contribute to the economy to the same degree that science or engineering or business studies do. I believe most of us say that is nonsense and obfuscation.

 

(My Lai Massacre killed 500 Vietnamese lives of unarmed men, women, children and babies)

 

The humanities, including history, teach people how to think analytically while at the same time appreciating innovation and creativity. Isn't that a good set of skills for most jobs? Yet we have a Black population clearly left behind even after a vigorous civil rights movement under Martin Luther King Jr, and those who followed his lead with a variety of militant and peaceful organizations that led to civil rights amendments to the Constitution and civil rights laws involving anti-discrimination in schools, employment and police interactions.

 
 

One could wish that the historians were all more accurate. Why would some dare doubt climate change when the science has established it’s truth as one of our most serious problems? Toni Morrison brought to life the inner life of slavery, and pushed the modern reader to confront this reality. Another confronted the same difficult history from a white woman's perspective. One memoir produces anti-war feelings from the righteous revulsion against gross misuse of power. Another accuses those who cringe at the horrors of Hiroshima as "hand wringers". Any society that fails to pay proper attention to whose history we are exploring, and from what perspective, maybe starving his/her own imagination and missing an opportunity to participate spreading useful historical knowledge so mistakes of the past may be understood and avoided in the future. 

 
 

(Hiroshima the day after we dropped an atomic weapon on that city followed by another later on Nagasaki despite many generals who conceded they were completely unnecessary since we had decimated their cities with Napalm, owned the skies for bombing anywhere, and Hirohito was ready and willing to surrender.)

Lust Supposedly is a Dark Sin

 

 d-h-lawrence-photo

 

 

 

 Lust supposedly is a dark sin for those who have sold out to religion's grip on our mind. D.H. Lawrence surely lusted after many a delightful romantic moment and led us away from the guilt we are taught at Sunday school at least at the Baptist Church for example. I saw Billy Graham preach against lust when fifteen in Japan as did the captain of my football team, a Texan, who would become Oliver North's commanding officer in Nicaragua and took me through the book of John one long sleepover night at his home Bible training me against that horrible and lustful sin that was sure to prevent my entrance to heaven.

         

  Fortunately, I discovered Lawrence in literature along with Joyce, Hemingway, and many others who had a healthy sexual urge that was not like the Trumpster demanding his handful of pussy because he was rich and powerful, but because they adored the physical, the marvelous body and mind of their adorable love interests they took to the woods with a bottle of wine, and were madly in love as they laid in the grass with her, on a blanket.  
  They shared their lustful loving ephemeral moments that shined in novels that carried them away from the boring occasional monotony of existence and took the reader to places only their imagination could exult in. The intensity of a life they adored when they found that special moment with a loved one, and explored all of it with gusto as we all should have when a spontaneous opportunity arrives.  
 

Otherwise we would regret having lost that moment in time when we blended with another in mutual ecstasy and understood the body electric with no thought of dominance or abuse but sharing a moment of bliss with our loved one.

   

 “When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego,

and when we escape like squirrels turning in the

cages of our personality

and get into the forests again,

we shall shiver with cold and fright

but things will happen to us

so that we don't know ourselves.

Cool, unlying life will rush in,

and passion will make our bodies taut with power,

we shall stamp our feet with new power

and old things will fall down,

we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like

burnt paper.” 

― D.H. Lawrence

   

Daniel C. Lavery

djasb@aol.com (email)

https://www.facebook.com/danielclavery (Facebook)

https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-c-lavery-00551a11 . (Linkedin prime)

https://twitter.com/Danielclavery

http://www.danielclavery.com (author website) All the Difference, a memoir by Daniel C. Lavery, “From a Pawn in the Military to a Crusader for Justice” available at Amazon.com. for purchase or free look inside of the first 6 1/2 chapters, Amazon's Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BNXHV9Q, A paperback version is available at http://www.amazon.com/All-Difference-Daniel-C-Lavery/dp/1482676532/

Advice on Creative Writing from Daniel C. Lavery

My professors in creative writing classes and forums stressed writing every day for at least an hour at a place where you are comfortable and will have hopefully no interruptions. Some like to write at night, others early. Everyone is different so you should find your time. For me it is 10 am to noon. Some people like to go to a Starbucks to see the faces of people, the bustle of the crowd, and the coffee for inspiration. I prefer my desk overlooking my front yard. Another suggestion is to always use your favorite writing pen (preferably not a ball point-and not typing). The connection of your hand to the pen and what you write is a stimulating one for most writers.

List the most compelling words you can think of in a notebook. I always keep a writing notebook for inspiration. When you have that dream that you won't remember in the morning, get up and write it as you recall it right after you have experienced it. Waiting later will lose it usually.

 

Don't be afraid to copy a writer's style. This is especially true of a poet. Find a poem you like, and take out your thesaurus, change the words, move around inserting your similar experiences and use the format. Amazingly simple way to create a new poem by just following someone's road map. Always read a great author for at least 30 minutes before writing. This is warming up your creative thinking. Your brain needs this. You will see a difference in your attitude, and willingness to explore language and its beauty.

Revise: All creative writing requires once you have written your piece, to go back and revise with an eye to use of heightened language (metaphor/simile, evocative vocabulary, sense driven language, action verbs and brilliant nouns) and remove any boring adverbs and adjectives. Check spelling by starting at the end of the piece and work backwards so you aren't lulled into accepting a misspelling you may make frequently. Read it aloud and see if there are awkward words when spoken that should be changed. If it doesn't sound right, it won't read effectively. Make sure each of the five senses appear somewhere. See if you can't make your descriptions luminescent.

One of the secrets of nonfiction storytelling is the use of description. Much as a novelist would, these nonfiction storytellers set a scene and describe their story's action. Above all, they have an eye for detail and employ these carefully observed facts to bring scenes alive for readers.

Look for opportunities to put the reader into the action. Where are we? What's it look (smell, sound) like? Who are the characters? What do they look like? How do they act? Strive to be specific, not general: Name names, measure things, count so you can report exact numbers. Learn to identify trees and birds, car makes, and architectural styles.

So instead of writing, "A lot of birds perched on the ornate rooftop," do the homework and note taking necessary to report, "Thirteen purple martins perched on the Italianate rooftop." Rather than describing "a big pile of old cars," aim for "a 20-foot pyramid of rusting, windowless Fords, Toyotas, and Chevrolets."

This kind of descriptive writing starts at the very beginning—at the note-taking stage. You can't just plop down at the keyboard and conjure this up; you have to be there, all eyes and fully alert, and noting details. Don't forget the senses beyond sight. Are the bees buzzing, trucks rumbling, horns honking? Do cockleburs scrape your pant legs as you walk to your subject's front door? Is your interviewee's desktop smooth and new or pitted with age and use? Give detail and description a try, and you'll find that you can be every bit as "creative" a writer when you're not making things up.

Here are my social media:

djasb@aol.com (email) http://www.danielclavery.com (author website) https://www.facebook.com/danielclavery (Facebook) https://www.linkedin.com/danielclavery.com (Linkedin) https://twitter.com/Danielclavery

All the Difference, a memoir by Daniel C. Lavery, available at Amazon.com. for purchase or free look inside of the first 6 1/2 chapters at Dan's website: http://www.danielclavery.com, and on Amazon's Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BNXHV9Q, A paperback version is available at http://www.amazon.com/All-Difference-Daniel-C-Lavery/dp/1482676532/ book-cover-all-the-difference.jpg

Related Images:

Review of Clara Bingham’s WITNESS TO THE REVOLUTION, Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the year America Lost its Mind and Found Its Soul by Daniel C. Lavery for VVAW

Clara Bingham’s WITNESS TO THE REVOLUTION, Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the year America Lost its Mind and Found Its Soul

WITNESS explores how the killing of four Kent State Students, maiming of nine more, by Ohio National Guardsmen, President Nixon’s invading neutral Cambodia, widespread anti-Vietnam protesting, and Seymour Hersh’s explosive reporting on the My Lai Massacre, shattered an enormous number of American’s support for prosecuting the Vietnam War. Clara Bingham’s unique enlightening interviews of 100 activists, vets, and officials, who pushed our country towards what Mario Savio called a revolution against “The Machine” referring to Henry David Thoreau’s essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.” “There’s a time when the operation of the Machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus-and you’ve got to make it stop!”

  (Kent State Students where 4 were killed and 9 maimed by National Guardsmen bullets)

David Harris, one of many activists explains everything “grew out of the Mississippi taproot …when white college students went south to help voter registration and witnessed the heroism of the black people of Mississippi.” Other interviews included drug use, Woodstock, The Black Panthers, SDS, feminism, and Nixon’s lies stabbed most every thoughtful person’s conscience by the time Daniel Ellsberg published the Pentagon Papers. These policies caused the largest student strike ever with 2.5 million refusing classes and 700 colleges shutdown including Kent State. While an historian might question whether this massive civil disobedience constituted a revolution, this powerful book shows a major shift in thinking occurred when so many resisted the draft. It would have been unthinkable to the serviceman or public in World War II, however, resisting the draft was the favored choice of an enormous number of their children.

  (Weathermen about to smash windows demonstrating their rage at the "Machine")

This disconnect is present today with the Trump supporters living in an alternative universe from that of Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. For example everyone in the Madison Police Department near Kent State when they heard of the shootings assumed the students were at fault from statements Spiro Agnew and the Ohio Governor made that vilified the protesters and urged the Guard to deal with them as scum. But the evidence was clear that the Guardsmen had violated their obligations to never fire on peaceful protesters as was common around the United States even if someone threw a rock or shouted obscenities. Allison Krause was killed by a bullet fired 343 feet away and while she took 45 minutes to bleed to death the medics were reserved for the Guardsmen and ignored her! Although no weatherman were present, elsewhere they had developed a strategy that included symbolic destruction of property like a Capitol bathroom with no one present. But it escalated into more serious bombings, hiding on the lam, and violence at demonstrations. Bingham says, “The sixties crested in 1968, with the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Dr. King, the Tet Offensive and Nixon’s victory.”

  (Nixon under the influence of alcohol speaking with demonstrators who descended on the Lincoln Memorial in protest against the Vietnam War and Nixon's policies)

Nothing is more chilling nor remarkable than Seymour Hersh’s ferreting out the truth on the My Lai massacre by tracking down eye witnesses to a horrendous war crime. Vietnam Vets like Nick Turse submitted proof of at least 300 similar massacres. Many occurred in “free fire zones” where they killed “anything that moved.” The Village of Ben Suc by Jonathan Schell involved another massacre that made Jane Fonda say, “I was one person before I read it, and another person after I finished…that was the beginning of my outrage.” Hersh visited Calley’s attorney in Salt Lake City who called it a mistake as he was told defending Calley accused of killing 109 “Oriental human beings.” Over a few beers Calley called My Lai a “setup, just a firefight.” Ernie Medina, a Captain, refused to agree with Calley “how I had nothing to do with it!” Barry Romo explained the body count was “close to 500” with American casualties only “One self-inflicted.” Hersh learned of a photographer, Paul Medlo who told him of three pits with “hundreds of people”, and that Calley brutally killed a small child. Medlo admits he and Calley “Shot and shot” at the unarmed people. Medlo, one of “McNamara’s Folly”, who would have never qualified in the past because of tests he could not pass, the next morning had his foot blown off by a mine! He felt God punished him and would punish Calley. His mother said, “I sent them a good boy and they returned him a murderer.” Hersh found photographer Ron Haeberle who saved photos of the massacre reported by Ron Ridenhour who broke the story a year before. His graphic photos have been circulated worldwide.

  (My Lai Massacre where more than 500 unarmed civilians were killed under orders by Lt. William Calley)

At Calley’s court martial he was sentenced to life imprisonment and hard labor at Fort Leavenworth. The next day Nixon ordered him transferred to house arrest at officer’s barracks pending appeal! His habeas corpus petition was granted by Judge J. Robert Elliot because of pre-trial publicity prejudice, refusal of the House of Representatives to release testimony taken in executive session, and inadequate notice of charges. Bingham’s focus is 1969-70 the “crescendo of the sixties, when years of civil disobedience and mass resistance erupted into anarchic violence.” Government sabotage as well as surveillance, theatrics in courtroom trials, massive police misconduct, and President Nixon’s late-night Lincoln Memorial meeting with protesters under the influence of alcohol when he tried to make them understand he wanted to end the Vietnam War. However, when he created the plumbers his days were numbered and brought his rapid much deserved downfall with Watergate.

  (Jane Fonda and John Kerry speak at an Anti-Vietnam rally for Vietnam Veterans Against War)

BIO: Dan graduated Annapolis, navigated a jet, then a ship to Vietnam. He resigned, joined VVAW, and became a civil rights lawyer for Cesar Chavez's UFW, the ACLU and in private civil rights practice. His memoir, All the Difference, describes his change from a pawn in the military to crusader for justice. http://www.danielclavery.com (author website)

 

Related Images: