Submitted by: Benjamin Bass
Much of this work, while being fiction, is rooted in my life. I'd like that say that 40% or more of Alone In The Light is taken from the Life History of Benjamin Bass. I struggled for years with "self-medication" and drinking. I was sullen and angry. I ignored the people who cared about me in favor of being ill-tempered, sitting alone in my apartment.. And I think that comes across in Josh Carpenter's post-deployment attitude quite well.
In addition, social media didn't exist in 2005 - at least not like it is today. Smart phones weren't a thing yet - you'll note that both Josh and Mary have flip-phones. I remember when "thefacebook.com" came to IU. It was around during this time, but it wasn't widespread then. This story would be very different in 2011 or 2019. We've become so dependent on smart technology and social media that it's almost impossible to remember life before it, but I remember. I remember just how easy it was to shut out the world and hide in my apartment, and I didn't have to post selfies or anything to prove I was alive and well.
In researching this book, I've taken a lot time to look over the statistics of PTSD, TBI, and amputations throughout the timeline of OIF, OEF, and various other military campaigns. One of the reasons this is set in 2005, aside from coinciding with my own life, is that I try to shed some light on the VA and U.S. government's lack of preparedness in dealing with these things.
I remember early visits to the VA when I came home in '04 and '05. And I remember the drastic change in who the patients were that followed soon after. In the early years it was me and a few other younger soldiers with dozens of WWII and Vietnam-era vets. They would look at us as an oddity. Then, as our numbers increased - we were sort of looked on with a knowing expression of sadness and acceptance by the older vets.
About the author:
Benjamin W. Bass is a native Hoosier and a ten-year veteran of the Indiana National Guard. It was his time in the Guard that gave him the basis for his new novel, Alone In The Light. Drawing from his personal experience, Bass has crafted a very real depiction of post-deployment life. Bass graduated from Indiana University, where he met the love of his life. Now married, they reside in Indiana with their two children, a lovable dog, and two very questionable cats. When Benjamin is not writing, you can find him playing with his children on the living room floor, hunting on his family's farm, or relaxing on the patio with his wife and a glass of scotch. Visit Benjamin on the web at benjaminwbass.com