Originally appeared in the Boston Book Review.
( Date approximate).
Q&A Tobias Wolff: Soldiers
I turned into a predator, and one of the things I became predatory about was experience. I fetishized it, collected it, kept strict inventory . . . and of all experiences the most bankable was military service.
In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War (1994)
HB: At the end of In Pharaoh’s Army you write “I was saving my life with every word I wrote, and I knew it.” That’s a strong statement about your early commitment to literature.
TW: It wasn’t just literature either. I think I was talking about work. Let’s remember I was coming out of four years in the army, and though the army advertises itself as the place where you go to become a man, actually it’s a place where boys go to remain boys. Everything is done for you. You never have to find a place to live. You never have to cook a meal. You never have to worry about running out of money before the end of a month. In other words, you can continue to live the life of a child in the army.