When I wrote Crossing the Line, my memoir of life on aircraft carriers from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo, 50 years after the events, I was amazed at how once I began to reconstruct the story the old images flooded back into my head. It seemed as if the word processor actually helped me recover old scenes. The almost automatic act of typing left me free to look at the screen and let the memories develop there. I had not expected, however, that my memories when published would release in turn other memories that would come flooding back to me in hundreds of very frank and intense letters.
By Alvin Kernan