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Brian Freeman

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    I am 31 years old and live in the Washington, DC area; Clinton, MD to be exact. I have recently completed my first novel, a trilogy titled Sixty Eight about the year 1968 in American history, as well as the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential administration. I currently work as a teacher for Prince George's County Public Schools.

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  1. Assignment 7 - Sixty Eight by Brian Freeman Setting: Sixty Eight takes place in the year 1968 and includes all of the various themes, subjects, culture, and overall ethos of the late sixties era. Lyndon Johnson is our narrator and spends a good deal of his time in multiple places throughout Washington, D.C. including: The White House, The Capitol Building, The Pentagon, The Lincoln Memorial, and the National Mall. Because of his role as president, LBJ travels across the world for matters pertinent to security and diplomacy including: London, Paris, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Florida (Cape Canaveral), Wisconsin, as well as a multitude of towns and villages in Vietnam including Da Nang, Hue, and other areas. Because of the transportive nature of his experience, he finds himself in locations that are decided by fate more so than will. For example, Soviet Europe, specifically Prague, Czechoslovakia, is an area that LBJ tours throughout the book, most notably after the Warsaw invasion. He will not be alone throughout his journey, as he's led by U.S. Marines who play major roles in his development, as well as multiple famous figures who he encounters.
  2. Assignment 6 - Sixty Eight by Brian Freeman Inner Conflict - Unlike other presidents before and after him, LBJ didn't live a long life after the conclusion of his presidency in January of 1969. He died four years later in January of 1973, not long after the reelection of Richard Nixon. One of the reasons for this is the massive amount of guilt that LBJ left the White House with, combined with the shattered self image of how he wanted to be perceived vs. how Americans actually received him. He prided himself on his competence and decisiveness, both of which helped to get him elected in 1964. But the Vietnam War produced results that were antithetical to the well being of his reputation, resulting in massive scandals and allegations, as well as a nation piqued by the lies they were told. Secondary Conflict - Two examples of this are LBJ's physical health, as well as the health and condition of his marriage to Lady Bird. LBJ had a genetic heart defect that he inherited from his father who also died of a heart attack. Throughout all three books, he routinely takes trips to the doctor's office in the White House because of his ailing health, suffering night terrors in the form of visions and dreams from Vietnam and Soviet Europe. In regard to his marriage, Lady Bird develops significant trust issues related to a series of disappearances from her husband that no one can account for. This initially tears them a part, but she regains her empathy for him after seeing how hard he tries to stay focused on his responsibilities to America, but most importantly to his family.
  3. Assignment 5 - Sixty Eight by Brian Freeman Logline - After suffering a fatal heart attack, Lyndon Johnson finds himself torn between life and mortality as he returns to the year that plagued his presidency and rocked America.
  4. Assignment 4 - Approaching Comparables - Sixty Eight by Brian Freeman Sixty Eight is a speculative, historical fiction novel that is written in the first person. Because of the respect and admiration I have for Lyndon Johnson, I chose to have him narrate the story in order to give him the literary voice that he deserves. One book that my story compares to in terms of perspective and depth of character is Claudius the God by Robert Graves. Written in the first person, Claudius the God is about a Roman emperor who deals with his own handicaps as he reigns on the throne during a political maelstrom. He's self deprecating and underestimated, yet decisive enough to reign as emperor for 13 years, reminding me of Lyndon Johnson, a flawed man who, in my story, opens up about his deficiencies as president while leading the nation during the most turbulent year in our history. Another story that my book compares to is The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh. Written in a stream of consciousness style, the story is centered on the gruesome nature of the Vietnam war, consisting of reflections of past battles experienced by a North Vietnamese soldier. Firsthand recollections of the war are exactly what my story offers, experienced by LBJ and U.S. Marines when he's transported to Vietnam, bending time and space as a revenant while witnessing the conflict that defined his presidency.
  5. Assignment 3 - Breakout Title - Sixty Eight by Brian Freeman Sixty Eight is a trilogy of books spanning across 38 chapters, 80,000 words apiece and divided into even thirds. Because of this, I am not sure whether there needs to be a separate title for each book under the Sixty Eight moniker, similar to the Lord of The Rings (Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, Return of The King), or simply a numbered volume collection of three books. Considering the book centers more on 1968 than the narrator and main character Lyndon Johnson (the story is written in the first person), Sixty Eight, spelled informally as the title, seemed most appropriate. However, if each book needs it's own title under the Sixty Eight moniker, then my suggestions would be: 1). Sixty Eight - A Painless Fire (book 1) 2). Sixty Eight - The Anguished Kingdom (book 2) 3). Sixty Eight - Hope in the Homeland (book 3)
  6. Assignment 2 - Sketch the Antagonist - Sixty Eight by Brian Freeman The Johnson Administration existed during a time where the mantra of young people was "don't trust anyone over thirty." LBJ was one of our final WWII presidents, while members of his National Security Council shared similar views on foreign policy. Walt Rostow, one of the biggest hawks in Washington and LBJ's National Security Advisor, as well as Bob McNamara, the Secretary of Defense, played vital roles in exacerbating America's war efforts in Vietnam. They convinced LBJ that the war was winnable when it never was, inclining the president to scrutinize his decisions on the war when the nation had already reached the point of no return. These are only two of many people who played an antagonistic role in the Johnson Administration.
  7. Assignment 1 - Story Statement - Sixty Eight by Brian Freeman A time and space bending tale of the massive challenges America faced in the late sixties, Sixty Eight centers on Lyndon Johnson, the 36th president of the United States. After losing his life to a heart attack on his ranch in Texas, he awakens in Vietnam at the height of the Tet Offensive. Unseen and unheard, like a revenant, he witnesses the chaos of the war around him while following a platoon of Marines. He’s then transported to Washington where he’s finally seen, overwhelmed by the challenges he endured before; the Civil Rights Movement, the war, Soviet aggression in Europe, and the upcoming presidential election. Faced with a flawed mortality, he begins suddenly transporting to Vietnam and back, witnessing the gruesome war firsthand as he dedicates himself to stopping it.
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