As co-facilitator of the four community outreach writing workshops, I had the privilege of assembling veterans, family, friends, and community members in order to “write through the wounds” of war. It was an honor to be at the helm of these experiences as I organized, coordinated, and facilitated these workshops.
Each time, we had a guest veteran writer read some existing work, before workshop participants received valuable advice for the daily practice of writing. After reviewing the evening’s prompts, we wrote, reflected, listened, and learned. We created a complex community of dynamic writers that flexed from week-to-week. Our conversations spanned many conflicts, including military operations in Belgium, France, England, Việt Nam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, and Haiti.
No matter who showed up, we had an intergenerational, cross-gender, cross-racial, and global truth-telling session each time. Together our military, civilian, and activist perspectives attested to the collective responsibility to “bring home” those sent into battle, while complicating easy assumptions about the “return” from war.