Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Help WW gain supporters

Hey all passing this on from Lynn, please vote for WW to get some love from moveon.org Thanks,

Maggie

http://pol.moveon.org/giving2010/vote/index.html?id=25613-501327-NhQw5Cx&t=3

Sunday, November 28, 2010

letters in December

in December
write me a letter
and I’ll be writing letters to you
write a friend
write someone in Warrior Writers
write a letter
write a letter every week
put a piece of paper in the mail


I’ll miss you but we’ll be staying connected through words
building bridges with words

i'm off to the PI, be in touch in 2011. take care of yourselves, and each other
happy hibernating...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Voices of Veterans Month

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
Doors open at 6 pm
The National Liberty Museum
321 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Free Screening!

Stories from those who have served and the challenges they face when they come home. Following the screening, Mind TV will present a discussion with Marsha Four, Vietnam Vet.

Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to Eric efielder@mindtv.org

Warrior Writers is a partner in this event!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Do-Over

How do I not be a veteran?
Can I go back and unwaste
the years spent trying
to win a schoolyard
game of king of the hill?
All that time we
thought we were men,
but couldn’t see we’d never
left the playground and
were still trying to win
the wrong game.
Can I have a do-over
now that I know
what game to play?
I cannot, so with
my identity defined by
my immaturity
I graduate from
soldier to veteran and finally
see how blindly blindingly
mean we were.
I feel like a child
who understands too late
what it means
to hurt someone.
I am better than that now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Robocop: the Desensitizer

Sometimes it takes a small set back to personally illustrate how much one changes. Mental back tracking can be a very positive thing when viewed this way. It reveals the slow transformations that often go unnoticed. 

I must have watched Robocop over twenty times as a kid and the memories were nothing but cool.  Well, we finished up a lively event the other night and were wide awake when we got back to the house, so we decided to watch a movie - one of less than five movies I've watched recreationally since the ride started.

Everything was fine and 80's, just as I remembered it, until the huge crime fighting robot showed up.  Then I felt this deep fear bubble up to my chest, a fear I haven't felt in a while.   

I knew what was going to happen next, I'd seen it many times.  The robot mutilates the demonstrator with a fully automatic machine gun because of faulty programing; it was just following orders.  

What I didn't anticipate was a spike in my heart rate and the overwhelming desire to leave the room.  It took a lot of focus to sit there and force myself through what seemed like 10-15 seconds of someone being blown apart. 

My heart was racing afterwards and eventually slowed.  The ultra-violence continued throughout the movie and eventually we all started laughing at it; it was absurd.  

The movie finally ended at three in the morning and I instantly fell asleep.  The next day I constantly replayed Robocop and my reactions over and over in my head, trying to unravel the situation.  I was amazed that as a child I watched this repeatedly without fully understanding the events.  This reminded me of a young man that went to war repeatedly, just as ignorant as the child.

The most alarming thing to surface was the laughing.  Once I made it past the first violent scene, everything was a little easier to watch - I had been desensitized.

My heart didn't race and I didn't feel the urge to leave. It turned into an absurd, borderline prophetic vision of the modern day - without the robotic technology, yet the robots are present.  There was a commercial in the movie for a futuristic game of battleship, but played with nukes and the kid playing the game with his family spoke of fighting on the Pakistan border.  This movie was made in 1987.

I often observed and participated in this behavior while serving in the military.  We would laugh at terrible things to hide our pain, so we could call each other men.  

As I reflected on my actions and feelings from the movie, I initially felt unmanly because of my visceral reaction to violence.  I was almost in tears thinking about the boy inside of me watching this repeatedly, knowing what I know now.  

That shame is the old cultural programing and it didn't take long for this to surface.  I was reminded of the training that lead me to join the military, the cultural training that began before I volunteered for it.

Although it feels like Robocop has been haunting me, it's a very important reminder to myself: I have changed.  I love the fact that this movie has effected me so deeply.  On a personal level, it illustrates how real the healing process is, even though it usually goes unnoticed by the individual. 

This is a solid reminder of how life isn't about constantly moving forward. Sometimes we have to take a couple of steps back to understand where we stand.

    

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cowboys and Indians

One of the first things that hit me when I arrived on the Pakistan border was, "as a nation, we've been here before".  Now, I'm not referring to the Soviet conflict where we helped train and arm the mujahideen with the help of the Pakistani ISI.  I'm referring to the initial invasion of the North American continent, what we now call the United States. 

It took many years for me to go back and confront some of the deeper realizations of my experiences in Afghanistan.  It took going to college so I could articulate my experiences and living in a very supportive community that listens.  

Ultimately, I had to go back and face the facts: we, as a nation, are still erasing indigenous peoples and cultures to this day, in the name of freedom - and I had played a roll in this history of culture assassination.  There is no difference between the erasing of the Lakota nation through framing them as 'terrorist' and the erasing of the simple society constructs in Afghanistan, in an attempt to transplant democracy. 

I spoke with many afghans there and here in the states, and the general consensus is the tribe never asked for democracy; the tribe has it's own system of government.  

Some people say that this is what I get for trying to rationalize an irrational situation, but to me it's much more.  I now view my past warmongering as a mental health issue and think we as a nation are mentally ill.

It's not all doom and gloom though, behavioral disorders can be corrected if we'll just acknowledge our behavior. I did it on a personal level and I think as a nation, we can do the same.  

As a child I was taught war games and I've played those games for most of my 28 year life.  This is why I deeply value my 3 tours in Operation Enduring Freedom.  As Sgt. George, I gained an understanding of life outside the box I was raised in.  

Until recently, I was always the cowboy - but now, I will forever be the Indian. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

poem I wrote today and Veteran's Day assignment

the red bullets
couldn't get the red bullets to go away

No, I'm not talking about the ones he had that were covered in his best friend's blood
which were given to him
they were to be used
they were to be used to kill those two men
Iraqi men
in Najaf
who were sitting next to each other
on the ground
along the side of a building

At least, that's how I remember picturing it in my mind
when he told me about it
I'm trying to remember if he told me in the sun of the day-time
or if this was a night-time story, told in the dark

Yes, I think it was
and now I'm wondering if it happened in the daylight or nightdark

did he aim his sights
on these men
in daylight
or moonlight


See,
these are things you get hung up on when you consider giant crazy things like this
because the rest is so overwhelming

I wonder, what it feels like to carry that
how often he remembers it
where does he remember it in his body

his trigger finger
his shoulder

maybe at the smell of
or at the sight of

his triggers I can only imagine

I wonder, if any of ours are the same
Likely not since mine include strange things like bathroom doors, quarters and orange slices

while his may include
loud sounds like fire-crackers or trash on the side of the road

try to imagine fearing that trash on the side of the road could blow up on you and kill you
and your friend

I can’t necessarily feel that in my bones like they do, but one thing I can do is listen


----------
Writing Exercise

If you could get someone to listen to you, what would you say today, on "Veteran's Day?" That someone can be a certain someone or a kind of someone, the president or your mother, a soul you never met or a liar you wish you hadn't. So, imagine they're ears are ready, to listen...

(of course utilizing video, photography, drawing, music, etc. is exciting and encouraged. post in whatever forms and in as many as you want)


LC

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cinquain for Fear

Fearful

Alert, Unsure

Fighting, Fleeing, Freezing

Loopy stomach, Rising panic

Phobic

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Intrusive Thoughts exhibit in Chicago, Veterans Day - pls send submissions

Hey all,
I was/am gonna submit works from the website but I figured I would put a call out to see if anyone wanted to submit anything and I can add it to the mix. It can be writing or visual arts. Please send it to me directly (and post it on the blog).
So yeah, the title is self explanatory...I think a lot of things could fit into this...

Also, these are the questions we'll need to answer to put with our collection of works. If anyone wants to answer them and post them here or send them to me, feel free. I would love to have this stuff by tomorrow, Wednesday if possible. Sorry such late notice. I'm working on trying to ask for help/assistance/participation more often...but also not sure how/when/what people are able to give.

Artist statement in relation to the theme "Intrusive Thoughts"

"Why does our generation of veteran art need to be shown?"


much love,
LC

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Exercise your form

So, Lovella and I made an agreement while we met up in this beautiful and ugly place we both came from. We agrees to keep working to be here for each other and for all of you and to help this community grow. From now on if we can keep our heads above water and if you all can help us feel like it's worth it we will post exercises every Wednesday. Lovella is posting creative exercises and I am posting different forms. Use the form for the exercises, or do the exercises any way you want, or say whatever you want practicing the form. Whatever you want just make the time, take the time and write. This community is important and we need to care for it and for ourselves. Here's an simple form for starters and remember you always have freedom to color outside the lines:

Cinquain: 5 line poetry
Syllabic verse form. Gradually increasing number of syllables in each line until the last line, which returns to two syllables
Line 1: 2 syllables, one word giving the title
Line 2: 4 syllables, two words that describe the title
Line 3: 6 syllables, three words that express action
Line 4: 8 syllables, four words that express feeling
Line 5: 2 syllables, one word that gives the title a different name

Afraid
queazy, stinging
question, wonder, worry
feeling failure creeping closer
frozen



fear and loathing

We all live with fear, some more than others, and some times and places more than others. I recently went home to Michigan where I'm from, and where I left. One of the many reasons I don't live there is because the old man that abused me when I was young lives there. I haven't seen him since I moved to Philly, over six years ago. This is what I wrote on the airplane the day that I left town. After you read it, write about something (or someone) that you fear. I think that this honesty about our fears makes them easier to bear, at least then, we're not also hiding. Much Love.


The day I arrived to Cadillac, I got a scare that stuck with me, slithering under my skin till I left town. I was at Meijer with my brother, we had just gotten in the door and for a second, it looked like he saw someone he recognized. But he did not say anything or walk over to anyone, we kept moving. The Meijer in Cadillac is like many small town stores and if you go there, there's no question that you'll see someone you know, if not a few people. The question lingers...who will it be? Oftentimes the conundrum is whether or not you stop and talk, and for how long. Or, do you avoid them altogether?

When I thought my brother saw someone and went the other way, my skin turned to sand and I was filled with fear, anger and grief. It occurred to me that it could happen. That it was possible that I would see him. I might run into the disaster that shattered me. He could be standing in that store and I would have to look at him.

What would I do?

Thank the goddesses he was not there, or at least that I did not see him. But now I'm wondering how I've gotten by these past few years not running into him and it makes me scared about going back. I'm taking a risk every time I go home, every time I go to the store, every time I walk down the street. And I'm also standing up for my life. I am determined to make the choices I want and to spend time with the rest of my family. He will not take any more from me than he already has. I will continue to battle my fears and face them with courage and strength.

LC

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What are your comfort items???

When living such an up and down and all over the place life due to the effects of Iraq, one must find comfort items that help them get through the rough patches, or even just every day comforts to continue your healing process.

My comfort items are first and foremost: a comfortable environment. Without this, it's hard for me to function. I also look for comfort in coffee and the sweet lovins from all my pooches. A hair cut can be comforting, counseling is comforting, and reading is when I'm at my calmest. I love to read, then get inspired to write as well. The love and support of my family and friends is definitely comforting for myself. And sometimes, good ol fashioned outreach to other members can make me feel awesome!!! It's nice to know I have a second family in a sense, to help me and for us to be there for each other just the same. Thank you Lovella for creating safe spaces for us and allowing us to just get some things off our chest when a comforting workshop rolls around.

For this weeks writing prompt, we would like to know what comforts you????

Monday, September 13, 2010

America: You Gotta Have Our Back

Reposted from The Huffington Post:

As veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have watched with increasing alarm the rise of anti-Islamic rhetoric within the U.S. We've seen attacks on Muslim citizens, intolerance toward religious expression, and even threats of book burning. All this goes against the values we risked our lives to protect.
Story continues below

We have served beside Muslim soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen, as well Muslim translators, who risked their own lives and the lives of their families to help us. For the servicemembers currently deployed, the success of their mission and the safety of their lives depends on a basic respect for, and interaction with, Islamic culture.

Those who would vilify and target Muslims on grounds of their religious belief not only show a deep disrespect for American values, but put American lives at risk. It's easy to burn a Koran when you won't feel the heat.

We speak as infantrymen, truck drivers, medics, artillerymen, supply sergeants, and civil and public affairs officers, professions whose success depends on good relations with a deeply religious Muslim population. That population sees the American flag we wear on our uniform and judges us, not only by our actions but on the values our citizens uphold. We must be able to point back home to the values we represent. Chief among those values is our courage as a nation to peacefully and openly engage with differences of culture and religion.

What is a squad leader in Kandahar supposed to say to an Afghan woman who asks him why we want to burn her holy book?

When citizens here participate in hateful rhetoric and intolerance toward Muslims, it leaves soldiers over there exposed.

America, you gotta have our back.

Roy Scranton, US Army Artillery, Iraq
Philip Klay, USMC Public Affairs Officer, Iraq
Perry O'Brien, US Army Medic (Airborne), Afghanistan
James Redden Jr., USAR Journalist, Iraq
Joshua Casteel, US Army Linguist, Iraq
Logan Mehl-Laituri, US Army Forward Observer, Iraq
Hart Viges, Army, Infantry (Airborne), Iraq
Jason M Wallace, US Air Force Maintenance, Kuwait
Chantelle Bateman, USMC Supply, Iraq
Geoffrey Millard, US Army Infantry, Iraq
Nicholas Przybyla, US Navy Cameraman, Pakistan Coast
John McClelland, US Army Medic (Ranger), Afghanistan and Iraq
Andrew Johnson, US Army Radar Technician, Iraq
Daniel Paulsen, US Army Medic (Airborne), Afghanistan
Fernando Braga, US Army Supply, Iraq
Maggie Martin, US Army Signal, Iraq
Adam Kokesh, USMC Civil Affairs, Iraq
Lisa Zepeda, US Army Lab Technician, Iraq
Brian Turner, US Army Infantry, Iraq
Matt Gallagher, US Army Cavalry Officer, Iraq
Michael Anthony Ruehrwein, US Army OR Tech, Iraq
Erika Sjolander, US Army Supply, Iraq
Bryan Reinholdt, US Army Apache Maintenance, Iraq
Jason Chambers, US Air Force Air Freight Specialist, Iraq
Joe Wheeler, US Army Surgical Assistant, Iraq
Ash Woolson, US Army Combat Engineer, Iraq
Chris Hellie, US Army Cavalry Officer, Iraq
Sara Beining, US Army Intelligence Analyst, Iraq
Helen Gerhardt, US Army Transport, Iraq
Garett Reppenhagen, US Army Cavalry Scout, Iraq

Thursday, September 9, 2010

this is the sound of a dropping bomb

Sometimes the world resonates in my ears and I get tired and I get headaches. I get incredibly depressed for brief periods of time, usually less than a day, and my head pounds, and I really just can't move. I'm glad my daughter is two and not an infant anymore, honestly. I don't know what comes over me, and today my explanation is that I'm newly divorced (finally) and totally crushed and pissed off. Just, devestated at the betrayal in my marriage. Then, I'm also in a relationship right now with a really wonderful guy, and I sometimes wonder if i'm just treading water until it all blows to shit. So,
today I'm cynical. Here we go.

love is a something darkly khaki

this sounds like the tv on in the background

love smells like leftover pizza and dish soap

this tastes like kamikazes and pbr coming up my throat

looking like smeared make up the morning after i can't remember

feeling like shit



on the other hand



love can be purple

an indie band

a baby fresh from the bath

fruit smoothies

and mountain-scapes in the distance

feeling like its worth it

More War and the City

Here are parts two and three of my essay, "War and the City," currently running in the NY Times.

Also, though I've been blissfully ignorant of the news the last two weeks, thanks to being off the grid, I couldn't miss "US soldiers 'killed Afghan civilians for sport and collected fingers as trophies'" and "Obama Declares an End to Combat Mission in Iraq."

Time to celebrate, I guess.

(x-posted to caribou)

Meditation and War and the City

I returned Sunday to Brooklyn from a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in Massachusetts. I wanted to take the course because it had been spoken highly of by friends, and also because I felt the need to set aside some time to think through and process the changes and chaos of the last four years since getting out of the Army. It's difficult to know what to say about the course except that it was a lot more work than I expected, and also much more intense and amazing than I could have ever imagined. I'm glad I did it, and I'm going to do it again--even though it's a Buddhist practice and there's a lot about Buddhism that I find troublesome or disagreeable (its essential nihilism, the idea of dissolving the self, the moral hair-splitting that accepts eating plants and animal products but not animals themselves, and the metaphysics of kalapas, reincarnation, and karma, for example), the practice is good and has given me a powerful tool to live better, acheive my goals, and stop being so fucking crazy. Recommended.

Also, when I came back to the city, I found that the first part of my piece "War and the City" had been published in the New York Times vets blog. Very exciting. Check it out.

(x-posted at caribou)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Drowned

Guilt, like slate
mumbling and gurgling between a clash of blue and grey
carrying with it the stench of dead fish
in a wave of salty sea water
that is as transparent as it is deep.
Guilt, like the weight of a thousand oceans.


This emotion/sensory poem is in response to the following exercise:
1st line: Name a feeling/emotion, finish the line with a color word
2nd: Tell what it sounds like
3rd: Tell what it smells like
4th: Tell what it tastes like
5th: Tell what it looks like
6th: Tell what it feels like

Writing Exercise: emotions/sensory poem

We did this at the women's retreat...

1st line: Name a feeling/emotion, finish the line with a color word
2nd: Tell what it sounds like
3rd: Tell what it smells like
4th: Tell what it tastes like
5th: Tell what it looks like
6th: Tell what it feels like


Here is the one I wrote as an example
grief is black
it sounds like tears, hysteria
smells like hospitals
it tastes like the stinging blood on a bitten tongue
it looks like a room full of caskets
and it feels, like suffocation



Much Love,
LC

P.S. I didn't make this one up, and I don't know who did.

Something new I'm toying with

I carried it,
it carried 30 pounds.

It was a keeper of lifesaving tools.

Gauze, tape, sodium chloride
and tubing for the infusion of such.

Needles and band-aids,
even some tabs.

You know--
the ibuprofen type.
The Army considers it a cure-all.

Hand it out like candy.
Every day is like Halloween!
Don't worry about a thing, especially not your liver
being worth a damn by the time you're forty.

Tons of gloves,
my one pet peeve.
I would go without on certain scenes,

but that's just me...

I always wanted to be
a helper of those,
too scared to be free.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

War News Radio

Go visit this site and click on Jessie Arian reports to hear our interview!!!!

http://www.warnewsradio.org/2008/08/19/warrior-writers/

October Jamboree Workshop

Keep this in mind--no dates yet but they are soon to follow!!! This will be great and probably in Philly :D

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Morning Ramblings...work in progress

When did I lose the capacity to cry?
When did my tears dry up like wells in the desert heat,
Like sleeping volcanos afraid of the destruction they would spew forth on their countrymen should they choose to live,
Like the desert cough that comes from an angry night only wanting the rains to fall and make earth give fruit.
When did I lost the capacity to cry?
When did my strength become a wall over which you could only wave a flag to indicate your love,
Where a mother's hug is shielded in a layer of kevlar and grit
Where a brother's send-off is masked in a feast of gluttony and fear
When sleep is only a rock and a pill away
near the rusted metal and debris that serves as blankets for my shadow.
When did I lose the capacity to be?
Like a sculpture asked only to resemble
to endure,
to represent.
When did I lose?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Something I just found in my notebook from a retreat

All mixed up,
nothing cohesive.

You are strong!

my life
unraveling.

Couldn't lose it-
their lives depended on me-only me
if they wanted to live.

Countless wounds...
some big, some fleshy, gaping holes--
some where they looked like we
were trying to kill

his soul...


Comments/suggestions always welcome!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Publishing Opp

Don't forget the deadline for this is 15 August!!! Would be great to have some WW work included. Also, if you have a workshop--let us all know how it went. I know the Brooklyn workshop recently added a new member to our org!! That's great!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Writing Workshop in Brooklyn

Tonight from 4-630p there will be a writing workshop and pizza for all interested. Maurice will be leading this workshop so go and have an amazing time!!! It's at the Brooklyn Vet Center....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Awesome opportunity to be published!!!

Thanks!

Roy Scranton

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Do you write fiction? Did you serve in Iraq or Afghanistan?

We are Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans looking for short stories
(1500-7000 words) by other military veterans who served in Iraq and/or
Afghanistan. We seek high quality, literary fiction that touches in
some way on military or wartime experience, either downrange or back
home, for an anthology of veterans’ writing. National Book
Award-winner Colum McCann will be editing. Please send your story as a
word document or pdf to gwotstories@gmail.com, along with a brief bio
specifying your publishing credits and military service, by August 15,
2010. We seek original stories or reprints (if you own rights).

gwotstories@gmail.com

Monday, July 19, 2010

American Soldier

A poem about what it means to be an American Soldier.





American Soldier


When I say... "I am an American Soldier"

I'm not shouting I'm better than you,

I'm whispering, I was a boy, and now

find myself a man.


When I say... "I am an American Soldier"

I don't speak only of this with pride

I'm also confessing that I stumble,

make mistakes,

And need competent leadership to

help guide me,

So I in turn,

can be a competent leader


When I say... "I am an American Soldier"

I'm not trying to be strong,

I'm professing that I am weak, and

need the strength of my peers and

country,

to help carry me on.


When I say... "I am an American Soldier"

I'm not bragging of past successes,

I'm admitting I have failed in the past,

admitted the mistakes,

and tried to right the wrongs.


When I say... "I am an American Soldier"

I'm not claiming to be perfect,

My flaws are far too visible,

But my country needs me,

and I soldier on.


When I say... "I am an American Soldier"

I can still feel the sting of pain,

from seeing those that I care about die,

While we fight for those that we love.

I have my share of heartaches,

So I call upon the American People

To help guide our soldiers, when home.


When I say... "I am an American Soldier"

I'm not saying anything,

I'm just a simple man,

Who was called upon by his country,

to fight.

By: Michael Anthony, Author of: Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq. Available at your local bookstores, or online at: www.MassCasualties.com

(Originally inspired by a Carol Wimmer poem. )

Saturday, July 17, 2010

REhumanization

First, this piece would not have been made without the inspiration of a brilliant artist named Annie Vought (sorry for the rip-off). Please check out her work at her site: www.annievought.com

I am also indebted to Drew Cameron, Drew Matott, and Chris Arendt at the Combat Paper Project: www.combatpaper.org

I created this piece using what I prefer to call Service Paper since I am not a combat veteran. I used one of my old military uniforms to make the paper, then I hand-cut it using an Xacto knife.

I spent 12 years wearing a military uniform and feel that most of that time was spent learning how to kill and hate other people for reasons I am still struggling to understand. Throughout this process of dehumanization of the "enemy," I think I also learned to dehumanize myself. This piece is an attempt to begin the process of returning, not only from the place in myself that said it was OK to view others as less than human, but from the place in myself that said I was OK with doing that. Having dehumanized myself and others, I am now trying to rehumanize myself and others.

With that in mind, I chose to use the simplest expression of love I could think of and repeat it, in my own handwriting, across 12 lines on a sheet of paper. Each line represents one year of military service. I want people who view the piece to see themselves reflected in the mirror, so they will know that I am speaking directly to them, and also to have an image of themselves in front of them as they read the words, "I love you" over and over and realize that they are worthy of their own love.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Part 2 of "So much to say"

Musters of color
dark deep colors
no smiles to be seen.

It was scary,
at least to me.

Things have to get better...

from black to grey--
green
is next.



This is like a mini-series of well, love poems actually. But not happy, sappy poems--truth in writing from within...hope you all can pull from an experience and write a small collection of the type--chap book could be an awesome project for any writer!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So much to say........

To you right now.
One of these days, we shave--
an evil fat clown watches...
and hearts are sad.

Walking, walking, questioning how
people seem so interested,
bound.

By what this place has to
offer. Laughter has a lot of heavy
footed that, brings a whole new hour
will allow for nothing correct--fun and free.

Never knowing just how much on the nights
you always get the most sleep.
Freedom, justice for all.

Thought coming here might need to borrow
time to just sit...
and one to say it all.

Monday, July 12, 2010

ARV Proposed Title

The Chicago Warrior Writers are participating at a local 2-day conference in early fall: Art in Response to Violence. The proposal for the conference is completed except for a title. The proposed title will be the "theme" of the collection and all the work (written word, photos, paintings, and any other installation) will be focused on this theme/title.

So far, Pete has proposed "Coming Home".

We'd like to get a few more suggestions and then choose one. If you don't have a suggestion but would like to second Pete's, respond with that too. We will be finalizing this by midnight tonight and I will submit the proposal first thing tomorrow morning.

Any folks not in the area that would still like to contribute, please contact Pete--(I'm sure he won't mind :)Then we will be on the road to creating an inspiring installation of Art in Response to Violence--and that will be a rewarding journey!

Semper Fidelis.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Brothers

I wrote this about (an actual experience) how we can sometimes pull each other out of a rut just by being there. I think it's about brother/sisterhood and is appropriate since many of us are connecting in Austin this weekend. Those of us who couldn't make it miss you!

Brothers

We step off the train in our most
Convincing we’re-doing-just-fine disguise with
The cinder-block feet of men whose spirits are
Heavy under the artificiality of
Our swagger and the damp light and
The same greasy grit of guilt and shame
That covers the subway walls

Lost in our heads on parallel staircases
The corners of our eyes issue challenges to
Our legs as we race skyward
Away from such a thick black dust
We return for a moment, our
Chests out and craned necks,
Laughing into the sunshine of our youth

Friday, July 9, 2010

Shout-Outs!!!!

Hey all you writers and non-writers can take a little time to remember who is at the convention and support them! We should give shout-outs everyday, all of us--once a day. LOL Yea! And blog more......peace

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Withdrawaling...

Since my last post I have missed the William Joiner Workshop and also the IVAW convention. BUT I am back and strong. I'm armed to get you all blogging more please!! Especially blog us stuff from the convention or something like that. We can chat anout it here and such!!!

dark, deep colors
no smiles
to be seen.

Scary, at least to me.
"This has got to get bettter....."

From black to gray, green is next........

Friday, June 25, 2010

William Joiner Recap

Boston was amazing. I want to give a shout out to all the amazing people, veterans and supporters who made our time together so wonderful and powerful. You inspire and enrich me. I am eager for all the awesomeness that is to come from Warrior Writers Boston. I see a chapbook in the future, I'm excited to read it. Please post your writings from the workshop asap so you can share it with everyone and I can get my eyes on it. Ya know, when you can look at something, it settles in a different way. I look forward to it and I'm sure everyone else will be quite pleased. What a great performance we had. Take care of yourselves and we'll be in touch! More to come...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ghosts

This comes from a recent Warrior Writers workshop we did in Chicago. It's called "Ghosts."

Infantry boots pound the forest
Heavy from mud encrusting with the
Phantom of their prey

Sand grinds eternally at their soles as they
Kick down the midnight doors of apparitions that
Fall with the dust settling in their eyelets

A stray strand of concertina long buried in the clay
Gouges a toe as they
Run for cover from the shadow of fear

Infantry boots ask no questions on the run
They protect the feet and are each morning expected
To tell nothing of the day before

They are wiped, brushed, polished, shined, and buffed to
Create an illusion of youth, but beneath the polish or deep
In the tongue is always a speck with a story to tell

Saturday, June 19, 2010

familiar taste

Taste
Thousands of years of culture-
one struggle after another-
a different way of life.

Taste
Bringing back a flood of memories-
my senses alive-
my heart raw with exposure.

Taste
The bitter biting flood of remorse;
remembering how wrong I was.

Taste
My salty tears as she replies, "I thank God for everything".
The sentiment is familiar.




Hey all, I'm here in Chicago with some great brothers and sisters. I want to take this back and work on it but I thought I'd share it in it's freshness. This was inspired by a dinner prepared for us by an amazing Iraqi woman. Much love people. Holla if you hear me and if you hear me write and share. We need this community.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day

Another thing that I realized recently, something I have done for several years now. I hide from Memorial Day and all Memorial Day related activities. I even avoid people who knew I was in Iraq so they won't thank me for serving. There's some food for my brain thought. I know why I hide from July 4th... its noisy and sounds like we're being attacked a bit... or a lot. Memorial Day, however... I just pretend isn't a day. Its just a really AWESOME Monday. Its a break from Mondays at the office. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I realized over a series of events that comprised my life -- lets call it research that backs my thesis -- that I never want to tell you anything. I write with hopes of sharing nothing.

Scratch that, scratch that. I write with hopes of telling you tiny pieces of truth that are, yes, truth, but they are as truthful as a birdhouse hanging in a hardware store tells the truth about the nests the swallowtail will build for it's young in the wild.

I give you constructions, truths and emotions that I'm comfortable letting you in, sharing the not-so-secret "secret" of generic, shared human emotion. It wasn't hard for me to miss it, what I was doing... after all, it would have taken a very truthful look deep within me to see that bigger nugget of truth, the one that was afraid to let a single soul catch a glimpse, let alone my own introspective one, let alone a probing stare.

After all, what if someone should happen to see me, and not care for it at all? My lifelong terror, my lifelong headlong hurdling tripping stumbling careening RUN away from getting to know myself in order to ensure that no one else could either, and find me lacking, certainly didn't begin as any sort of protective measure against pain from the military and Iraq.

Oh, but how convenient a run that is when you find yourself with people all struggling with healing, all finding different ways to let it out and let it go, and me? Simply so well versed in the honest lie that I didn't realize I wasn't letting anything go.

The cracks have been showing their asses though, friends, they surely have. It slips, in conversation, i get angry, i get passionate, and after I say my piece and slip back into caring, lets make sure everyone feels loved and we all support each other and get along, I'm surprised at myself. I don't know where my anger or my feelings or words or any of it came from, I'm just... astonished.

Its as if lately my soul has been escaping and covering my eyes while it did a dance for strangers and then running back inside to recover.

Something tonight, however, has made me think harder and I'm fine with it. I need to relearn how to embrace my teenage angst in an adult context. High romance and torturous sorrow, check... end of the world, it is not, and there's the verging on adulthood portion of the roller coaster for you.

How does one stop pretending they are letting themselves experience this torturous and beautiful dive bar we live in on this one life we get and find that dividing line between pretending and experiencing?

How do I stop referring to myself like I'm just pondering questions out loud, referring to myself as "one this or that" instead of admitting that it is I, Me, Myself, the Person I Am, the One to Do the Things I Do...

"There's no poetry between us"
Said the paper to the pen
"And I get nothing for my trouble
But the ink beneath my skin"
If your clothes are getting weary
And your soul's gone out of style
Blame the miracle mile
And the bottom of the ladder
Paint your eyes and hide the tatters
What's the matter baby?
...I'm coming too

by gary jules. called "no poetry".

I used to write, a lot. constantly. I recently heard this song and it hit home, and that's when I started wondering where my poetry had gone.

It must have been when I stopped listening to my own heart to worry about your heartbeat, and your smile, and your ideas and your wants and needs... all of that wasn't me.

Lets go back now, just me and me, and figure it out again.

On second thought, maybe I could do it right and "everyone" can come. Perhaps there's more than just me out there that tries to write or draw or let it all out and something just doesn't seem to be clicking; as it happens, no one can take the trash out if the trash is hidden somewhere they can't get at it. I can't eat ice cream I put in the neighbors house either.

Late nights, random thoughts... time to start some things and roll.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

I sometimes go to the Vietnam memorial in Chicago to sit and think. I wrote this a few weeks ago based on one of those moments. It wasn't written with the Memorial Day holiday in mind, but I ended up calling it "Memorial Day," because that's what many days feel like.



Memorial Day

The names on the wall tell and the fountains
In the pool show who and how many died
I sit there sometimes thinking about my brothers and sisters
Young, dumb, proud, angry, scared, guilty just like me
I think of the people who are never represented at all
And of myself and sad that innocence can’t be etched into a wall

I’m there thinking and sitting and sad as a man jogs past
And a laughing young couple stops and the woman poses for a picture
A pigeon bathes in the pool of the dead listed on the wall and
I’m sitting and thinking and mad that
There is no respect for the sanctity of this place or the
Pain and sorrow and anger and guilt and fear to which it was built

I’m thinking and sitting and sad and mad when
I recognize the timbre of the voices falling into the pool
As that of all who were lost. They speak to me. “The sanctity of
This place exists not in the death it represents. Anger not that
Birds drink of our water or children run squealing across our plaza.
Life happens here. This is all we have ever wanted. Let life live.”

Friday, May 28, 2010

BLOG BLOG BLOG

We should be blogging more often. Even if it's just thoughts flooding your brain and you need to write them down--let them out. Free them from yourself in artistic ways--healthier ways : )

I'll share a personal story about the first and only time anyone mentioned PTSD to me--as in, they thought I had it. And I do, but this was not too long after returning from the deployment. This was when I thought it was fake and made up, and of course I didn't have it!

It was my grandmother, she's been a nurse for over 40 years now, still works, and lost my grandfather over 20 years ago. She's so strong and independent, and has been a close friend to me. G-ma knew everything. She'd seen it all and then some. Her best friend is a vietnam vet, suffering very badly and progressing quickly from agent orange. He can no longer speak, and she thinks he's not even able to write any more. And of course he can't walk.

So, here I sit, in almost full blown ptsd mode, and I am happy to say that I'm able to recognize my situation, and that I need some help along the way. Which I have been for almost 2 months now. Every day is a struggle, just not always a big struggle. Enjoy and cherish your "good" days!!!

Peace, love, & light
AS

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Something to lighten the mood during this time of memories and remembrance

I am a member of the writing club where I attend college. On this Wednesday, was something new. She said she was going to read the headline of a newspaper and give a little detail about the story.

The story is that a volunteer firefighter with his 3rd arson count. So you just go with it in whatever direction you want for 5 minutes. This is some ironic, slightly sarcastic humor.

It's exciting for me,
a love I've never known.
Been doing it for years--
ever since I've been grown.

The red and orange
that lights the sky.
The heat it emmitts,
brings a tear to my eye.

I'm a volunteer firefighter,
with a secret to hide.
One that nobody knows,
I keep it deep inside.

My job is to fight fires,
sometimes saving lives.
All I have to do
is get that blaze to die.

Yet here I sit,
with my one true desire.
Light, light, light it up,
I love to start fires.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Remembrance

I spread the word about this Memorial Day project at our recent SE IVAW Retreat in Savannah, GA. I am excited to do this! I know I have a couple of special people to add, and Anthony Brooks has too many. Please get your words and love out for others so that we can support each other during this time of remembrance. Also, over the Memorial Day weekend, Maggie and I have our interviews and photos appearing in Savannah Morning News. It's a special salute to women in the military. You can access it online. I also participated in a live interview/discussion with some older female vets. That will be online as well. I plugged WW and such, so hopefully she uses it and it gives us more visibility. Peace!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Memorial Pages to be released on WW website: please write/send love for those who have gone by May 26

Memorial Day is coming…

makes me think of

Doug Barber

Samantha Ewing

Tim Swanson

Jonny Millantz



These pages are dedicated in to the following friends

Our following friends

Who live on inside us, in our words, in our memories

with everlasting Love


----------------

Please send the following to us by MAY 26 - Warrior Writers Wednesdays - warriorwriters@gmail.com

1. Photo(s) (hopefully)
2. DOB
3. Date of passing
4. Writing (for, by, about them)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It’s sinking in

It’s sinking in
I’m in a country called Iraq
Not to visit, or vacation
I am living here in Iraq
Not just for a summer or a month
I’m here for a year in Iraq
My birthday will be spent here
My Anniversary will be celebrated here
Halloween, Thanksgiving,
Christmas and New Years
All will be celebrated in Iraq
A whole year I won’t ever get back
I’m not going to say it was wasted
There is something always to be done
There is something always learned
On the radio there are reports of killing
In the sky sound the loud thunders of helicopters
Outside the office the sun awaits to melt you
Seven days a week this place rapes me of
Always trying to get more from me
Helpless to those back home is what I feel
Everyday is a routine to this shit
Life in this army will tear you apart
Your mind, body and soul
No one back home will ever truly understand
It’s okay though they don’t need to
It’s my reality and it’s sinking in


~Dan Conerd~

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wilderness and Solitude

Yesterday at our workshop at the Vet Center in Brooklyn we discussed these topics. Then we wrote about it. You can too! Are you in search of solitude? How does solitude affect you? Are you trying to get into the wilderness? What are you searching for there? When you have been there, what is it like, what do you discover, think, feel? What does the wild offer you? ...all this while the noise of NYC bounced around us...

Here's what I wrote:

I'm not searching for solitude
just silence sometimes
I wonder if I can find myself
in the hustle and the rushing
If I sat down on the couch
and really looked at myself
peered down into my hands
what would the lines read
what do I really want and need?
Even in the slices of silence
there's all the chatter inside
and I just can't slow me down
and in trees and mountains
I search, never sitting still
for more than a moment
I"m only full of wonder
for what I really want from
solitude and wilderness
what I might answer
to these never-ending questions
there is so much life outside
and inside
yet, we remain focused
and together
and I'm deeply grateful


Lovella Calica (civilian, project founder)

NYC May Day events and performance!

SATURDAY, MAY DAY:
10 AM-3 PM: Wellness opportunities (Acupuncture, Massage, Reiki, etc.) at the Brooklyn Vet Center
11 AM-1 PM: Brunch/Lunch/Potluck with the community (invite your pals)
1-3 PM: Writing Workshop for Veterans at the Brooklyn Vet Center
4-6 PM: NYU’s Veterans Writing Workshop Reading at NYU’s Creative Writers House
58 West 10th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
7-11 PM: Warrior Writers Performance fundraiser in Williamsburg
7 Dunham Place, 4N , Brooklyn, NY 11211 – rsvp: sarah@rabbitmafia.com

Rabbit Mafia invites you to celebrate the artistic voices of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) with
a night of music, art and spoken word. Expect the unexpected with readings by veterans via Warrior Writers and an installation of works by Combat Paper.
Cocktails and appetizers will be provided by Rabbit Mafia, with recent ICE (Institute for Culinary Education) graduate and veteran Steve Mortillo.
$5 suggested donation / Artwork and books for sale

Friday, April 23, 2010

spring ahead...usin our imaginations...

I imagine...

an editing collective...

a giant exhibit of veterans visual artwork...

jam sessions, singing and making songs...

Warrior Writers Summer Retreat – West Coast – 1st week of August, 1-8...

Warrior Writers Shwag (t-shirts, stickers, pins)...

Warrior Writers Fundraisers this summer – for the retreat...

Veterans writing in all kinds of magazines and newsletters and journals...


get in touch with each other/us/you/we/they/all...we gonna make it happen!



lets do it!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

These Boots

This is a work in progress. For some odd reason-when I'm in spanish class I start scribbling about these boots-my boots-ur boots. Any suggestions are welcome-and constructive crit too!

These boots were never comfortable
and they always meant work.
I must have been crazy to want a pair
so desperately.
Little did I know-
they would change my life forever.
I loved my boots though.
Took great pride in the fabulous shine.
Tramped all over South Korea.
That sure was a good time,
yet lots of training-I was glad to leave
behind.
They've been everywhere man.
Georgia was the next stop.
These boots.
These boots are tan;
stained with the sandy dirt, sewage, and blood.
Not my blood.
That sentence makes me smile.
Not a smile energized with happiness,
rather gratefulness-for it wasn't me.
These boots have walked upon the Holy Land.
But I couldn't find anything holy about it.
These boots have become a part of me.
I have grown comfortable in these boots,
and they comfort me.
These boots carry me from place to place.
These boots have a story.
One they'll never tell.

AS

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thoughts from Philly Retreat

Here are the haikus that I had written down but never posted. Enjoy!

Standing on my box
looking at my enemy
smash the mirror please


Energy passes
from one of us to the next
as if one big breath


Love is warm and kind
thinking of you all the time
your hand rests in mine


Thanks for the healing
you have put my mind at ease
calming my bad energy


Tired of this war
tired of this fight for oil
must rally for PEACE

Monday, April 5, 2010

Help Wanted

Independently open minded,
yet highly stereotyped.
Typically loud, but keeps
secret better than anyone.
A foggy window,
yet an open book.
Independently,
lonely at times.

Friday, April 2, 2010

March Madness

And that it was! March was a tough month for me, which is why I never posted the haikus written in my notebook, nor did I write a single thing that wasn't asked of me at school. Depression, weeks of it, sleepless nights, and reclusiveness. We must learn to not hide or barracade ourselves during times like these. This, I have learned.

I have found strength within the good friends I surrounded myself with and have gotten myself the help I need to continue healing. I will definitely be posting this month.......stay tuned for future blogs! LOL

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Myth Makers

This is a little bit of the story of why I joined the military, which was the topic we Warrior Writers in Chicago decided to get into last time we met.

The myth makers do their work in the bright light of day like
Thieves creeping about in the darkness of our development
To rob us of our ability to question and
They show up in schools and cartoons and books and on waves that fly invisibly
Across the air and into our skin to tell us
Things that eventually make us want to kill

The myth makers stand us in groups as 6-year-old children
Who don’t know what “allegiance” means and make us pledge it
To a flag worthy and deserving of a proper burial while telling us
Our human classmates sometimes deserve a good punch in the nose
Instead of being taught

The myth makers are sure there is never enough time in the school year
To learn about our fathers’ war in Vietnam and
Only half the story of our grandfathers’ war in Europe and Japan
And not about the screams and why our fathers never want to talk
About their war in Vietnam and our grandfathers remain
Silent on their war in Europe and Japan

I wish I had listened more closely to my silent grandfather


Monday, March 22, 2010

some things never change, you know.


"7 years.
broken engagement,
basic training,
marriage,
baby,
pending divorce,
heart ache upon heart ache upon heart ache
it is so hard
to put 7 years into a thought let
alone these 24 and some change..."

Thoughts spill from my head with no degree of coherency. Lately I can't remember things I just said, what I am supposed to do, or what I am doing. Anger seems to come easy, though -- anger and pain. Anger at...
Lies from politicians.
Accepting to live in a framework of these lies by my fellow Americans.
The Orphans in the middle-east thanks to work we have done.
The occupation of Palestine,
how we support Israel's genocide.
Anger at my failed marriage,
Anger at being a single mom now,
Anger at making certain choices (but no regret) and
Anger at being forced into making certain choices.

Pain?
Residual.

Residue.

I went to Basic Training in 2004 for my own selfish reasons, not because i even bought into the "reasoning" for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I just didn't care.

I care now.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Reflecting on seven years.

Looking back on the Anniversary of the War in Iraq conjures up a lot of strong emotions; anger that it has continued so long, disappointed in the results of war we took part in, guilt that so much time has passed that even we think of it less, or maybe you don't think of it less and today those wounds feel as fresh as the day you were there.

Whatever your feeling about the seven years that have come and gone write about it.
Write about what has changed,
What hasn't changed,
What you think, worry, or wonder about.

Friends, write and share. Love and miss you all,

Maggie

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's ok because we were young and in love and we survived Iraq so why couldn't we have beat these odds.

I have so much to do, so much
to feel and say and think, so
much to accomplish to be
so able to hold my head up that I
cry because I know you won't be there and that I
have failed in a way because we have
failed
so much.

So much of this I can say I
don't think so much of this is
my fault but every decision I make
is
my choice and I know so much of this
path we are on is because we both put
so many feet in front of the other and
walked
so much.

So some days now are much too much to
be alone in and some days are much to
good to not share with you but so much
now I realize I held on to much of just
the idea of you and I and the idea of
doing everything "perfect" but, it doesn't work
like that,
so much.

no, not so much.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This is my Weapon, This is my Gun, This is my Daughter, So we Keep Moving On...


I wasn't able to attend the Warrior Writers retreat earlier this year due to various obligations and I haven't posted on here for a while, so I thought I'd choose a topic from the retreat and slowly get back into posting on here. This is the topic:

What was your relationship to your weapon? Did you love it, hate it, feel safer with it? feel scary with it? Did you use it as a hat rack, as a weapon, as a security blanket. Was it an M-16, SAW, 9-mil? or what?

Tell us about you and your weapon. What kind of weapons do you use now
?

In Field exercises the M-16 went into my sleeping bag with me and I cuddled with it because it was all i had. I'm not sure why but a fire arm has always made me feel safe. I was in jROTC in high school and shot bolt action .22s competitively, so that led to familiarity. Familiarity is interesting -- with my weapon, it didn't lead to contempt. It didn't lead to loving it, or hating it. No hat rack M-16, no neglected dust gatherer, either. No superior performance with it, no poor performance -- always in the middle.

It didn't make me feel tougher, either.

I always wanted to carry a handgun. I read a lot of true crime, I what the news and read the police blotter, and I know that those self-defense classes at the Y aren't really going to help me overcome someone who surprises me and is bigger and stronger than I. I always wanted to be able to defend myself with any necessary means.

I'm a survivor, and a weapon, an M-16 that I lugged around Iraq with me and never once fired, was just another thing I had.

I've been out for several years now, and I've gone back and forth on the issue of purchasing a handgun or putting together a rifle or purchasing a shotgun, even. It is really not foremost in my mind now. I have a daughter. I'm getting a divorce. I'm a full-time student with barely a part time job. I'm 24 and just moved back in with my parents. The positive side? Rent free, among other things. Reconnecting with my family after so many years being gone and missing so much of my little brother's lives (they were all grown up by the time I got out of the army, practically).

My current weapon? My weapons...? My mind, my heart, my soul, my cliches. The power I hold in my feminine amazonian spirit, the love of my daughter, the width of my hips and depth of my heart.
My goals that I mold and move forward on. My intelligence which is not diminished by my gender, my age, or my poverty. My semi-ability to appreciate good and bad situations for the experiential living they provide instead of wallowing in the bitterness they suggest. My weapons are not of flesh and blood but of passion and strength. The M-16 I sleep with now is comfort in the knowledge that I will always carry on.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Fun-a-days

I decided I would write a haiku for each of my Warrior Writers throughout the days of this month. Here are the first few, I will add others as comments to this post.
Peace

Inspired and refreshed
My family teaches me well
Strength to stay in it


Lovella

Small but mighty love
You're bringing us together
Rest from job well done


Amber

New ideas fly round
We are action potential
One step at a time


JT

Trying to know you
I saw darkness through your eyes
Now warmth radiates

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

3 haiku for you

February 28, 2010

more quiet home now
you all drive the hours home
friend: you are my home


March 1, 2010

It is Monday now
kinda quiet around here
far away but close


March 2, 2010

more couch time today
my body is still aching
might rain; I'll stay dry


-LC

(send yours!! - FUN-A-DAY....artclash.com)

Monday, March 1, 2010

reflections on our retreat

The Winter Wellness Retreat 2010

hey my loves,
i ran out of most of my words by sunday morning
so i spoke
silently, quietly, sarcastically
less
and
i watched and was amazed
and proud
our next steps
a day of rest
either outside
or on the couch
seriously
legs up, body sore, dirty or clean
we rest
we laugh
we tell stories
we listen
we reflect
i love you
my brothers
my sisters
friends
community

-LC

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Letter. Sat. pm exercise 2

Letters can be a really powerful tool for expression, especially if they wont be sent. Write a letter.....

-To yourself ten years from now.
-To yourself before you joined the military.
-To your family as if you were still in or deployed.
-To an Iraqi or Afghan
-To anyone you want.

Post your letter or something that came from it.

Post post post.

How / Why I joined the Military Sat. pm exercise 1

Think back to when you joined the Military. What kind of person were you? What did you care about? How have you changed? Write a story about joining the service.

Free-write for five minutes.

Post your free-write or something that came from it.

Write and post!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Me and my Weapon. Friday am exercise 2

Everyone has a little different take on their relationship to their weapon. Nate Lewis talks about being troubled by his excitement about his weapon ("Me and My Rifle" in "re-making sense or warriorwriters.org).

What was your relationship to your weapon? Did you love it, hate it, feel safer with it? feel scary with it? Did you use it as a hatrack, as a weapon, as a security blanket. Was it an M-16, SAW, 9-mil? or what?

Tell us about you and your weapon. What kind of weapons do you use now?

The most rediculous thing I had to do. Firday am exercise 1

Nate Lewis wrote a funny piece about shit burning detail. (check it out in "Re-Making Sense") We talked about that and all the other "shitty" things soldiers have to do. This is the real everyday bs that we all went through. It's not glamourous and it really goes against the hero image of the soldier. Write your own experience with the shitty, rediculous, or the every day mundane. Use the words, It would have been funny if it weren't so sad, or, the most rediculous thing I had to do was...

Enjoy, write, post.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lost or Stolen friday pm exersize 2

We all have lost things or had things taken from us as a result of our time in the military. What did you lose or have taken from you? How has it changed your life? How are you going to get it back or fill that space with something new?

Free-write for five minutes, don't stop, don't get caught up.

Post your free-write or something that came out of it. What surprised you? What struck a chord?

Write and share.

Sensual Discription friday pm session exercise 1

Discribe a person, object, or experience from your time in the military. Free write for five minutes concentrating on the sight, sound, snd smell of whatever you write about. Be descriptive and concentrate on the concrete. Try to show us what you saw.

Check out Garett Rapenhagen's "Dirt" in Re-making sense or on warriorwriters.org

Post your free writing, thoughts, or finished work. Let other people know what you like about theirs.

Write Write Write. Post Post Post.

Warrior Writers, Participate in Philly Retreat No Matter Where You are.

Warrior Writers are gathering in Philly for writing workshops, healing, and community but no matter where you are, you can come too. Look on for us to post the same writing exercises that we use here. Participate in the workshop with us by sharing your post. If you have problems posting I may need to add you to the list of contributors. Call or text 912-596-8484 to get added. Keep your eyes peeled, more to follow-

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saying Hello...

Good day! I am Sara Beining,24 years old, I am from Indiana, and I have a lovely 18 month old daughter. I am currently an English and Anthropology Major at Indiana-Purdue University with a concentration in Writing. I got involved in IVAW back in 2007 at a protest at Kennebunkport, Maine and have enjoyed all my interaction with IVAW since.I was deployed to Iraq for all of 2006 and after Iraq got married, had a child, and am getting divorced currently. It has been a bumpy road but I am excited to keep moving on and see what life has in store for me and those around me.

Friday, February 5, 2010

In the spirit of "let's get acquainted"...

Hello, I’m Mary Ann Schallert, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Ft. Lewis Chapter in Washington State. I am a US Navy veteran, a retired telecommunications professional and an almost lifelong author of short stories and poetry. I was an English major at college “way back when”… although my writing expertise and inspiration come mostly from real life. I am a regular contributor to Members Speak at ivaw.org, as well as GotPoetry.com where I post under the pen-name “maryanns”. If you visit GotPoetry, you will find many of my topical works showcased there. I also have a recently published book available at Amazon.com… “Poet on the Edge of the Back of Beyond”. The book contains poetry, short stories and photographs of life on the west coast. I very much look forward to working with Warrior Writers and I’m excited to become personally acquainted with many more members when the Warrior Writers workshop comes to Seattle. Very best wishes to all, Mary Ann

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hey Everyone!

I'm Amber Stone, and I currently live in Hinesville, GA. My husband is still active duty so he's deployed. I love to write poetry and am an English Comm major-so I've had a few creative writing classes and such.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lets get aquainted

Ok, so we are here not only to blog and/or share our writing but we are also here to build a community. I know that I am pretty clueless about who is following this blog so, lets do a little introduction/reintroduction. Just say who you are, where your from, What your interest is as a writer or artist, and anything else you want other people in this community to know about you.

I'm Maggie Martin, I live in Savannah, GA right now. I have taken some creative writing classes in school and went to the Warrior Writers retreat in Martha's Vineyard which got me hooked on Lovella, Warrior Writers, Combat Paper, and all the other people who are involved and so amazing.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fear of The Unknown

The smell hangs on your
soggy cargo pocket-
like the rain that's
drenching your boots.

You try to shake it as
if it's a fly on your foot-
but it only makes you feel
colder.

You press your hand
against the warm clay door-
it vibrates-as if
to say: don't enter-
they're here.

And the moment comes
when you slam into it.
Knees weak with it,
a tiny drop falls

giving you just enough-
to raise your weapon
and take perfect aim-
for there is no more.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This Weeks Writing Exercise

Hello friends,
Lovella has asked me to post some writing exercises for the weeks while she is out of the country so here goes. Also I want to work over the next week on getting everyone plugged in to the happenings of Warrior Writers right now. If you can't figure out how to blog on this site call me at (912)596-8484. If you want more information on the Warrior Writers training for trainers happening in Philly the last weekend of Feb call me or write to maggiemartin1@gmail

Writing Exercise:

There are a lot of difficulties in writing about ourselves; we get caught up in the facts of the situation, the background info, how certain things made us feel, and we have concerns over how others will perceive our stories. Besides that, sometimes the facts of a situation still don't add up to the feeling of that same situation.

Tim O'brien writes what he calls biographical fiction, taking parts of his experience he adds fictional elements to create the "true war story" the story that truly captures the feeling if not the exact facts of the war in Vietnam.

Take time this week to write a true war story or a poem about someone other than yourself. Maybe your story is about a friend from your time in service, a friend you have made in IVAW/ WW, or even about someone you despise/d. You can write their story from your own point of view or get creative and write from their point of view. Don't limit yourself to the facts, write whatever reflect the true feeling of the story.

Have fun with this exercise, explore new territory, if you don't have any ideas try reading some Winter Soldier testimony and see how it feels to creatively interpret someone else's story.

Monday, January 18, 2010

couldn't write this anywhere else

to be brief, to be short... I'm getting mad by what is going on in Haiti. I know I should feel sympathy for their country... I kinda feel like a monster. I do, actually. I recognize that its a tragedy, but for some reason my brain won't let me get past certain aspects. Such as, Haiti has more NGO's and gets more aid than any country in the world and yet they are still not developing properly. The reason there were so many casualties is because of their very poor infrastructure. Too much aid is not good for a country's development, that's been documented... but see, there I go again. I am so mad at so many things that I can't feel the compassion. Our government is a bundle of failure. I think, if i can pinpoint, what I am so mad about is that there are new tragedies every week on a massive scale and we jump on this band wagon to help these and help those, and it works out so conveniently for the government to keep our attention so distracted with all the calamity in the world. i wonder why we should help Haiti when there are so many other places and peoples in devastation... and i feel like a jerk. I just wanted to share, wanted to get it out... I will probably write a poem about it or something... I just figured the only people I could come close to admitting that to is other veterans.