27 December 2012

Blog Year-in-Review: Thanks for a Great 2012!

I figured 2012 was going to be a slow year. The big deployment story, after all, was "over" in 2011.

Boy, was I wrong!

At the risk of sounding un-humble, here are a few highlights of my 2012. Some are Big News. Others are Small and Quirky. Thanks to all of you—readers, sponsors, and fellow military writers—who helped make these and other great things happen. In the coming new year, I look forward to continuing to explore with you ways in which citizen-soldiers past and present—as well as their families—can be remembered, supported, and celebrated.

In the meantime, best wishes to you and yours for a safe and rewarding holiday season!

Encouraged (goaded?) by fellow sarcastiste Peter Van Buren, author of "We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People," I entered and won a snarky feeding frenzy conducted by the Washington Post's "In the Loop" blog. The topic? How to repurpose the 104-acre U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad, and what to name it. One of my answers: "Turn it into the Fertile Crescent Community College. (Sports chant: 'Go Tigris!')" 
That still cracks me up. Memo to self: Bring the funny more often in 2013.
Published somer reflections on a service-dog graduation. In January 2013, the essay will also appear in an educational text on writing and reading comprehension. Here's to hoping that it is used as an example of good writing, rather than the other kind.

Nominated as a finalist in the 2012 Milbloggie awards, sponsored by Milblogging.com. This year was in the "Reporter" category, rather than as a "Veteran." Back to my journalistic roots, or back to bad habits? You make the call!
Reviewed "Memorial Day," a movie that featured some real-life Red Bull soldiers. In addition to the emotional and thought-provoking narrative, it was good to see the patch up on the proverbial Big Screen. By comparison, PowerPoint doesn't even come close. Have decided to make watching this movie a yearly tradition.
Published an article about legal issues regarding psychiatric service animals on campus in The Journal of Military Experience, Vol. 2. Here's the skinny in 50 words or less: In the United States, there are only two questions you can legally ask of a dog handler who is attempting to access public services. Make sure that your security, admissions, faculty, and other personnel know what they are. Otherwise, you might get sued. Or, at the very least, a bad reputation.

Presented a workshop on how to write a military blog during the first Military Experience and the Arts Symposium at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Ky. Awesome event, which brought together veterans, artists, and arts organizations. Writing, painting, dancing, reading! Looking forward to another—maybe next year?
Published a very short article in the July/August issue of Midwest Living magazine, about the Tactical Explosives Detection Dogs ("TEDD") and handlers deployed with the Ohio and Michigan National Guard's 37th Infantry "Buckeye" Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.). The article encouraged readers to send letters and messages of encouragement to the troops and their dogs. The editors were overwhelmed with the response. Can't wait to tell you the rest of the story ...
Read aloud the names of 96 Iowa service members and others who have been killed since 2003. The roll call takes place before the annual 5K Iowa Remembrance Walk/Run in Central Iowa. More than 800 registrants participated at this year's event! An awesome, humbling experience.

Moderated two panel discussions about military writing at the inaugural "Sangria Summit" conference, Denver. Colo. Great information and inspiration not only on writing, but on getting published. There are two more planned for 2013!
Won the first-ever Military Reporters & Editors (M.R.E.) journalism contest for independent bloggers. Ironically, given the judges' comments about not all bloggers wearing pajamas, I am writing this year-in-review post wearing exactly that.

Participated as cast-member of "Telling: Des Moines," a stage production that presented the personal stories of eight Central Iowa military service members, veterans, and families. Part of the growing number of productions nationwide facilitated by The Telling Project, Austin, Texas, the Des Moines production was underwritten by the Des Moines Area Community College ("DMACC").

Published a poem in "Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors." Have never called myself a warrior. Have never called myself a poet. Am now, however, calling myself a "warrior-poet." Household-6 isn't buying it.

Attended a workshop at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. called "Common Ground: The Media, the Military, and Post-traumatic Stress." The event was sponsored by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and administered by the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan. Lots of insights to share!
Thanks again for reading the Red Bull Rising blog! Have a safe and happy New Year's holiday, and I'll see you "on the objective" next year!

Like the Red Bull says: "Attack! Attack! Attack!"


  1. Proud to be a long time reader and supporter of you Sherpa

    Keep up the skeer!


  2. Wow, it has been quite a year for you! I look forward to reading about your continued adventures in 2013.


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