30 October 2013

Indiana Art Center Opens Veterans' Exhibition Nov. 1

"Baghdad Guardhouse" by Skip Rohde
Oil on Canvas
 An upcoming Michigan City, Ind., exhibit demonstrates how some artist-veterans are breaching obstacles between military and civilian life, work, and culture. "Citizen * Soldier Citizen" opens with a reception at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts' Hyndman Gallery, Fri., Nov. 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. 

Michigan City is about 60 miles east of Chicago. The exhibit runs thorough Feb. 9, 2014.

Independent scholar, archivist, and art consultant Tara Leigh Tappert curated the works presented, which will include 27 artists from the Combat Paper Project and the Joe Bonham Project.

"The exhibit is arranged by themes—RECORD, REACT, REHABILITATE, and REMEMBER—chosen because the artwork selected reflected experiences by people who had served in the military," Tappert notes. She offers two examples to illustrate:
In REACT, we have a ceramic sculptural piece by Jesse Albrecht called "Ninevah" that gives geography, archeology, and cultural history lessons. Albrecht describes Iraq as "a muse that stalks me." His piece offer a glimpse of the country across time. The ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh—the largest and most powerful city in antiquity—is situated across the Tigris River from present day Mosul, where Albrecht served as a medic. 
In REMEMBER, "Dust Memories," an installation of 39 pieces—19 diptychs and one additional piece, in a mix of media (drawings, paintings, and collages). Aaron Huges attempts to communicate the ambiguous and anxious moments of deployment. Conceived as a repeating cycle, the series is a metaphor for the artist’s own continually repeating thoughts of his experiences in Iraq.
Participating artists also include mil-blogger and artist Skip Rohde. Rohde's work downrange has previously been mentioned on the Red Bull Rising blog here. The artist also recently presented an online slide show of his "Faces of Afghanistan" portraits here. Included in the Michigan City exhibit will be Rohde's oil-painting "Baghdad Guardhouse," pictured above.

Other featured artists include: Robin Brooks, Thomas Dang, Tif Holmes, Ash Kyrie, Malachi Muncy, Jaeson "Doc" Parsons, Giuseppe Pellicano, Donna Perdue, Patrick Sargent, Phillip Schladweller, Zach Skiles, Ehren Tool, and Andrew Wade Nunn.

Running concurrently at the center through Feb. 24, 2014 is "Theater of Conflict." Presented in the Brincka/Cross and Robert Saxton Galleries, the exhibit features artwork from the center's permanent collection, which are focused on themes of political protest, revolution, and war. According to press materials:
  • William Weege's highly graphic prints are a chronicle of the unrest of the 1960s with a focus on political protest and the Vietnam War.
  • Oskar Graf, a German artist and highly regarded master of the etching process, presents snap shots of World War II.
  • Raphael Canogar, a Spanish print maker, features bold, heavy and graphic work that deals with political struggle and revolution in Spain in the 1960s.
The Lubeznik Center for the Arts is located at 101 W. 2nd Street, Michigan City, Ind. The center is open weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m; weekends 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

28 October 2013

Veterans, Artists Seek to Print Books on Forgotten War

A group of comic-book artists, veterans, and military supporters have launched a crowd-funding effort to make two graphic novels commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War available to the public. Originally created on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense for a June 27, 2013 commemoration, the graphic novels were never printed—possibly due to budget sequestration.

Coincidentally, the Korean War is sometimes called "The Forgotten War," because of the lack of public attention it received during and after the conflict.

The project fund-raising page is here.

Clayton Murwin, founder of Heroes Fallen Studios Inc., is the comic-book impresario who spearheaded the project. "These stories need to be told, they need to be put out there for the public, so that they'll be a lasting legacy," he says in a 7-minute fund-raising video recently posted on Kickstarter.

Since copyright has been returned to the artists, Murwin and his fellow creators are seeking just $2,500 to help prepare the two finished, 50-page volumes for publication via a print-on-demand service. Depending on final production costs, says Murwin, the volumes should retail between $15 and $25 each. The fund-raising campaign ends 12 noon Eastern Standard Time, Sat., Nov. 16, 2013.

Participants contributing $5 or more will receive a copy of the 72-page comic "Untold Stories From Iraq & Afghanistan," a collection of veterans' war stories and pin-ups published by Heroes Fallen in 2011.

Contributors to the Korean War volumes include: Jerry Bingham, Valierie Finnigan, Fletcher Horton, Levi EricksonScott Lee, Richard Meyer, Travis MillerClayton MurwinDan MonroeTom Orzechowski, Brian Shearer, Le Beau L. Underwood, and Eric White. A number of contributors are military veterans themselves.

Murwin recommends the books for most ages—the graphic novels aren't too graphic—although he cautions parents to preview the works before handing them off to younger children. After all, one can't accurately depict war without depicting a certain amount of violence. "[The project is] not so much about the violence," Murwin says, however, "it's about the sacrifice and dedication these veterans put through their service."

"Korean War, Vol. 1" tells stories centered around the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, which occurred in November and December 1950. The book is written and illustrated by Richard C. Meyer, colored by Eric White, and lettered by Tom Orzechowski. Meyer is a U.S. veteran of the Iraq War, having served in the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment from 2000 to 2004. He served in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2010, and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He previously wrote and illustrated the 2008 comic "No Enemy, but Peace," which tells the story how U.S. Marine Sgt. Marco Martinez earned the Silver Star at the 2003 Battle of At-Tarmiyah, Iraq.

Meyer's Chosin Reservoir narrative moves from the ground war to that of Lt. j.g. Jesse Brown, the U.S. Navy's first African-American aviator, as well as his squadron-mate Lt. Thomas Hunter. Flying carrier-based F4U "Corsairs," Brown and Hunter were providing air-support to U.S. forces encircled at Chosin Reservoir when Brown's aircraft was hit by enemy fire. Hudner deliberately crash-landed to aid Brown, who was trapped in his cockpit. Hudner was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions, while Brown was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

"Korean War, Vol. II" comprises four stories derived from interviews with Korean War veterans conducted by Gulf War veteran and PTSD-awareness activist Scott Lee. Those stories include:
  • "Valor," a story of U.S. Army Cpl. Rodolfo "Rudy" Hernandez, who was once declared dead after the defense of Hill 420, about 15 miles south of the current border. During that action, Hernandez fixed his bayonet and charged, killing six enemy fighters before losing consciousness from grenade, bayonet and bullet wounds. He is a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
For more information about Heroes Fallen Studios Inc., click here. Or visit the organization's blog here.

For the Heroes Fallen Inc. Facebook page, click here.

For the Korean War project's Kickstarter page, click here. For a fund-raising video, see below:

23 October 2013

High School to Memorialize 'Red Bull' Soldier, Alumnus

A group of Waverly-Shell Rock (Iowa) Senior High School students, assisted by social studies teachers, will celebrate the life of a citizen-soldier and 2009 alumnus in an upcoming Veterans Day ceremony, according to a news report by the Waterloo (Iowa) Courier-Journal.

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan, April 20, 2011 - U.S. Army Spc. Jacob Ketelaar (left), 
an infantryman from Waverly, Iowa, and U.S. Army Sgt. Edward Kane (right), 
a team leader from Portland, Ore., pay their final respects at the memorial stand 
of Spc. Donald Lee Nichols during an April 18, 2011 service at FOB Mehtar Lam.
Photo by U.S. Army Spc. James Wilton, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs

Iowa Army National Guard Spc. Donald L. Nichols, 21, of Shell Rock was killed April 13, 2011 in Eastern Afghanistan's Laghman Province, when an Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.) detonated under the vehicle in which he was traveling.

Nichols was a member of headquarters company, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment (1-133rd Inf.), headquartered in Waterloo.

While attending Waverly-Shell Rock High School, Nichols had been on the wrestling team. He enlisted in the National Guard shortly after his 18th birthday.

According to the newspaper, the student-led assembly will take place 10:30 a.m., Nov. 11, 2013. During the ceremony, a memorial marker will be placed at the school. The event will take approximately 25 minutes.

In a 2011 memorial service for Nichols conducted in Afghanistan, battalion commander Lt. Col. Steve Kremer said: "Spc. Nichols is a true testament of being a great American with his decision to support this country, knowing that he would deploy to Afghanistan. Spc. Nichols will be remembered as a hero, a friend and a great soldier."

Nichols was one of four Iowa citizen-soldiers killed during the 2010-2011 deployment of Iowa's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division to Afghanistan.

17 October 2013

PTSD-awareness Video 'Dillion' Now Free On-line

A 45-minute documentary about an Iowa National Guard citizen-soldier who killed himself months after returning home from deployment is now available for viewing on-line free and in its entirety. Dillion Naslund, 25, of Galva, Iowa was a member of 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division.

The film "Dillon" debuted on Kansas Public Television station KPTS in early September, and was the subject of a previous post on the Red Bull Rising blog. To view the film, click here.

As presented on-line, Dillion's parents Jeff and Lisa Naslund appear in a 15-minute studio interview following the film. The Naslunds discuss how they hope the documentary might inspire other soldiers, veterans, military families and friends to seek help, information, and resources.

The subtitle of the documentary is "The true story of a soldier's battle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [P.T.S.D.]."

"Dillion came home, and after the dust had settled from the parties and the 'welcome homes,' you could see things were turning the wrong way," Jeff Naslund says at one point in the documentary. "He was having a hard time coping with life. He was trying to put that puzzle together. Every time he'd slip a piece in, it seemed like two more would slip out away from him. He was trying hard, but he couldn't pull it back together [...]"

The film succeeds most as a heartfelt tribute to a fallen friend and family member, as a warning to watch loved ones for signs of suicidal intent, and as a celebration of various community-based efforts to help other soldiers, veterans, and families.

Groups featured in the documentary include:
As a work of documentary history, "Dillion" also provides insight into the life and values of modern-day small-town Iowa. This is an America that few still have opportunity or privilege to see, and that non-Midwesterners may find as foreign as wars fought overseas.

As a piece of journalism, the film is more problematic. To avoid encouraging "copycat" suicides, newspaper and broadcast reporters usually try to avoid focusing on funerals, or on grieving family and friends. "Dillion" features plenty of both. This is a documentary, however, not a news report produced under deadline. If parents or military unit leaders are concerned about the risk of inspiring copycat behaviors, "Dillion" might more ideally viewed as part of a guided conversation with youth or veterans, with professional or trained resources present.

(For suggestions on writing or talking about suicide, visit resources such as Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, and ReportingOnSuicide.org.)

In other ways, however, "Dillion" hits the right beats:
  • Suicide is never a rational decision.
  • Often, there are months of related, visible behaviors such as drinking and depression. Family and friends can often help.
  • There are always resources that can help. Do not give up.
Ulitmately, the film stands as a testament to one family's desire to grow something good out of a heart-breaking bad.

Regardless of how or where it is viewed, let's hope that "Dillion" results in fewer stories like it.

*****

The Veterans Crisis Line is a toll-free and on-line resource staffed by trained Department of Veterans Affairs personnel, who can confidentially assist soldiers, veterans, families and friends toward local help and resources.

According to the Veterans Crisis Line website:
1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.

15 October 2013

Veterans to Tell War Stories on Guthrie Theater Stage

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Six Midwestern military veterans will tell on stage their tales of service and sacrifice in "Telling: Minnesota," presented in two weekend performances at the Guthrie Theater's Dowling Studio, Minneapolis, Oct. 19-20.

The performances are free, but tickets are required. For more information, click here.

As in other Telling Project productions, playwrights generate scripts based on long hours of interviews with the veterans themselves. Then, they work with those veterans to interweave stories into a unique, 3-act stage performance.

Since 2008, Telling Project performances have been conducted in more than 30 cities and eight states nationwide. This will be the first in Minnesota. For more information on the Austin, Texas-based non-profit organization, visit: thetellingproject.org.

According to press materials, "Telling: Minnesota" will feature stories that:
range from capture and escape in Southeast Asia and Scud missile attacks in Saudi Arabia, to accompanying Lynn Anderson to the Marine Corps Ball, flying injured soldiers out of Iraq and Afghanistan, [and] repairing helicopters in South Korea and military sexual trauma in the Army. "Telling: Minnesota" is an unvarnished look at the heroism, absurdity, horror, wonder and banality of military life as told by the Minnesotans to whom these things happened.
The 10 a.m. performance on Sat., Oct. 19 is reserved for service members, veterans, and military families. The performance will be followed by a reception for attendees in the Pohlad Lobby.

The 1 p.m. performance on Sun., Oct. 20 is open to the general public. This performance will be followed by a short discussion.

With its stories of modern wars and homecomings, "Telling: Minnesota" complements the Guthrie's production of "An Iliad," a 2010 adaptation of Homer's ancient Greek saga by Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare. The one-man play is currently performed by Stephen Yoakam, and runs through Oct. 20. The play made its Guthrie Theater debut in spring 2013.

For more details on "An Iliad," including ticket sales information, click here.

"Telling: Minnesota" is made possible by a generous grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, with additional support from The Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation.

In November, The Telling Project will also present other productions and events nationwide:
*****

COMING TO ST. PAUL STAGE IN 2014: TWO MILITARY-THEMED PLAYS

In 2014, Minnesota theater patrons should be on the lookout for two more military-related stage productions, these from the History Theatre in St. Paul.

The first is a work based on Tim O'Brien's autobiographical collection of Vietnam tales "The Things We Carried." Adapted by Minnesota writer Jim Stowell, the one-man play will be performed by Steven D’Ambrose.

The play will be presented March 15 to April 6, 2014. For details, click here.

Also at the History Theatre will be "Lonely Soldiers: Women at War in Iraq." Written by Helen Benedict, the script is distilled from the real-life words of eight U.S. veterans of the Iraq War.

The play will be presented concurrently with "The Things We Carried," March 16 to April 6, 2014. Click here for details.

11 October 2013

M.R.E. Journalism Winners Tell National Guard Stories

In the Military Reporters and Editors' (M.R.E.) 2013 journalism contest, retired Nevada Army National Guard soldier and mil-blogger Steven Ranson has been recognized for his coverage of citizen-soldiers deployed to Afghanistan. Ranson's work was often featured in the Lahontan Valley News of Fallon, Nev., where he is also general manager and editor.

"[Ranson's] prolific coverage of Nevada Guardsmen and women serving in Afghanistan succeeded in what he said was his goal: To 'put a face to the name' while embedding with the units, even paying his own way to the war zone," judges wrote.

Closer to 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division (34th Inf. Div.) territory, Minneapolis (Minn.) Star-Tribune reporters Mark Brunswick and McKenna Ewen were recognized runner-up in the 2013 contest's On-Line category. The distinction recognized the team's video coverage of a Wisconsin National Guard soldier's struggles with mental illness and the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital system.

"This well-reported, nicely written news feature and accompanying moving video will leave you infuriated and perplexed about how help was sought — but didn’t come [...]" judges wrote.
"[Iraq War veteran] Blake Uddin was sent home, apparently because it wasn’t felt he was suicidal, and told to return in a week. Days later, he tried hijacking a car and succeeded with another, then wound up pulling over and running in traffic on a busy highway, listening, he said, to the voices in his head.“ He was eventually hit, taken the hospital and arrested. (A judge three months later ruled that Uddin was not responsible for his actions that day because of his mental illness).
For a full list and citations of 2013 contest winners, click here.

Awards will be presented at the organization's annual 2-day conference in Washington, D.C. Also on the conference agenda are panels on:
  • "Defense Compensation Reform and the Quadrennial Defense Review
  • Authors discuss successful book publication
  • "The Asia-Pacific Pivot — strategy and force requirements"
  • An off-the-record roundtable with military Public Affairs Officers (P.A.O.)
  • "Twice betrayed: Military sexual assault"
  • "Women in combat – An update from the services"
For more information on the conference agenda, click here.

Calling it a "Furlough Special," the MRE board of directors recently announced reduced the price of the 2013 conference to $50 for both members and non-members. Click here for registration information.

*****

UPDATE: On Fri., Oct. 11, the MRE organization announced the 2013 conference would be cancelled due to the effects of the continued governmental shutdown on Department of Defense presenters.

09 October 2013

During Furlough, We Can Hold the Line on Values

Editor's note: In a week of politics and shutdowns and furloughs, Washington National Guard citizen-soldier Gabriel Russell posted the following essay to friends and family via Facebook. It is noteworthy for its clear voice, and articulation of values. He has graciously granted permission to present the essay as a guest blog. I didn’t know Russell before I read his words, but I'm glad to know him now. I hope you’ll feel the same way.

In his military job, Russell works as a senior enlisted soldier at 205th Regiment (Leadership), where he helps train future Army leaders. In his civilian job, he works as a government employee with a focus on security issues.


It goes without saying, of course, that the views he expresses are his own, and do not necessarily represent or reflect the official positions of any governmental agency.

*****

By Gabriel Russell
gabriel.russell AT takoubasecurity.com

A Safeway store before opening. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Perspective. Got stuck in the lone checkout line at Safeway behind a woman buying groceries with her EBT card (food stamps). She had her teenaged son with her and a huge stack of coupons. I’ve been having a frustrating week. I was wearing coat and tie and probably had a grumpy look on my face when I arrived. The woman working the register kept looking at me apologetically as time went on and the line grew.

The shopper had a coupon for almost every item. She went through that stack of coupons four times slowly because she was missing one. I think she had coupons for apples, soup, pasta, rice, beans, and bread. She was missing a 60 cent coupon for her two cartons of almond milk. She had a list and had calculated to the penny what she could buy, had $70 on her EBT card and $20 or so on a check she had written but she was $1.20 short to finalize the purchase.

I was tempted to pass the woman two bucks but she was already starting to radiate with awkward embarrassment. Her son stood behind her and stared at the floor. Finally the shopper asked the register worker if there was any way she could look through the weekly flier and find the coupon she needed and the worker started paging through it for her.

My irritation dissipated the longer I stood there. Its been a long time since I agonized over $1.20 for food. I’ve never had to do it with a crowd behind me. I could see the time and care she had put into her shopping trip, calculating the cost, clipping coupons, buying cheap healthy food.

I relaxed. I smiled. The coupon was finally found and the sale made. The register worker kept thanking me for my patience. I suppose these days most folks expect a certain amount of eye-rolling and grimacing when a customer is inconvenienced for a few minutes. We’re very busy people.

By Monday, the shutdown will have cost me enough from a plane ticket change fee and a lost weekend of National Guard wages that it will sting. But I won’t miss a meal, or even skimp. I won’t miss a mortgage payment. I won’t fear for my phone or electricity being shut off. I have friends that may. I’m grateful for all that America has given me. I’m glad my wife has a good-paying job.

Not everyone is so lucky. We have young National Guard soldiers here in Washington State that rely on their drill pay for food and lodging and on military tuition assistance to pay for college. They won’t be getting either due to the shutdown. Each of them volunteered to serve in their nation’s military during time of war, uncertain of the cost.

This will likely, hopefully, be resolved before my young soldiers or friends in federal service even have time to apply for food stamps or unemployment. But not, perhaps, before a few missed payments, missed meals, and sleepless nights. It bothers me to see them treated this way.

The legislative branch of our government has its work cut out for it. I’d like to see them take up that task with the same zeal, teamwork and selfless sense of service to nation and community I see in the young soldiers and law-enforcement officers that work for me. I’d like that a great deal.

All I did ... the best I did today ... was to stand patiently in line behind someone less fortunate than myself and not act like a complete ass. The woman at the register seemed appreciative. Almost like she expected me to be annoyed. Is this what we’ve come to? Is this what people expect?

Patience. Compassion. Persistence. Teamwork. I expect these attributes of my most junior employees.

I expect them of myself.

I expect them of my government.

07 October 2013

In Comic Book Art, Two War Stories are on the Move

Screen shot from 'Operation Homecoming.' Click here to view video.
Two recently posted online videos show how to tell war stories using newer comic-book tools, including animations and movie-theater-style coming-soon announcements.

First, in a bit of a blast from the past, The Atlantic magazine's Paul Rosenfeld recently re-posted an excerpt from the 2007 documentary "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience."

Made by filmmaker Evan Parsons, the 7-minute clip depicts a combat narrative told by mil-blogger and author Colby Buzzell. Buzzell wrote "My War: Killing Time in Iraq"
(2006) and "Lost in America: A Dead-End Journey" (2011). The Atlantic headline suggests the excerpt is in the style of a "graphic novel," but it's really more like a "motion comic".

Some comic-book enthusiasts loathe motion comics. ("Worst! Format! Ever!") Some love them. For what it's worth, this one seems to work: It delivers action and emotional impact, but avoids gritty ultra-realism. It also avoids the usual Hollywood hype-and-tripe. In other words, this isn't war porn. Neither is it "G.I. Joe: The Movie."

"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" was a 2007 documentary regarding a federally funded therapeutic writing program for veterans. There was also a companion book. Both the movie and the book are worth checking out.

*****

FIRST ISSUE OF 'TILT-SHIFT' TO DEBUT AT 2013 NEW YORK COMIC CON

Preparing for the New York Comic Con Oct. 10-13, the creators of the comic book "Tilt-Shift" recently posted a movie-style coming-attrractions trailer. See it on YouTube or below in this blog post.

Written by Jose Torres, inked by Josh Hood, and colored by the Mike Spicer, "Tilt-Shift" tells the gritty, realistic story of U.S. military combat photographers deployed with special forces teams in Afghanistan.

The comic takes its title from a photographic term.

The project has been mentioned previously on the Red Bull Rising blog here and here.

Located in New York Comic Con booth AA16, the Tilt-Shifters will have on hand copies of their No. 1 issue, posters, post cards, and more. Writes Torres: "There'll be dudes in kit and our whole creative team just talking shop, war and comics!" If you're in the AO, be sure to stop by!

Check them out on Facebook here.

02 October 2013

Each 'O-Dark-Thirty' Packs Punch, Prose, and Poetry

In the current literary terrain, there are dense, fine-printed journals that cover war and themes of war. There are also imposing anthologies of war fiction and fact. Also combatting for the public's attention are war novels, memoirs, and journalistic explorations and expos├ęs.

Whatever the genre, however, too few of these are easy for readers to infiltrate. By force of page-count alone, too many tomes seem ready to overwhelm or intimidate—often driving away civilians who are, ironically, often considered the high-payoff targets of military writing.

Not so, however, the Veterans Writing Project's journal "O-Dark-Thirty."

Launched in 2012, the print journal is published quarterly by the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit, along with occasional on-line dispatches of additional prose and poetry, essays and interviews. As the journal's mission statement reads:
In our seminars we give participants the skills and confidence they need to tell their own stories; O-Dark-Thirty is the platform to put those stories and others in front of readers. This is not a peer-reviewed professional journal, nor is it a judged literary contest. Our editorial style is more curatorial than other journals. [...]
Each print edition averages less than 100 pages, and provides a brief burst of covering fire from each category of writing. It's accessible and approachable, easy-to-digest. It can also be indelible, however ... unforgettable.

In short, it's short. A quick hit of literary adrenalin. A mini-bottle of inspirational Tobasco. Each issue debuts new voices, demonstrates the versatility of each writing form, and depicts the military experience in new and provoking ways. Then, it disappears into the night.

Consider the most recent, Summer 2013 issue, for example:
  • Graduate student Elizabeth Sherman writes an unflinching essay about hooking up with a combat veteran on campus.
  • Former combat engineer Samuel Chamberlin writes a poem that captures one of the little-explored frustrations of life on the FOB. It reads, in part:

    Within the wire you can't shoot back, the
    Katyushas start to mangle the CHUs carelessly
    crashing within the perimeter, fists clenched
    in unreciprocated rage, later, when 


    The smoldering fiberglass ceased to smoke [...]
    you think about the bottle rocket tipping over, the
    plastic bottle melted into the Virginia
    crabgrass, a burnt patch forever remains.
Stick a copy "O-Dark-Thirty" in your right cargo pocket, or hand it off to a brother or buddy. Better yet, use a subscription as a regular reminder to keep writing. A 4-issue subscription costs only $30; individual copies are $10.

*****

A 2012 e-mail interview with Veterans Writing Project founder Ron Capps appears here. Also, click here for additional background on the group's useful differentiation of writing-as-therapy and writing-as-expression.

For submission guidelines to "O-Dark-Thirty,"click here.

The Veterans Writing Project's Fall 2013 writing seminar is Oct. 26-27 in Washington, D.C. The seminar is free to veterans, service members, and adult military family members. Participants must provide their own transportation, lodging, and meals. See the calendar for information on how to apply.