26 February 2014

Writing Event for Veterans, Eastern Iowa, March 28-30

PHOTO: Erik Ostrom via Flickr
If you're not already scheduled to run the 4-mile "Warrior Challenge" urban obstacle course that weekend, a fifth "Writing My Way Back Home" weekend writing workshop for military service members, veterans, and families will be conducted in Eastern Iowa, March 28-30. This year, the venue is the recently renovated Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The free 3-day workshop offers an opportunity for writer-veterans at all levels of experience to exchange ideas and information. The focus is on exploring military themes and topics through fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and more.

Attendees may choose to attend all sessions, or opt to use some of the available time to work with others on writing projects. The atmosphere is usually relaxed and low-key. Total attendance fluctuates between 30 and 50 people. Attendees may have opportunities to share some meals prepared at the venue. Also, there is usually a scheduled reading event open to the public.

For more insights into the potential "Writing My Way Back Home" workshop experience, see these Red Bull Rising blog posts regarding the 2011 and 2013 events.

While the event is free, on-line registration is required here. A Facebook page for the event is here.

A organizational Facebook page for the "Writing My Way Back Home" non-profit is here.

In the past, the group's weekend workshops have been conducted on or near the University of Iowa campus, Iowa City. This year marks the first time the workshop will be conducted in Cedar Rapids.

Originally constructed in 1920, the Veterans Memorial Building also served as the Cedar Rapids center of government until floods damaged the structure in 2008. The building is located on May's Island, in the middle of the Cedar River. After a $20 million renovation, the recently reopened facility is now home to the Iowa Veterans' Welcome Center, Midwest Military Outreach, and other veterans-service organizations, and contains office, exhibit, meeting, and performance spaces.

The address of the building is: Veterans Memorial Building, 50 2nd Avenue Bridge, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401.

The building's exterior features a sculpture of an eternal flame atop the structure. Inside, there is a stained glass window designed by American regionalist painter Grant Wood, a Cedar Rapids native.

Recently, a traveling art exhibit regarding Military Sexual Trauma (M.S.T.) was installed in the building. In "Project Retrospoect: Flipping the Script on Rape," a Wisconsin-based organization called Survivors Empowered Through Art (SETA) presents a collection of artwork related to sexual assault in the military.

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