21 January 2015

Update: New Deadline for 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Book

This Red Bull Rising blog-post originally appeared on Feb. 3, 2014. The new deadline for submitting to this anthology project is Oct. 1, 2015.

PHOTO: Vicki Hudson
The phrase "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was used to describe the 1993 U.S. Department of Defense policy that discouraged gay Americans in uniform from openly acknowledging their sexualities. The policy remained in place until Sept. 20, 2011.

In a new anthology, editor, poet, photographer, and 33-year U.S. Army veteran Vicki Hudson has taken on the mission to collect stories of the aftermath of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The book is tentatively titled "Repeal Day—September 20, 2011, When DADT Became History."

"The Repeal Day collection is meant to tell the story of what was that first year was like, from the moment the repeal was finally 'live' and all through that first year," Hudson says via e-mail interview.

"I want to acknowledge the courage for those in the military that first year that went ahead and came out," she says. "The repeal did not change culture in an instant, and those that were out in the beginning were breaking down huge barriers. Their families, their comrades in units, their commanders all have some part to tell."

To further inspire writers, the Submittable page for the project is peppered with potential prompts:
  • Did you take part in a celebration, make a point of coming out to those you work with, do a small yet significant or symbolic action (like try and update your DD 93 with a change of ‘friend’ to ‘spouse’) that marked the requirement from forced in the closet to finally able to be yourself and true about those who are your family?
  • What is your story of how you experienced Repeal Day? What was the significance of the day for you and your family? How does the repeal affect you?
  • In the months following September 20th, what was life like for you in the service? What was your experience in that first year? What are your thoughts, opinions, emotions, and observations for you and your family during this historic first year when LGBT service members were finally visible?
  • Are you an ally? What was your experience of your compatriots no longer having to hide? Were you a leader? How did this impact your unit or leader responsibilities?

Deadline for submitting to the anthology is [NEW DEADLINE: Oct. 1, 2015]. Hudson seeks essays from 700 to 7,500 words in length. As an editor, she is willing to work not only with experienced writes, but also those who are still developing their own voices.

"As an editor, you aren't just asking for stories and then you print whatever shows up in the mail box," Hudson says of creating, collecting, and publishing anthologies. "Often, what I have received are short snippets of an experience well written in military writing style. [...] Part of my role as the editor is help that story be fleshed out a bit, and bring the person who had the experience more present in the story. This helps make the recounting of a memory turn into a compelling narrative which reflects and resonates for the reader."

The project will acquire first-time world anthology rights in English and translation, as well as audio and e-book anthology rights. Beyond that, writers retain copyright to their works, although mentions in any future publication of a given work would be appreciated.

For a full set of guidelines, click here. Submissions may be made electronically here, or via postal mail:
MRD c/o Hudson
P.O. Box 387
Hayward, Calif. 94543
Hudson has a history of encouraging writers to creatively and honestly take on tough topics, and resourcing her fellow editors to do likewise.

Hudson is also author of 2012's "No Red Pen: Writers, Writing Groups & Critique,"
a cargo-pocket-sized manual that's packed with tactics, tools, and techniques for optimizing workshop processes.

In 2016, Hudson plans to collect an anthology of poetry and prose focused on a theme of military clothing and gear.

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