With so much sad news and divisiveness in our city and the world, I’ve been trying to remind myself of the small actions people can take to bridge divides in experience and perspective and to make sense of their own experiences. I started Voices from War and our writing workshops for veterans in 2013 with this in mind: the gaps between people’s experiences, the silence, the voids of comprehension, the need on the individual level for this to be different, and what it does for broader communities to be able to speak of or explain what seems unspeakable or inexplicable.
Readers of this blog know that experiences of war are complex, often difficult to explain; and veterans have too few places to share them, or simply make sense of them for oneself. Narrative helps bring disparate and contradictory actions, emotions, relationships, together. Writing helps in creating a sense of order from disorder. Without hostility; with respect.
I keep thinking of the mutual respect we share within the Voices from War workshops – among different generations and backgrounds, different political groundings, while engaging with harsh realities – and the community that arises alongside the discussions and stories, both fiction and non-fiction. Divides within ourselves and between ourselves and others are bridged in the workshops – in the room and with writing – and through related outreach, publication, and public events.
In this difficult period of strife and too-frequent bad news… in this period of generosity of spirit, family, and festive lights… may there be more support for civil discussion, mutual respect, telling and hearing, with empathy, each others’ stories.
We need your support to sustain and grow what we do.
New York City, Dec. 22, 2014
You can also help by sharing on Facebook and Twitter, or by email.