Who should tell us about the experiences of a decade of war? Veteran voices need to be part of the national dialogue, cultural and literary, on what it means to go to war; reminding all of us of the multiple perspectives, complex feelings and experiences of serving and fighting.
History is shaped by the accounts that emerge in the living years following historic events, including events we may perceive as less ‘historic’—individual accounts of departing, serving, waiting (whether a spouse back home or a soldier waiting for deployment), and return.
Stories—whether true accounts in the form of essays or memoir, or fictional narratives born of lived truths—shape how all of us see, how we remember. Stories create bridges of understanding, among veterans and between veterans and civilians.
“The autumn countryside around them felt gloomy and forlorn at this hour. The train which was to take both Masha and Ivanov to their homes was somewhere far off in grey space. There was nothing to divert or comfort a human heart except another human heart.”
– Andrey Platonov, “The Return” *
From the past, we learn about the present; and from the present we inform the future.
*"The Return," by Andrey Platonov, from The Return and Other Stories, by Andrey Platonov, transl. by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler and Angela Livingstone; reprinted in Let's Call the Whole Thing Off: Love Quarrels from Anton Chekhov to ZZ Packer, selected by Kasia Boddy, Ali Smith, and Sarah Wood, © 2009.
** A huge THANK YOU to Poets & Writers and The New York State Council on the Arts for supporting another season of Voices from War, A Writing Workshop for Veterans. And an ongoing THANK YOU to the 14th Street Y, supporter and sponsor, welcoming the workshop and its participants each week; and building Voices from War. **