Archive | November, 2013

Weekly Round-Up: Thanksgiven Edition

trot this way

trot this way

Welcome to the Words After War Weekly Round-Up: Thanksgiven Edition. In this space we share seven links relevant to our mission of improving the veteran-civilian dialogue through high-quality literary programming.

Trip the fan, it’s the tryptophan! Turkey nachos, anyone? What’s that? You were looking forward to a few juicy, succulent hours of silence away from the generally well-meaning family members who happen to be slam dancing on your remaining nerve? Take to the attic, flex those last ribbons of wifi and settle into a dusty armchair with these hearty links.

But first, we would like to thank everyone for their support of our LITERARY MENTORSHIP program. If you or someone you know is seeking assistance in realizing their literary ambitions or searching for a receptive vessel to fill with hard-won knowledge, please contact DAVID via INFO at WORDSAFTERWAR dot ORG.

Yes, we here at Words After War have much to be thankful for this year. A hopping workshop, two great NYC events, a successful contest, donations, glowing media coverage, a growing network of engaged writers, the list goes on. Here’s to many more opportunities to provide veterans and civilian supporters with the tools they need to tell their stories. And now, the links.

1. The New York Times Notable Books for 2013 (including David Finkel’s excellent THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE).

2. Need more recommendations? Writer Elliott Holt’s list of 2013 reads can be found HERE.

3. Need even MORE recommendations? Tis the season for year’s end “Best of” lists, and this one from The Guardian packs an impressive crew of contributors.

3. “New” Salinger stories leaked online.

4. Check out the new online home of our workshop host, Mellow Pages Library.

6. An impressive presentation via Wired and Longreads on polio in Afghanistan.

7. “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relatives.” Thanks Oscar Wilde! We’re doing our best. Here are a few other Thanksgiving quotes.

Have a great weekend.

-Mike

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Wanted: Literary Mentees

You're the man now, dog.

You’re the man now, dog.

Are you a veteran embarking on a creative project? Maybe you are applying to college or graduate school and need somebody to edit your application essays. Maybe you are outlining a memoir or mulling a novel or just trying to jot down some thoughts. We want to help. Let us match you with a mentor to serve as a sounding board, supporter and independent advisor.

One of the hardest things about writing is finding a reader you trust. It can be difficult to part with early drafts. They are frequently raw with emotion. It’s a vulnerable time. But it is also a crucial part of the process. Finding a good reader can be the difference between publishing your work and storing it on your hard drive. Writers need guidance, they need deadlines and structure. These are some of the more contradictory bits of the creative life. This is why we want to give everyone time to stew in the woods, but we also want to grill them in the workshop. Crank the wheel, turn the scraps into sausage.

Here’s how the Words After War Literary Mentorship Program cranks: You contact us and briefly explain your hopes/dreams/current creative projects. We match you with an experienced volunteer. What happens after we make the introduction is largely up to you. Ideally we would like there to be at least THREE conversations between mentors and mentees, either online or in person, but if you two hit it off we have no problem with more than that. Get an apartment together for all we care. It’s a cold world out there, especially for fledgling artists.

What happens if the chemistry isn’t right? What if your mentor doesn’t GET you? We try again. The mentors are showing up in full force. People want to share their experience and expertise. Let them. Benefit from their knowledge. Learn from their mistakes. Obviously we hope this will be a two-way street. Three-way, if you count us over on the administrative end.

Interested in being a mentee (or mentor)? Contact DAVID via INFO at WORDSAFTERWAR dot ORG. Let’s build.

Weekly Round-Up: Dollar Short Edition

hackers-movie-poster

Welcome to the Words After War Weekly Round-Up: Dollar Short Edition. In this space we share seven links relevant to our mission of improving the veteran-civilian dialogue through high-quality literary programming.

After all the big city bustle surrounding our “Danger Close: Writing War in the Workshop” event in NYC this week it was a humbling downshift when I found myself unable to hack into our website in order to post this week’s round-up. Apologies to all those readers out there stumbling about, grasping for guidance and links.

But before we get into those, Brandon and I would like to extend our sincere thanks once again to the Hudson Park Library, moderator Helen Benedict, panelists Matt Gallagher, Phil Klay, Maurice Decaul and Mariette Kalinowski and the attentive, book-purchasing “Danger Close” audience. We look forward to more events and further opportunities to bridge the veteran-civilian divide.

And here we go with the links:

1. 50 years later, here are 5 novels about the JFK assassination, via Book Riot.

2. Here is a Flavorwire list of 50 books that define the last 5 years of literature.

3. Writing and distraction in the Internet Age.

4. Writing crime fiction in a safe country, via Los Angeles Review of Books.

5. Collecting and preserving the stories of Vietnam veterans.

6. Why aren’t more veterans enrolled at our most prestigious colleges? Slate investigates.

7. The NFL and veterans, via Business Insider.

As always, thanks for your time and support.

-Mike

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Helen Benedict: Why I Wrote a War Novel

Photo courtesy of Richard Wolinsky

Photo courtesy of Richard Wolinsky

 

Words After War, in partnership with the New York Public Library, presents “Danger Close: Writing War in the Workshop.” At 6:30 PM on Thursday, November 21, novelist and journalist Helen Benedict will moderate a panel to include Matt Gallagher, Phil Klay, Maurice Decaul and Mariette Kalinowski. Tickets and further information can be found HERE.

We are excited to share an essay written by Helen that first appeared in On The Issues Magazine. Read an excerpt below and follow the link to read the piece in its entirety.

In 2006, when I discovered that more women were serving and fighting in the Iraq War than in all past American wars put together, I wanted to know why: why they had joined, why they went to war, and what was it like to be a woman in combat.

To find out, I traveled the United States for roughly three years interviewing women veterans. Some I spoke to for an hour or two by phone, others I talked with for many months, visiting their homes, touring their towns, seeing their high schools, and meeting their families. In the end, I interviewed some 40 women from the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force, most of whom had served in Iraq, although a few had served in Afghanistan, Korea, or Vietnam.

These women opened their hearts to me in ways I found extraordinarily courageous and moving. Some were proud of their service, others loved the military but opposed the war, and yet others had turned against both the military and the war – but they all wanted to be heard. I wrote my nonfiction book, The Lonely Soldier, based on those interviews, and a nonfiction play of the same name.

Yet, I knew there was more to say.

Read the rest HERE. Hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

-Mike

Danger Close: Writing War in the Workshop

Danger Close: Writing War in the Workshop

 

Words After War, in partnership with the New York Public Library, is pleased to present “Danger Close: Writing War in the Workshop.” At 6:30 PM on Thursday, November 21, novelist and journalist Helen Benedict will moderate a panel to include Matt Gallagher, Phil Klay, Maurice Decaul and Mariette Kalinowski. The panelists will share personal stories of documenting and researching war, as well as the particular challenges and complications of writing about war in the 21st century. We hope to see you there! Tickets and further information can be found HERE.

A bit more about the (very talented and generous) panelists and moderator:

Matt Gallagher

Matt Gallagher is the author of the memoir Kaboom and the co-editor of Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War. A graduate of Wake Forest University and Columbia University, Matt leads the Words After War workshop at Mellow Pages Library in Brooklyn.

Phil Klay

Phil Klay is a Dartmouth grad and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. He served in Iraq during the Surge and subsequently received an MFA from Hunter College. His first published story, “Redeployment,” appeared in Granta’s Summer 2011 issue. That story led to the sale of his forthcoming collection, which will be published in seven countries. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the New York Daily NewsTin House, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012.

Maurice Decaul

Maurice Decaul is a former Marine and Iraq war veteran. He studied poetry at Columbia University, where he founded the Columbia University Veterans Writing Workshop. Maurice has been a contributor to the New York Times and has had work featured on Newsweek.com and in Sierra Magazine.

Mariette Kalinowksi

Mariette Kalinowksi served in the United States Marine Corps from 2002-10, and was deployed twice to Al Taqaddum, Iraq. She is a contributor to Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War.

Helen Benedict

Helen Benedict is the author of six novels and five books of nonfiction. Her latest novel, Sand Queen, set in the Iraq War, is now out in paperback from Soho Press. Benedict’s Sand Queen and The Lonely Soldier, along with her articles about sexual assault in the military, inspired the award-winning documentary The Invisible War.

 

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Weekly Round-Up: Glamour Shot Edition

photo (7)

 

Welcome to the Words After War Weekly Round-Up: Glamour Shot Edition. In this space we share seven links relevant to our mission of improving the veteran-civilian dialogue through high-quality literary programming.

A plethora of veteran-centric media online this week. We’ve picked a few to share, some of which even mention this here literary non-profit organization!

Speaking of non-profit, your donations are ALWAYS appreciated. Every tax-deductible dollar you give will go DIRECTLY to paying instructors, organizing readings, panels and writing retreats, our mentorship program, not to mention all sorts of great programming ideas we would like to work on but need money in order to implement. Need more information? It’s all HERE! Thank you in advance.

You’ll be excited to learn that we are hosting another NYC event. Join us on Nov. 21 at the Hudson Park Library for “Danger Close: Writing War in the Workshop.” A panel of veteran writers including Matt Gallagher, Phil Klay, Maurice Decaul and Mariette Kalinowski will read from their work and discuss how workshops have helped to shape and influence their writing. The event is made possible through a partnership between the New York Public Library and Words After War. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

Without further ado, the links:

1. Are veterans placed on a pedestal? And would they be better-served without it? A hotly debated article from The Atlantic.

2. Words After War Executive Director Brandon Willitts was profiled by Colin Wilhelm for Narratively. It is a very honest and moving story complete with GLAMOUR SHOTS. Meanwhile, I couldn’t tell you the last time I brushed my hair.

3. Our friend (and “Danger Close” panelist) Phil Klay on missing WWII soldiers in Newsweek.

4. City of Fire: The Case of the $2 Million Book Advance.

5. Roy Scranton: “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene.”

6. Life lessons from Hunter S. Thompson.

7. Memes and GIFs invade literary criticism.

Have a great weekend.

-Mike

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Weekly Round-Up: Veterans Day Edition

"Danger Close" 11/2/13. Brooklyn, NY.

“Danger Close” 11/2/13. Brooklyn, NY.

Welcome to the Words After War Weekly Round-Up: Veterans Day Edition. In this space we share seven links relevant to our mission of improving the veteran-civilian dialogue through high-quality literary programming.

We’d like to open this week’s round-up with another very sincere thank you to all those who came out for Danger Close last Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn. We packed ACME Studio (an inviting, creative, comfortable space), WAW co-founder Brandon Willitts showed off his public speaking skills with a brisk opening statement, and the panel, expertly moderated by Quil Lawrence, engaged the audience in a lively, thoughtful debate on the writing process, the effects of an all-volunteer force and many other issues pertinent to the military-civilian divide. Extra-special thanks to Matt Gallagher, Katey Schultz and Brian Castner. Buy their books!

On a personal note I’d like to share a brief Williamsburg anecdote. At this point giving “hipsters” guff is one of the more tiresome things a person can do, so I won’t label this person, simply share their behavior (without explanation, though I yearn for one, have had trouble sleeping ever since, my mind turning over everything I thought I’d ever known about the world and its inhabitants) and hope that it will, at the very least, provide some color, context, setting.

A man in a garish pink hat, something straight out of Weekend at Bernies, approaches at a good clip on a skateboard. He also holds a skateboard beneath each arm. Three skateboards. He glides through the intersection–a mere three blocks from ACME Studio and the Words After War event–and just as my companion and I begin to really scratch our heads in earnest, two men emerge from between parked cars. The skater crouches, drops the other boards, the two men meld onto them gracefully and they all continue down the boulevard like an old-timey water-skiing act.

ANYWAY, plenty of opportunities to honor veterans this weekend and beyond. Stay tuned to our Twitter account for event listings. As always, thanks for your time and support.

To the links:

1. The Times wonders how Aldous Huxley would feel about the current media landscape.

2. A fascinating piece on interviewing writers, via The Paris Review Daily.

3. BR McDonald on veteran artists.

4. An interview with National Book Award Finalist George Saunders.

5. Words After War instructor Matt Gallagher weighs in on “the moral responsibility of volunteer soldiers” via Boston Review.

6. Here are 8 writers whose brushes with death informed their work.

7. Should literature be useful? Sure!

Have a great weekend.

– Mike

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Weekly Round-Up: Rabbit Rabbit Edition

today is...today is...

today is…today is…

 

Welcome to the Words After War Weekly Round-Up: Rabbit Rabbit Edition. In this space we share seven links relevant to our mission of improving the veteran-civilian dialogue through high-quality literary programming.

It’s the first of the month, the day after Halloween and the night before our first public event, “Danger Close: Writers on War” (info and tickets HERE). The sugar rush subsides, masks are removed, the pumpkins are burned out, squishy or smashed and discarded costumes grow funky in the corner. Ratty playoff beards get shaved or trimmed.

My grandmother used to say “rabbit rabbit” as soon as she woke up on the first day of every month. For a while I tried, but I’m not really a morning person and I never know the date, so hopefully whatever luck I’m running on comes from somewhere else.

We sincerely hope to see any and all at tomorrow’s event and we’d like to thank everyone who has helped us spread the word through press, retweets, Telephone, etc. Here we go with the links:

1. Veterans and Hurricane Sandy, via The Daily Beast.

2. Beautiful new drawings by Jess Ruliffson, “Invisible Wounds.”

3. A multimedia report on toxic burn pits, via The Verge.

4. Read “Danger Close: Writers on War” participant Brian Castner on the Boston Bomb Squad in the current issue of Wired.

5. The AIT AF’s Veterans Day Performance is just around the corner. Find more info HERE.

6. The state of the American War Novel, via Los Angeles Review of Books.

7. The New York Times “Home Fires” section seeks submissions for Veterans Day.

Have a great weekend.

-Mike

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