The mission of the Journal of Military Experience is to mentor veterans through the writing and arts process for publication in the JME. The feedback from talented writers, authors, and artists were instrumental in my decision to explore the Arts as a medium for healing. The high level of understanding of war trauma from the Eastern Kentucky University professors and support staff was phenomenal and no wonder the EKU Vets program was recognized as a National Program of the Year in 2011. I felt at home.
The first night we had an impromptu poetry and prose reading and barriers came down for story tellers near, connecting with other warrior veterans in this way inspired hope again. The bonds formed that night were carried over into classes enabling me to concentrate on interact genuinely rather than reacting from heightened senses. I was able to relax in the classes and interact with the participants and instructors, powerful people in different parts of healing journeys and felt an immediate affinity.
As some of you may know, I have an anti-personal mind obstacle; being around people in public causes a range of constant triggering. Several times seeking refuge I forced myself to keep going back to share and bond and gravitated to others similarly affected by war. I met a pizza cook who didn't know how brilliant and vividly he could describe his experiences by word and a Vietnam veteran who had amassed decades of publishable poems. I met many different levels of writers, from published authors to veteran published and unpublished poets sparking an inspiration to write more poetry. It gives word to the disjointed in me, to examine and expound with context and content.
I'm still overwhelmed with life and struggling with the basics, but after attending The Military Experience and Arts Symposium I have been able to divert my anxieties into creative projects. I started another rewrite of my combat narratives, flirting with the idea of submitting it to the Journal of Military Experience. I am also attempting to write an audition script for a graphic novel. I have no idea how to do that, but I am getting some good coaching from a graphic novelist and plugging along. It's a different aspect of writing to think in images, which causes more information from my memory to become triggered and a need to write that instead of the script and so forth. So, go and do something creative. Your life just may depend on it.