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Incoming: Veteran Writers On Coming Home Paperback – December 5, 2015
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So Say We All is a San Diego-based, 501c3 literary arts non-profit whose mission is to help people tell their stories and tell them better through performance, publishing, and education.
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I put "Incoming" up there with the very best and consider it a perfect non-fiction accompanying title to Phil Klay's fictional (but all too real) "Redeployment"
"Incoming" is rich with new voices and front-line perspectives, and is one of the more ambitious undertakings I've read because of the multitude of authors included.
Buy two. The one you read you'll want to keep and re-read...but the book is too good not to share!
-Aaron J. Brooks
As a Vietnam-era Veteran stationed in Germany at the 130th Station Hospital, I personally relate to
"coming home." Thank you, Justin!
Consider Tenley Lozano's heartbreakingly deadpan "49 Steps to Owning a Service Dog," a drawn-out pointless process that 'educates' her to the fact that "sexual harrassment, sexual assault, and rape fall under the title of Military Sexual Trauma."
Or Brooke King's all-inclusive "Redeployment Packing Checklist," with the instructions -
"Pack the hours spent in a cement bunker wating for mortar rounds to stop whistling into base. Pack the hate and the anger. Pack the fear. Pack the shame and disenchantment for a job done too well. Pack ... your haji killing license, and the rest of your dignity. Pack them all next to the Army Core Values and the (*expletive*) promise your government made to protect innocent civilian lives."
Or Robert Shaw's "Homecoming," which, as it turns out, ain't all it's cracked up to be. A wife who has cheated on him, an indifferent civilian populace. "Excess, fatness, colors." No joy.
"I was sad and lonely because I felt empty. Something was missing. Fun, danger, excitement, purpose, drive, friends, explosions, intrigue, exotic lands. All were gone. I had a great time in Iraq and I missed it. Wake up and mow the lawn? Why? (*expletive*) the lawn. I never really came home."
Or editor Rolfe Yngve's "Two Safety Tips for Those Returning from Deployment," a story of a nearly forgotten suicide note he wrote years before, which resurfaces in an unlikely manner.
Anthony Moll's "Last Year" gives you a close-up look at his Air Force years as a gay man of color before the "don't ask, don't tell" rule was repealed.
Teacher Gail Chatfield gives a heartbreaking look at a homeless young veteran wrecked by drugs in "betcha.i.can."
Men, women, gay, straight, black, white and more. I could go on, but bottom line: here are thirty-six short pieces on life - and death - in today's all-volunteer military, and there is simply not a clinker in the whole bucket. You will be moved. I guarantee it. INCOMING cries out to be read. My highest recommendation.
- Tim Bazzett, author of the Cold War memoir, SOLDIER BOY: AT PLAY IN THE ASA