Thoughts on publishing, media, fake news and links to Warrior Writers on Reddit (and Blogger)
Warrior Writers, at root, taps an ancient literary tradition. Our oldest surviving texts, The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Epics of Homer, several holy and mythic texts, discuss battles. King David, uniter of Israel, is known as a warrior poet for his Psalms. The first two amendments to the United State Constitution deal first with tools of communication (religion) and then the tools of war (militias). Jihad is also waged digitally these days and people do die for the things they do and write online, but the point of it all (all the destruction, all the chaos, all the effort and creation) is to make life better.
Info passes from eye to eye and ear to ear in many forms. Technology doesn't ever really seem to go away. We just add more. We still use performance, speeches, forums, sculpture, graffiti, tattoos, canvas, paper, text messages, emails, social media, and soon Virtual Reality portals may again transform the ways we communicate across space and time.
Of all the ways we share ideas (video, audio, text) the powerful and profound currency in communication is at our points of connection. The money is in Facebook, in Twitter, in Blogger (maybe), but right now the collation of honest ideas and the creation of art has little or no physical value. True, sometimes art can be crap. The most profitable media at the moment seems to be Fake News (considering the number of clicks Pizzagate got), but this could change.
Our methods of expression matter, especially if you want to make a living (as I do) by making art. If you're like me, you've left a trail of digital accounts across the expanse of the internet. All this erodes in time, as the underlying infrastructure evolves. "The medium is the message," as Marshall McLuhan suggests, so whatever we express is a product of deep and even ancient engineering. I have yet to figure it all out, and maybe I never will. This blog is another attempt. Here I'm collecting writing by modern warriors and exploring the diverse outlets that discuss and illuminate the causes and effects of warfare.
My goal here is to encourage new thoughts and fresh art by Warrior Writers in the U.S. and wherever they turn up. I've created this blog to put some chaos in order.
I'll be posting and spreading Warrior Writers materials across a plethora of media outlets, and I'm looking for more moderators and input. I want to give voice to the experiences of war, good and bad, right and wrong, and to promote the art, thoughts and dialogues of warriors.
This blog attempts to catalog and take stock of a trail of events, media, digital accounts, and the collective effort that make up Warrior Writers. Ten years ago, or so, Lovella Calica started this group with the mission to engage, promote and bear witness to the lived experiences of war.
I've been haunting and hosting Warrior Writers events in Boston for almost half of that. When I showed up for the 2013 retreat at The Old Oak Dojo, Lovella had already edited four anthologies of writing from workshops that she organized or inspired. Now I'm helping put together a fifth anthology in celebration of the nonprofit's 10th Anniversary. We're collecting submissions now via Submittable.
The first anthology collected writings by IVAW members, and published in the spring of 2007. An interview at Seven Days, a Vermont based news site still hosting the oldest bit of media online that mentions Warrior Writers, posted on April 24th, 2007. Back then I was ramping up for my one deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom with VFA-105 on the USS Truman. A year and a half later I was in college on the GI Bill.
For me, war was profitable. I gave just a few good years of my life to serve in the maintenance of the U.S. military and got a few years of financial freedom and no college debt. I could have given a lot more.
Many people put a lot of effort into making Warrior Writers a haven for anyone affected by war and its fallout. For my part, I've been leading a few writing workshops every year in Boston. It's given me opportunities to connect with veterans of World War 2, Korea, Vietnam and first Gulf conflicts and evaluate the merits of my own service in the U.S. Navy.
I can't call myself a pacifist, but I do want to invest my time on earth in things that foster peace and prosperity. Warrior Writers has been a breath of oxygen to my spirit.
Though the meme grew out of an anti war movement, Warrior Writers attempts to honor the full range of experience of veterans and active duty service members. In the interest of time, I'm not going to try to resuscitate old efforts like warriorwriters.blogger.com.
I'm plowing forward on new platforms. Maybe it will all converge, maybe not. This year you can keep up with Warrior Writers here and on our Reddit community: Reddit.com/r/warriorwriters. The idea is to extend Warrior Writers workshops into an online space, where people who would not or could not show up for a writing workshop in Harvard Square can add their ideas. Also I'm trying to draw people out into public spaces to exchange their ideas and artistic talents in person.
While war is inherently political, through art and fellowship Warrior Writers offers a point of cohesion for people with very different identities and world views, transcending conflict in favor of healing. I've found Warrior Writers events and workshops to be always good times with good people.
This year, The Mission Continues sponsored a fellowship for me to host workshops, readings and events. This project starts as my fleeting experiment in the media landscape, looking for ways to promote things I value. Amid the turmoil and chaos of life, one question fills my mind: How do we best share our riches and sorrows?