Monthly Archives: June 2014

Veterans’ Blogs Offer a Glimpse into Life on the Front Lines

The WordPress.com Blog

Last week was the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the start of the Allied landing in Normandy, France, that contributed to the end of World War II.

While some marked it with (deserved) pomp and circumstance, we observed it by reading the latest from some of our favorite veterans’ blogs on WordPress.com:

Carrying the Gun

Then-infantryman Don Gomez served two tours in Iraq with the US Army in the early 2000s. After a stint in graduate school and a dissertation on the experiences of Iraqi soldiers during the Iran-Iraq War, he re-upped and heads to Afghanistan later this summer as a Second Lieutenant.

carrying the gun

His blog, Carrying the Gun, is a mix of  thoughtful essays on everything from modern soldiering to women in combat to the transition from soldier to civilian. Sprinkled throughout are photos and letters from his Iraq deployments — a fascinating portrait of the life on the front lines.

O-Dark-Thirty

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I Am A Woman Who Survived.

The Manifest-Station

Jen here. I have a broken foot as many of you know, so I am giving the site all my attention right now. I am over the moon with the posts these days! Pinching myself! Today’s essay is one I hope you will read and share and help me make viral. This is so well-written, so important. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who has known abuse- you are not alone. And you don’t need to stay. Janine Canty, you blew me away with this beautifully nuanced and heartbreaking piece.

Simplereminders.com Simplereminders.com

I Am A Woman Who Survived. By Janine Canty.

Every October I wear a purple ribbon.

It represents women who have lost their lives to senseless violence. It represents men and children who have lost their lives to senseless violence. It represents people who died too young, with most of their words still inside them. It represents the empty place at…

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My Greatest Sorrow is My Greatest Joy

Strengthening the Soul

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~ Robert Brault

She’s dying. My 9 year old daughter is dying. Today I can say it without crying, but not necessarily tomorrow. Each day is filled with up and down emotions. Some days I am hopeful for a cure, but many days I am filled with despair and an indescribable sadness. My heart aches. My tears burn. My head and my body are tired.

You see, my daughter Abby was recently diagnosed with a rare, genetic disease that is terminal. There is no cure or treatment. No cure. 100% terminal. Every child diagnosed with this disease will die. I have never felt so helpless. As mothers, it is our job to nurse our child’s boo-boos, dry their tears, teach them how to deal with sorrow and upsets, and give them hope…

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An Orphanage is not a Tourist Destination nor am I in ‘Africa’

teacher monika

I took a week long camping safari with Intrepid Tours where I traveled from Nairobi through to the National Parks and sights. I was more than happy to see the Maasai Mara, the Great Rift Valley, Hells Gate – among other natural sites full of wildlife, geologic beauty and grandness, but to have one of their stops be at an orphanage? I couldn’t stomach it.

We pulled up and stopped just inside the gate of the orphanage. Everyone stepped out of the bus to meet the orphaned children, take their photos and squeeze in some cuddles. I remained seated on the bus and silently waited for this horror to be over. The tourists get time to hand over some gifts – pencils, colours, exercise books and sweets during this visit. A tour mate comes back onto the bus to grab his camera and he asks me if I’m alright. I…

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Before the Mast and on The Deck of the World

Fran Wilde

I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now. 

~ Henry David Thoreau

sunset

A couple weeks ago, I found myself at a place I consider more home than the house where I grew up. In that place, there is a rocky beach and access to a large swath of the upper Chesapeake Bay.

Believe me when I say that I know how lucky I am to have that place. I do not think I would be who I am without it. I doubt sincerely that I would be here at all.

When I first came to that place, I quickly earned the nickname “Mouse.” At eight, I was very small indeed. I did not speak much, and when I did, it…

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How weird news teaches us great storytelling

The Red Pen of Doom

Every day, there are real stories in the morning newspaper that make you snort coffee out your nose or choke on a blueberry muffin. Note: This is why journalists call such pieces “muffin chokers.”

Yet the daily weirdness is more than funny. If you dissect these stories, you can learn deep storytelling lessons from the shallow end of the journalism pool.

Here’s a real story that just happened in my state: Man steals RV from Wal-Mart parking lot, leads police on wild chase. Swerves into sleepy little town where he knocks cars into front yards and such, then blasts through a house and crashes. Runs out, strips down to his underwear and invades a home to steal girl clothes. Cops catch him and haul him off.

This is pretty typical of a weird news story, and not simply because it started in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart — and yeah…

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On Starting Over

montaigbakhtinian

Moving_Day-,_Montreal,_QC,_about_19301     Driving a friend’s car, turn on the radio, NPR, I think. An actress is talking up a play she is in. Once a big name in Hollywood, now she is doing Brecht at a regional theater. She’s knows the talk, though, the promotional talk. She says that now, having gotten older and wiser, she is only interested in roles she could fail in. If success is guaranteed, she says, there’s no learning. (I remember once talking with someone who studied child development in Africa. One of his principal messages was that stress was crucial to learning. In the absence of stress you don’t learn.)

I think of “my” journal, Zeteo; this seems often a project that might fail, at which I might fail, and I can imagine that this is indeed part of what makes it a good project. Perhaps not so much for the challenge of…

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