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Incoming: Veteran Writers On Coming Home by…
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Incoming: Veteran Writers On Coming Home

by Justin Hudnall

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INCOMING: VETERAN WRITERS ON RETURNING HOME, edited by Justin Hudnall, Julia Dixon Evans, and Rolf Yngve. Here's one more collection of veterans' writing to add to the slowly growing list of such anthologies. And like, most of them, these pages are filled with names you will probably not recognize. With a couple exceptions - Benjamin Busch and Nathan Webster - I knew almost none of these writers. What they have in common, of course, is their service. Although there are a few who are not veterans, one a former military spouse (musical composer Natalie Lovejoy), and another a teacher of veterans writing workshops (Gail Chatfield). But without exception, every one of these pieces will move you. Indeed, I often found myself wincing and wanting to weep at the end of some of these short, piercing pieces of war and its devastating, long-lasting effects.

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 ( )
  TimBazzett | Dec 1, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0988368684, Paperback)

Incoming features true stories from American veterans and service members, in their own words, surrounding the process of returning home from deployment, and transitioning back to civilian life. Honest, hilarious, and harrowing, these are beautifully crafted and necessary narratives to help readers of any background begin to understand why the most difficult battle often begins once war ends. Featuring stories from Benjamin Busch, Matt Young, Brandon Lingle, G. Michael Smith, Kurt Kalbfleisch, Robert Shaw, Kelli Hewlett, Sierra Crane, Brooke King, C.S. Griffin, Casondra Brewster, Alex Flynn, Samuel Abel, Brent Wingfield, Gill Sotu, Doug D'Elia, Tenley Lozano, Jim Ruland, Zack Dryer, Andrew Szala, Vance Voyles, Natalie Lovejoy, Gail Chatfield, Andrew Miller, Nathan Webster, Derrick Woodford, Anthony Moll, Lisbeth Prifogle, Adam Stone, Eric Strand, Mariah Smith, Samuel Chamberlain, Benjamin Rothman, William Corley, Allysa Kropp, and Rolf Yngve.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 01 Dec 2016 19:47:51 -0500)

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