This Veterans Day David Abrams encourages authors and others in the media to move beyond the one-dimensional portrait of veterans or those currently serving in the military. “Far too often, those who serve are a collection of clichés from the far ends of the spectrum: either clean-cut, impossibly perfect heroes or PTSD-addled warriors ready to erupt in spree-shooting rage. The regular working class in camouflage are virtually invisible.” A necessary reminder for authors and readers.
Recommended Reading: This excerpt from The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains by Thomas Laqueur. In it, Laqueur explores the cultural peculiarities of mourning and the necrobotany of the yew tree, or “tree of the dead.”
“Writers teach, not writing per se, but how to engage in writing as a process and a means of perception. The actual work of writing is seldom sublime. It’s a struggle that grows more difficult if we avoid it. Writing is often excruciatingly slow and repetitive. Time, in slipping and sliding, makes itself felt and immediate. Words are the way in, but nothing is guaranteed. What writers or readers can do with language, or understand inside it, depends on what they know—on refining their sensibilities, on writing, revising, waiting, reading, writing, as though living in language were life and death.” Year in Reading alumna Jayne Anne Phillips writes for the Literary Hub about the importance of writing programs. For more on the debate, check out Hannah Gersen’s Millions essay.