Art Works Blog

Ten Points of Advice for Writing the Wartime Experience

Washington, DC

Richard Bausch presenting an Operation Homecoming workshop at Fort Drum in Watertown, New York. Photo by Betty Doherty, US Army MWR

A signature component of Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience was the creative writing workshops---led by authors such as Marilyn Nelson, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Tobias Wolff---for military personnel and their families. Nearly 60 free workshops were presented at 27 domestic and overseas military installations, including Camp Pendleton (California), USS Carl Vinson (Persian Gulf), and Bagram Airfield (Afghanistan).

In a 2006 interview with the NEA, workshop leader Jeff Shaara, author of Gods and Generals, commented on the diversity of the program participants. "In the workshop there was a real cross-section of people--the 20-year-old private and his wife, a career officer, a retired civilian, and everyone in between. Each one had a story to tell, and no one had ever asked before. . . . There was a young woman there with her husband, and I thought she'd say she was there because of him. Instead she said she had a grandfather who sailed on Navy destroyers in WWII and faced German U-boats. She said, 'I'd like to tell his story.'"

Award-winning writer Richard Bausch, an Air Force veteran, also participated in Operation Homecoming. Here's a video of Bausch presenting his "Ten Points of Advice" to workshop writers at Fort Drum in Watertown, New York.

You can learn more about Operation Homecoming here.

Add new comment