Writing the Veteran Experience Workshops Planned

03/01/2012
Contact: Rebecca Rakoczy
Phone: 678-891-2691
Fax: 678-891-2966
Author: Rebecca Rakoczy

Students, Faculty and Staff Encouraged to “Write the Veteran Experience”

“The Devil came calling one March midnight in the Vietnam War. Hell followed close behind…”

And so begins Robert Knowles opus to his own time in Vietnam, and his family’s longstanding heritage of military service, in his published memoir, “Paying the Price.” Knowles wrote about his personal history as a combat veteran in Vietnam, and that of his family’s 12 generations of  military service, as both a chronicle and catharsis, he says.

Now as the Military Outreach Coordinator for GPC, Knowles is working with the editors of The Chattahoochee Review to encourage others at the college to write their own experiences of military service, or to share their stories of wartime on the home front, as well as the experiences of parents and grandparents in service.

The workshops will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, March 15 on Clarkston Campus, Room B2305 and from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the Dunwoody Campus, Room 2200 in the Dunwoody Campus library.

“When I first read about the creation of the Military Outreach Program, I instantly knew that The Chattahoochee Review could get involved and offer our writing editorial services in some capacity,” says The Chattahoochee Review editor, Anna Schachner. As an associate professor of English, Schachner had already noticed a deep desire to write among her students who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, or were about to be deployed, she says.

That desire to write resonated with Knowles. He hopes the collaboration with The Chattahoochee Review editors will be fruitful for anyone who wants to start writing about their own wartime experiences, but aren’t sure how to start. Laptops will be available at both workshops, and The Chattahoochee Review faculty editors will be on hand to help if needed.

Writing about the veteran experience is ultimately positive, notes Knowles.

“It took almost 15 years to shape some of the articles in my book. The effort helped to exorcize some of the worst phantoms from my Vietnam War experience,” Knowles says. “The final workshopping was done in a friendly and safe environment: grad school.”
Schachner hopes that the GPC workshops will give veterans a similar safe space to write their stories.

The best of the work produced during the workshops will be published in the “Polishing Cloth”, “Creative License,” or “The Collegian.” For information, contact Schachner at 770-274-5479 or Knowles at 770-274-5026.