10_Telling War: An Exploration of Form

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With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Telling War, a veteran based initiative, explores manifestations of the veteran voice through a variety of story forms such as papermaking, six word war stories, podcasting, and documentary film. Telling War’s mission is to cultivate creative opportunities for veterans to tell their story. This presentation will review some of the project’s initial outcomes. For example, when participating veterans used the ancient art of papermaking to transform their uniforms into paper then bind into book form, they were able to access stories often untold in the public sphere. The books they created held personal imagery and artifacts from their time in the service. The papermaking process allowed them to metabolize and story their experiences. In other cases, veterans wrote six word war stories following in the legacy of Hemmingway’s famous six word short story, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Although brief, these first-person memoirs captured aspects of deployment–from the everyday to the extreme–that shifted the communicative priority from eloquence to essence. By sharing these examples and others, this presentation argues that in order to enrich collective knowledge and memory of war, the stories told and heard about war must be expanded and diversified.



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