Writing for Veterans

By Anne Wharton

This spring semester the Creative Writing Department is offering a special memoir class with Professor Leche. The class is designed to create a space for veterans, along with friends and families of veterans, to tell their stories. It's a unique memoir class meant to facilitate a discussion on the nature and effects of war.

Image by Dreux Carpenter

Professor Leche brings her experience from teaching creative writing to soldiers in Afghanistan to the classroom. She also edited a collection of essays, Outside the Wire: American Soldiers' Voices from Afghanistan. One of the contributing soldiers spoke about his experience with Professor Leche in an NPR interview: “I kind of got a little bit of therapy out of it, to be honest, because part of the writing that is in this book about my Iraq deployment ... was a moment that changed my life forever and, you know, changed a lot of things about my life. And it just — I put it aside and wouldn't talk about it. Didn't talk to anybody, which is what soldiers do. You keep it bottled up inside, which could actually make more of the problems worse. So it was more therapeutic. It allowed me to understand how I could start coping with it and how I could put it into words to where other people could understand it.”

Professor Leche offers the veteran community in Austin a place to safely explore their stories with the support of a classroom environment. “It's a rare opportunity,” said Charlotte Gullick, the Creative Writing Department Chair, “students have the chance to explore writing and thinking about the impacts of war and military service with an instructor who has taught in combat zones and been through combat training.”

ENGL 2307 (syn 44453) is offered Feb. 15-May 15 on Saturdays from 12:00-3:30 pm at the Eastview Campus. Registration is open until Feb. 10.