The world can send messages in many forms. I first watched the veterans — a woman and two men — at Las Positas College read their stories a couple of weeks ago, thanks to my friend Harvey Goldstein, whose blog had come to the attention of Professor Jim Ott.
The first time I saw the video, I was devastated. These were young people describing assault, death, privation. One said people who haven’t been there can’t understand. After hearing their accounts, I can sympathize even if I can’t empathize.
The second viewing, with the veterans’ writing group, caused me to reflect on how eloquent they were both on paper and in person. In different ways, each demonstrated how writing about their experiences had brought them back from dark and ugly places. They vindicated me, too, with the message that the more one excavates with writing, the more detail comes to the surface — bringing yet more detail. For these veterans, this process brought relief.
Please watch these amazing writers.