Military veterans have stories to tell and the various learning opportunities provided by the Kansas City Vets Writing Team, a program supported by Moral Injury Association of America, will help them gain the tools and confidence to tell them well. By using reading and writing exercises to explore deployment, wartime and post-deployment experiences — fear, boredom, anxieties, thrills, brutality, tears and beauty — attendees learn how to write their stories and make them compelling. Through our workshops, monthly veteran critique groups and other literary events, participants explore the many approaches possible to create personal stories, poetry, fiction and essays.
The objective of this program is that attendees write about their military memories, begin the process of owning their stories, and by doing so, possibly negotiate their way around serious barriers. As one vet wrote in his evaluation, “[The workshop] is a great start to help me tell my story of service, however painful it may be.”
The first writing workshop was in April 2014, and the program has grown in the five years since. More than 500 vets and family members have attended day-long workshops in the Spring and the multi-week sessions held the last three years in the Fall. Many graduates of the workshops now meet on a monthly basis in a structured writing critique group, continuing to hone their writing skills, and share their personal stories in a safe environment, offering the camaraderie of military life.
In November 2018, veterans completing our fall workshop sessions participated in the first Veterans Reader's Theater held at the Plaza Library. Watch their performance.
Our work has been made possible through the support of the Missouri Humanities Council, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Missouri Arts Council, Mid-Continent Library and Story Center, Kansas City Public Library System, Moral Injury Association of America, Kansas Humanities Council, The Writers Place, The World War I Museum and individual donors.
Not only do we host workshops to help vets hone their writing skills, but we also offer opportunities for them to read their final pieces in front of an audience composed of friends, family and the community.
Our writing program was featured in the Spring 2018 edition of the Missouri Humanities magazine. Check out the story at http://www.mohumanities.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/MO_Humanities_Spring2018.pdf
Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 30, 2019, when the KC Vets Writing Team will host its Spring Writing Workshop at the Mid-Continent Library at the Story Center at Woodneath, 8900 NE Flintlock Rd, Kansas City, Missouri. Poetry and prose instruction will be offered, but we'll also spend some time learning about Oral Storytelling. Whether your goal is publishing, use of software technology, or simply getting started sharing your story, members of the KC Vets Writing Team will share experiences, knowledge, tips and tools to help you get there in a panel discussion. Plan on the day starting at 9 a.m. and wrapping around 3:30 p.m.
We're only taking the first 30 past or present military or vet family members to sign up. The workshop is free and so is lunch. If your son or daughter is a budding writer and would like to come with you, they should be 16 years of age or older. Please make a separate registration for them.