I was raised in Leavenworth, Kan., but I was living in Columbus, Ga. One spring, a friend and I went to Ft. Benning in observance of Armed Forces Day. It just happened that I had on a large Stetson. One of the vendors noticed it and yelled “Hey dude! Where you from? Texas?”
“Naw,” I said, “I’m from Kansas.”
Then, the vendor said,” “Oh, I know somebody from Kansas; maybe you might know her. Her name is Dorothy.”
I thought of all the Dorothys’ I knew. “Was it this one or that one?” I asked myself.
“Naw.” The vendor said, “She had a little dog.” So now I thought of all the Dorothys
with dogs, still to no avail. “Her dog’s name was Toto,” added the vendor.
H-m-m-m-m: Dorothy, Toto.
“A-w-w-w-w-h.” I finally got the joke.
By now a crowd had gathered. They all had a good laugh, as did I. The vendor gave me free beer the rest of the day.
The first time I can remember being published in Veterans’ Voices was while I lived in the Atlanta area. The inspired poem was titled, “In the Morning.” It was a time of struggling and suffering, yet the Holy Spirit birthed it through me.
My first health challenge—the horrible mental illness called schizophrenia—was present in me. Then, as if I’d slept for a period of time, the poetry came bursting loose. I’d ever heard of the disease before it surfaced in my life as fear, madness and the onset of uncertainty. As a child and teen, I sometimes would write. I used writing as a channel for the good part of my brain. I also used it to help encourage and bless others. Veterans’ Voices was and is ideal…a great means to get published. The life-long challenge of schizophrenia really baffles me, yet I know hope. Writing gives me a chance for freedom of expression—to write about the part of myself that I like. Writing is such a joy, yet I’ve learned I can write about many diverse things and occurrences.
Veterans’ Voices is great for veteran patients. We, the suffering, can share with others our joys, our struggles as well as various triumphs and victories. Creativity is a wonderful thing. Veterans’ Voices has been there for me since 1985. I am honored to have had poetry, prose and a few drawings published. I appreciate this outlet and channel for the various subjects I’ve pursued. The magazine is great therapy for us. Whether we are happy, sad or dealing with fears, emotional scars or discrimination, writing allows us to express ourselves. I feel as if Veterans’ Voices has many writers who can top my talents, but I’m always thankful for an opportunity to express myself in between the stressors of medical and physical disabilities. It is exciting to receive the magazine in the mail. Yet, I know not what emotions will explode inside me since it captures many journeys through others’ experiences. I appreciate being connected with other veterans. It’s an honor to be among a cadre of published writers. It’s an honor to have someone look beyond my illness and see a creative spirit. I am grateful to Veterans’ Voices, God, the veterans, the staff and the volunteers for allowing time to pass, for understanding my rants, and helping me capture my thoughts and jot them down in poetry and prose.
I suffer with things other than the schizophrenia that could have taken my very life. The magazine has sustained me during many hardships and joys. I am so proud to be an American, who happens to be disabled, living in one wonderful country as a member of the veterans’ family. I’ve saved copies of the magazine throughout the years and I see myself in other people’s work. The gratitude is endless. I’ve been ill for the last two years and it was an effort to write this but now a great weight has been lifted. That monster, schizophrenia, is a slave master, holding me captive. But, the Bible says there is a higher power, greater than all my diseases, who cares for me. Veterans’ Voices remains a source of ministry for sharing and blessing others. Veterans’ Voices is a mirror.
Saturday, Nov. 12th, 2016, 2-4pm, at the World War I Museum in Kansas City, Mo Register today! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/annual-veterans-voices-pen-celebration-tickets-27911438865 Please join us for The Annual Veterans’ Pen Celebration, and our keynote speaker Lou Eisenbrandt. Lou Eisenbrandt is a Veteran and Author of “Vietnam Nurse: Mending and Remembering”. About our Speaker – Lou Eisenbrandt Growing up in a small Illinois(…)
Veterans Voices is excited to celebrate 70 years of providing therapeutic writing to veterans! Watch both here and on Facebook for the various ways we’ll be celebrating this year. Join with us and share with fellow veterans, friends and family.
2013 Veterans Pen Celebration View Event Photos Saturday, November 2, 2013 2 – 4 p.m. Location: National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial 100 W. 26th St., Kansas City, MO Highlights: Premiere of the VVWP DVD “Veterans’ Voices…. Alive and Well” Featuring Veterans’ Voices authors & writing aides Writing Aide Phyllis Bibeau, Albuquerque VAMC & Volunteers of VVWP(…)
Deann Shinkle Mitchell, Vice President, VVWP and Deb Lilla, Marketing Committee Chair, discuss the Veterans Voices Writing Project (VVWP) that utilizes therapeutic writing to rehabilitate veterans on August 12, 2015. Listen here
by Dorothy Remo VA Media Center, San Antonio, TX Typist: Lee Torres What is it like to think you might be crazy or acting crazy when nothing is certain? Everything has turned so different. I’m looking at my world from a distant place where I’m not participating, no interacting. My thoughts have blown up–they(…)
by Paul Wilkison Every civilization Contains within Itself two types Of seeds: At the beginning, Seeds of greatness. At the end, Sees of destruction. VAMC, Albuquerque, NM Writing Ade: Phyllis Bibeau Typist: Jane Harvey
Radio interview with Veterans’ Voices Editor in Chief, Margaret Clark, as KMBC’s Person of the Week for April 13, 2015. Hear some fantastic stories of the impact Veterans’ Voices has had on healing veterans from the hidden wounds of war. You won’t want to miss this!!