Rich Bachus on Writing Fiction from a Family Archive, Praise for WWrite Bloggers' Forthcoming Book, It's My Country Too, the Mothers of WWI Soldiers, and Poetry in the Trenches
This Week's WWrite Featured Post: This week's post features journalist, writer, and teacher, Rich Bachus. Bachus edits and curates the WWI Centennial Commission blog, Trench Commander, which chronicles his family's military adventures and the ways in which they influenced his generation of Baby Boomers. For the WWrite Blog, Bachus discusses the complex process of writing his novel, Into No Man's Land, inspired by a family archival collection of letters and other artifacts dating from his grandfather's experience in WWI as a Trench Commander in France to the present. Check out Bachus' fascinating work in his interview with Chris Isleib, Director of Public Affairs, WWI Centennial Commission, Four Questions for Rich Bachus, "Bringing the War to Life Through the Details (both Great and Small) of One Soldier." (Bachus book cover, image right).
Next week's post will feature another installment in the series about WWI censored written works. Jennifer Orth-Veillon, the WWrite blog curator, will discuss two censored works by Army nurses: Ellen N. Lamotte's The Backwash of War (book cover image, left) and Mary Borden's The Forbidden Zone.
It's My Country Too Advance Praise WWrite bloggers Jerri Bell (post on WWI Navy Yeoman, Marjory Stoneman Douglas) and Tracy Crow (post on Marine Sergeant, Leila Lebrand) have received intense praise for their book, which will be released on July 1, 2017, It's My Country Too: Women's Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan (book cover, right). Major Dee Anne McWilliams U.S. Army (Ret.), president of Women in Military Service for America writes "This compendium of women s bravery and accomplishments is a compelling read of firsthand accounts in U.S. military conflicts. No American woman should raise her right hand and swear to support and defend without these haunting voices urging her to walk the trail where few have gone. Every American history syllabus should include this book as a requirement. A true inspiration!" Award-winning veteran writer, Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood says "Jerri Bell and Tracy Crow have done a great literary service with this book for too long, the courage and gallantry of American women on the battlefield has gone unnoticed. This is vital, superb reading."
Mother's Day and Mothers of WWI Soldiers As highlighted by the WWI Centennial News this week, the mother figure played an essential and difficult role in WWI. In recruitment campaigns, propaganda artists used the mother symbol to remind young men of their duty to their country and family (recruitment poster, left). Mothers managed the home front, taking up jobs men left behind, and they were also healers, serving as nurses to the wounded and sick. For WWI soldier-writers, they often served as muses—the wife or girlfriend sparked sentimentality and commitment but also complication—children, a geographically-difficult relationship, or the promises of return. The mother solidified eternal, unconditional love for the man serving abroad. Whether he returned or not. With his life at stake, the mother sometimes held more ground for the young soldier than the lover or wife. The Mother also was known as an unmistakable symbol for the soldier's country. On this Mother's Day, the WWrite Blog encourages readers and subscribers to revisit Connie Ruzich's post on Lieutenant John Hunter Wickersham's poem "Raindrops on Your Old Tin Hat." In the hours before the battle that would kill him, he writes a poem to his mother comparing the relentless rain of northeastern France to her tears shed for his suffering. It seems his consecrated his last words were for her as a call to engrave his tortuous experience for posterity, to not forget. For Wickersham, it seemed the mother's tears held the keys to understanding the soldier's experience.
Mike Schuster on Poetry in the Trenches Also featured in this week's WWI Centennial News is Mike Schuster's post on his site, The Great War Project. He highlights the bitter and hopeless tone that soldier-poets began to express in their poetry during long periods of waiting in the trenches. Check it out!
For those who missed the news last week —WWrite Blog Comment Feature Now Available! The Commission is excited to announce that it has authorized and enabled comments for the blog posts. Comments are a vital part of the WWrite project as the purpose of the blog is to expand and modernize the complex space of memory by featuring today's writers and scholars inspired by writing or events from WWI. We want WWrite to become a learning resource for students, teachers, writers, readers, artists, and anyone curious about writing's unique place in the Great War. We don't want you just to read, but also to engage with these writers and scholars. The comments allow discussions among the diverse readership, which will not only encourage a conversation about memory—it will also rehabilitate, construct, and create the memory that has been absent from current collective culture.
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