Every week, the website Microfiction Monday posts stories that are told in 100 words or less. Today’s edition is a bit different–it contains six micro nonfictional accounts of the Vietnam War experiences of Jack Herman.
Drafted into the Army as a Conscientious Objector, Herman served as a medic in Vietnam from 1969-70 with the 1st Cavalry Division. He saw his share of combat and—without carrying a weapon—received a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars.
Here’s the full text of one of the pieces, “Nothing For Pain”:
It was a minor wound. A bullet had hit the man between his thumb and forefinger. Good bleeding but not pulsating, so no artery involvement. The medic cleaned and bandaged the wound as best he could while they sat in a dark foxhole.
“Sorry,” said the medic. “I don’t have anything for the pain. Battalion won’t issue us Darvon or morphine anymore because guys are stealing it from our aid bags. We’ll do our best to get you out in the morning on a chopper when we get resupplied with ammo. I’ll be back later to check the dressing.”
Jack Herman in Vietnam
Posted on August 25th 2014 in Arts on the Web, Essays
The Writers’ Circle is a nonprofit on-line magazine that showcases authors, poets, artists, and photographers. It is published three times a year, with each issue running on line for four months.
The current issue features Peter M. Bourret’s “War Memoir.” It is a work of creative nonfiction that combines Bourret’s narrative writing with his poetry. The main theme is Bourret dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from what he went through as a Marine in the Vietnam War.
“Twenty-two Junes after I had left a chunk of my innocent heart in the paddies of yesterday, I finally screamed, ‘Corpsman, up, I’ve been hit!’” Bourret writes.
“Like the Viêt Cong’s subterranean tunnel systems, my subconscious was an endless maze of deep-seated and unresolved emotional issues from the war. The well-entrenched forces of grief resisted as I pretended that there was truly light at the end of that proverbial tunnel. Unfortunately, my tunnel was jam-packed with battalions of un-cried tears; before I would even taste a glimpse of that light, I would almost drown in a flash flood of sorrow and pain.
“May of 1990 would be a Tet-Offensive month, a Purple-Heart festival; I would feel overwhelmed; I would sing the body-bag blues; I would walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but this time I wouldn’t be the baddest motherfucker in the valley: in 1990 I would be the saddest.”
Posted on June 25th 2014 in Arts on the Web, Magazines, Poetry
Matthew Bellantoni, a senior at Parsons the New School for Design, is in the beginning stages of building a website to help veteran writers and artists. The idea is to “create an online platform for veterans to sell their stories and art works,” Bellantoni told us. “Most of the revenue will go the veteran. The project is called Bridge the Gap because we ‘bridge the gap’ between military veterans to civilians and help civilians understand the courage and commitment of a military veteran.”
There’s “a huge gap between civilians (students especially at art schools) and military veterans,” he said. “The purpose of this project is to bring that gap together. Civilians will see military veterans as humans just like you and me instead of ‘those people.’”
To that end, he is looking for military veterans “who would want to sell their artwork on my website, people who would want to buy military veteran art work, and people who are interested on military artwork in general.”
If you fit in those categories, send an email to email@example.com to learn more. If you do, please mention you learned about the site on the VVA Veteran’s Arts of War on the web page.
Posted on March 10th 2014 in Art, Arts on the Web
Open Road Integrated Media is an on-line digital publisher that also offers multimedia content, such as video and social media pages, along with their e books.
The site contains a growing number of Vietnam War- related books. That list includes the William Broyles’ recently re-released memoir, now titled Goodbye Vietnam, better known as Brothers in Arms, the first—and the best—”going back toVietnam” books.
Also on the site are Doug Bradley’s collection of short stories, DEROS Vietnam: Dispatches from the Air-Conditioned Jungle ; Allen Clark’s Valor in Vietnam; Kenn Miller’s novel, Tiger the LURP Dog; and Oscar Gilbert’s Marine Tanks in Battle in Vietnam.
More Vietnam War-related titles (and videos) are being released almost on a daily basis.
Posted on April 17th 2013 in Arts on the Web, Book News
William Cummings, a Professor of Humanities and Cultural Studies at the University of South Florida, has just created what he calls a “digital and public history project” dealing with the highly regarded 1978 Vietnam War film, Go Tell the Spartans.
“I am inviting readers to join in an online discussion of this film’s history of the Vietnam War,” Cummings told us. To do so, go to the project’s Subjecting History web page. When you do, you’ll find a detailed deconstruction of the film, along with space for you to make comments.
Cummings explains that Subjecting History is an on-line “collaboration between professional scholars and the public to explore the way that we individually and collectively interpret events from the past. ” The purpose, he says, “is to explore how we can build a more democratic process for understanding the past and its role in society today. Ultimately, the contributors will reflect on the contributions made by commenters, and the project will be published by Ohio University Press.”
All commenters, Cummings notes, “understand that their comments may be printed in the physical version of this text.” To cut back on spam, all commenters must enter a name and email address. “The Editors will not share email addresses with any source,” Cummings says, “nor will they make email addresses publicly available.”
Posted on March 14th 2013 in Arts on the Web, Feature Films
Let There Be Light, the powerful (and disturbing) documentary that the legendary director/screenwriter/actor John Huston made for the U.S. Army in 1945, which was banned from the public until 1980, is now available on line at the web site run by the National Film Preservation Foundation.
The Pentagon asked Huston, who was serving in the Army Signal Corps, to document World War II veterans suffering emotionally. His use in the doc of unscripted interviews adds up to a devastating portrait of the psychological wounds of war—even in the so-called “Good War” among members of the so-called “Greatest Generation.”
The doc was so powerful and disturbing that the Army banned it from being shown in public until 1980. It was recently restored by the National Archives and will be available to view on line free of charge until August.
Houston—who directed The Maltese Falcon, The Asphalt Jungle, The Misfits and The Man Who Would Be King, among many other films—conducted the interviews for Let There Be Light at Mason General Hospital on Long Island. “I decided that the best way to make the film was to follow one group through from the day of their arrival until their discharge,” Huston (who died in 1987) later said. “When the patients arrived, they were in various conditions of emotional distress. Some had tics; some were paralyzed; one in ten was psychotic. Most of them fell into the general designation of ‘anxiety neurosis.’”
The documentary’s purpose, Huston said, “was to show how men who suffered mental damage in the service should not be written off but could be helped by psychiatric treatment…. The original idea was that the film be shown to those who would be able to give employment in industry, to reassure them that the men discharged under this section were not insane, but were employable, as trustworthy as anyone.”
Posted on May 29th 2012 in Arts on the Web, Documentaries
When it is completed on the grounds of the Texas Capitol building in Austin, the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument will honor all Texans who served in the Vietnam War. The monument will feature a fourteen-foot-high of an infantry patrol, surrounded by bas-relief panels depicting military personnel who supported them, including a radio operator and a medic.
The Vietnam Veterans Monument will take its place on the Capitol grounds among other monuments honoring Texans who served in the Texas Revolution, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and Korean War.
The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument Committee, which is made up entire of Vietnam veterans and was set up by the Texas Legislature to build the Monument, has an excellent web site that features an interactive map of Texas veterans in their communities. It also contains stories submitted by individual veterans. The idea of the web site is to create a “living monument” that preserves the stories of Vietnam veterans. The Committee is working with Texas Tech’s Vietnam Center on this effort.
The site also includes a video, “Texas Remembers,” narrated by Joe Galloway, the former Vietnam War correspondent and long-time veterans’ advocate.
Posted on May 23rd 2012 in Arts on the Web, Memorials
The Journal of Military Experience, which just put out its first on-line volume, publishes short stories, creative nonfiction, poems, and artwork by veterans of all eras, as well as those by family members of veterans, care providers, and scholars interested in, as the editors put it, “educating the masses about military culture.”
This nonprofit venture considers every creative work that is submitted. “Instead of accepting or rejecting creative works outright,” the editors say, “we review them all, giving each author a chance to make corrections, develop ideas, and craft narratives that are cathartic but also powerful when read.” A team of volunteer editors does all the proofing and editing, working with those who submit their prose, poetry and art work.
For submission guidelines, go to http://militaryexperience.org/submissions And, if you submit, please mention that you read about the journal on Vietnam Veterans of America’s Arts of War on the Web page.
Posted on November 30th 2011 in Arts on the Web, Journals
There’s a really good laudatory review in The Daily Beast of Karl (Matterhorn) Marlantes’ new book, What It Is Like to Go to War by Anthony Swofford, the Persian Gulf War Marine veteran who wrote the best-selling book Jarhead (2005). In his review, Swofford—who served in a Surveillance and Target Acquisition/Scout-Sniper platoon and has taught at the University of Iowa and at Lewis and Clark College—also praises Matterhorn, as well two other Vietnam War novels by veterans of that conflict.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Over 40 years after he’d fought in Vietnam as a Marine Corps lieutenant, Karl Marlantes’s brilliant novel Matterhorn arrived on the literary scene in 2010 like an acre of Claymore mines detonating at once. The evocative book instantly joined Tim O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato, Richard Currey’s Fatal Light, and other classics of the form up on the top shelf of war fiction. Many people asked, ‘What took this guy so long?’
“Marlantes answered with What It Is Like to Go to War. Part narrative memoir, part psychological study of the warrior soul, part literary think piece, part veterans’ mental-health advocacy project, this book does all of those things well and often splendidly.”
Posted on November 14th 2011 in Arts on the Web, Book News
There’s an excellent summary of the literary work of Wayne Karlin (above), the former Marine who received the VVA Excellence in the Arts Award in 2005, on the Viet Nam Literature Project blog by Dan Duffy. The entry looks at Karlin’s novels, memoirs, and collections of short stories he edited—nearly all of which is informed by his experiences in the Vietnam War.
“Wayne Karlin patrolled the edge of an airbase as an infantryman. Then he operated a machine gun from a helicopter against the People’s Army crossing into the Republic of Viet Nam,” Duffy writes. “Back home, Wayne edited a collection of fiction by other veterans. He settled to his own work in Maryland…. Wayne visited the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences and met writers from the People’s Army. With Le Minh Kue and with a veteran of the Republic of Viet Nam he edited the fiction collection, The Other Side of Heaven.”
Posted on October 18th 2011 in Arts on the Web, Book News