Monday, November 19, 2012

Interview (Part II) with Deb Marshall, Director of Warriors Arts Alliance


In Part II of my interview with Deb Marshall, Director of the Warriors Arts Alliance, she discusses the selection process for Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, one of her favorite selections, plans for another anthology and how readers can purchase copies of the anthology.
 
Donna: Beyond the contest winners, what was the process for selecting submissions for the anthology?

Deb: That one you’d have to ask Susan. We talked at great length about my “vision” for the anthology. She did the rest. The selections and their order in the book is all hers and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way it turned out. Susan edits “Big Muddy” and “The Cape Rock,” so she’s tuned in to literary journals and what works well within a writing collection. Her ability to take what I thought the anthology should reflect and turn it into the final anthology has set the bar pretty high for any future editors I may work with. Our contributors are raving about their pride in the overall book, not just having their work published.

Donna: What is the most surprising or gratifying lesson you’ve learned from working on this project?

Deb: Pursuing this project has been extremely time-consuming---to the extent that publishing my own work has been delayed. The satisfaction that comes from service to others though, has surpassed anything I’ve ever experienced. It runs deep and true and I truly marvel with many of the things that have occurred for me personally and professionally since this all began. The notes from our contributors, along with those from our workshop contributors, provide great joy to me. As Monty Joynes, our fiction winner, wrote, “Service to others is the best work of all.” To be involved in writing and publishing in this manner has had a tremendous impact on my life.

DonnaAmong so many wonderful submissions, do you have one or two favorites?

Deb: I have exchanged e-mails with many of our contributors and met several others. A few I have known for awhile. I really enjoyed Velda Brotherton’s “Rosie the Riveter” story, probably because many of us are familiar with the legendary character. It’s difficult to pick even one or two favorites because it seems like showing favoritism to my kids.

Donna: What can you tell us about plans for another anthology?

Deb: We’re finalizing the next call for submissions for the 2013 anthology right now. We’re expanding the categories to include interviews with veterans or veteran family members and high-contrast photographs. We’d like to see more submissions from around Missouri, so the Missouri Press Association has joined us an ally now, so we’ll definitely be getting the word out. We’re discussing contest specifics at this time.

Donna: Anything you’d like to add?

DebWe read a lot about the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among our veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. I polled a number of veterans to choose the anthology’s title. When it came to “Proud to Be,” one vet summarized sentiments best when he said, “You know, people think we’re all crazy. That doesn’t mean we’re not proud we served our country.” I think that sums it up pretty well.

 Donna Where can readers purchase copies of Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors?


 It will also be on sale when we celebrate the anthology and its contributors with an evening of readings on Tuesday evening, November 27th, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at The Focal Point, 2720 Sutton Avenue in Maplewood 63043. This event is hosted by the St. Louis Poetry Center.

Thank you, Donna. I appreciate the time you have taken to allow me to share a little about our veterans writing program. 

18 comments:

  1. This all sounds so terrific. I hope the project is a resounding success for all!

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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  2. Thank you, Donna and Deb for letting others know about this great anthology and project. These voices MUST be heard!

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  3. We've opened the Call for Submissions to veterans, troops and family members with two additional categories. Details are at warriorsartsalliance.com.

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  4. Wishing the contributors and all involved much success with this anthology. The readers are out there. Our Veteran's Day dinner and music program at school were packed. Few eyes were dry at the end of the slide show with pictures of those who served.

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  5. Hi Pat,
    See Deb's comment. The call for submissions has opened.

    Hi Linda,
    You are so right! Our veterans deserve nothing less.

    Hi Deb,
    Thanks again for all you've done and continue to do for our veterans. I'm going to check out the site and encourage my visitors to do the same.

    Hi Val,
    It's so gratifying to hear that schools are recognizing the contributions of our veterans.

    Donna

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  6. I had not heard of this, so I thank you for sharing. Our men and women in uniform most certainly do not receive the attention and gratitude that is due them, so this project is truly worthy.

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  7. Great project and thanks for sharing. Keep up the great work!

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  9. Hi Lisa,
    You are welcome, and you are absolutely correct about our servicemembers deserving attention and gratitude.

    Hi Lynn,
    You are welcome!

    Donna

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  10. What a great project, and I enjoyed reading a little about the story-behind-the-stories.

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    1. Hi Tammy,
      Thanks for stopping by; Deb is very generous with her time and I'm glad she took the time to share her insight into the creation of such a worthy project.
      Donna

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  11. Great interview! Thanks for the info. I enjoyed reading about the anthology. :) Very inspiring.

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    1. Hi Karen,
      You are welcome. Thanks for stopping by.
      Donna

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  13. Donna--Definitely a worthy project. Veterans telling their stories is a way to 1) ensure their story is a permanent part of our culture, 2) put in place some "closure" for them and 3) help validate their experiences.

    Thanks for this post. It was great to hear some behind-the-scene tidbits from Deb.

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  14. I was fortunate to participate in the readings from the anthology over the weekend in St. Louis. The stories were moving and important in helping us to understand the true cost of war. We should always remember, and this book helps us to do so. Thanks so much to everyone involved!

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    1. Hi Jan,
      I wasn't able to attend the readings, but I'm sure they were moving. Thanks for your contribution to the anthology; it is a worthy project.
      Donna

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