My story, Secondhand Smoke, was published today in the Veteran’s Day Issue of As You Were: The Military Review Vol. 17. It is set in the tail-end of the Vietnam War in Jacksonville, NC (home of Camp Lejeune) and draws heavily on my experience as a military brat though the story is fictional.
The book has launched! I am awfully excited. The book is a project of the Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center. Each chapter is anchored by an essay from one of the museum’s two writers-in-residence — one of them is me. The book is a serious look at gender, religion, race, identity, culture, and ethnicity in the armed forces. Active and retired service personnel, their spouses, and dependents were sent a survey asking about these things. Because the survey was completely anonymous, the open-ended questions generated additional stories from the respondents. A number of respondents agreed to contribute to the book. Thus, we have 276 pages of stories, photos, and quotes. A team of anthropologists provided a statistical analysis of the survey and their report is included as well. Though serious, the book is humorous, heartwarming, thought-provoking, informative, and infuriating — much like the military itself. This book will appeal not just to veterans, but to those who love them and want to understand their experiences. Proceeds support the museum and the writers-in-residence program.
You can read the official press release here
I am a military brat. My dad was a career Marine Captain during the Vietnam era, and I grew up in military culture.
Reading Perry’s memoir of his father, the Master Sergeant, was both like finding a new friend and discovering an old one. The book’s title is You Are So Far Behind, You Think You Are In Front which is one of the Master Sergeant’s many sayings. The Master Sergeant served in the Army. Though of different ranks and different branches, the Master Sergeant reminds me of my dad in some respects–primarily in the sense of duty they both felt to their country and their refusal to tolerate nonsense.
Perry’s memoir of his father provokes both laughter and tears as many military stories do if told well.
Perry has brought his father back to life on these pages and oh how I wish I had had the opportunity to meet the Master Sergeant. Matthew Perry tells his father’s story very well.Continue reading
For the past 18 months, I’ve been one of two Writers-in-Residence for the Museum of the American Military Family. With other folks, we have crafted a book that looks at gender, religion, race, identity, culture, and ethnicity in military environments. We did ourselves proud. The book is still in press, but the cover is ready and I’ve been given permission to share. I can’t wait until this is out in the world!