PCVI Summer Writing Course Initial Goals

I met with the director of the Providence Clemente Veterans’ Initiative, Mark Santow, yesterday to discuss details for a summer writing course that I’m planning. Mark is a connection-making and planning machine! It’s such a great opportunity to work with the instructors and planners of PCVI. I’m applying what I’ve learned so far in the URI Master’s of Adult Education program in so many ways already. And well, let’s just say this PCVI business is personal. Writing about my experiences in Iraq was a critical watershed moment for me, but I also did it largely on my own, outside the context and support of the veteran community. I’m determined to establish a space and a means for vets to tell their stories in a supportive environment.

This is what I drafted for program goals and objectives for the course so far:

Program GoalsProgram Objectives
Teach veterans the foundations of story writing and enable them to tell stories based on experiences both during and after their military service.1a. Facilitate the PCVI Writers class once a week for 4 weeks. 
1b. Utilize Endless Beautiful workshops to practice and hone skills.
1c.  Provide short stories throughout the course that exemplify the craft being taught.
Highlight the work of veterans and foster a greater understanding between civilians and veterans.2a. Create PCVI Writes website. This will be the home of PCVI Writes and the work of its members. 
2b. Record veterans’ finished stories in the What Cheer Writers Club podcast studio and feature the audio and text on the PCVI Writes website.
2c. Utilize The Public’s Radio Digital First Initiative to raise awareness of the efforts of PCVI Writes and encourage listeners to engage with the material that students have written.
2d.  Host a launch party at What Cheer Writers Club where veterans from the summer class can read their stories and veterans and civilians can learn about PCVI. 
Recruit students for PCVI.3a. Appeal to veterans through The Public’s Radio spots.
3b. Give a short presentation to vets in the summer writing class about PCVI.
3c. Speak about PCVI at the PCVI Launch Party.
Provide a means for veterans to become more involved in the writing community in Rhode Island4a. Supply a 2 month What Cheer Writers Club coworking membership to all summer writing class students.
4b. Have a staff member from What Cheer Writers Club give a short presentation on the various resources that veteran writers can utilize. 
Raise funds for PCVI and future writing resources.5a. Solicit donations through The Public’s Radio Digital First Initiative.
5b. Ask for donations during the PCVI Writes launch party at What Cheer.

It’s Alive!

Our week-long vacation in Florida ended up being very productive in terms of writing. I was able to generate drafts for 2 stories. I finished up another one the weekend we came back. I hit the first story relatively hard because I want to use it as an example for my Providence Clemente Veterans’ Initiative students this spring. My finished manuscript for the story “Egmont Key Ferry” ended up being a little under 1700 words. It’s told in the simple present tense, which I haven’t used an awful lot in the past, but I found the pacing to be wonderful. All three stories are based on experiences that I had in Florida. “Egmont Key Ferry” is about waiting in line for the ferry. Sounds thrilling, right? I promise it’s not nearly as boring as it sounds. I’m feeling good about this being a model for students to write their own stories. We’ll start with a non-fiction experience as the seed. Students will tell their story just like this one, nice and quick, present tense, first-person, and then we’ll put it up on blocks and revise the hell out of it. I sent this one out to a few magazines so far. Fingers crossed. I’ll probably pick a couple more markets over the weekend. I hope to get the next stories hoisted up in the shop and start revising them while they’re still warm.