This project began a series of good things that continues to echo and multiply far beyond the play itself---effects that reach as far inside as out. Psyches are permanently modified by the Telling. Anyone who has the capacity for compassionate insight will be a quantum leap ahead in understanding far more than just the military or combat experience. This is a microscope, and fisheye lens into aspects of life that far too many never allow themselves to glimpse. Those who do see, really see, what the Telling evokes are wiser to a degree far beyond the energy they invest. This is not to say it is easy. Being in the play was devastating for me, took me back to feelings long buried, and it was as though they were ripped from my psyche with pliers. Others saw them though, and the response has been overwhelmingly Good. It is terrible irony that in this time of unprecedented capability for communication, young people are being sent off to war by the hundred-thousands without any real concept in their minds, or the minds of the population who underwrite their military experience, what the hell they are getting into and what it portends for the rest of their lives. The commonly accepted figure at present is that we spend $1,000,000 per average soldier per year to keep them in Iraq and Afghanistan. But when they return, almost certainly wounded with PTSD if not physically, they are cut loose and have to fight disgusting, protracted bureaucratic infights for years, for the government to oh-so-reluctantly surrender any benefits. It is the continuing curse of the Vietnam war, it projects into the future of the young women and men who serve now. It is a cancer on our society, bringing conflict home to visit our families and our social fabric. The Telling Project provides an extremely effective way for us to continue to serve our country and our fellow citizens. It should be required for every one of us.
I have been lucky enough to be a performer and project director for the first Production in Eugene, OR. I have also performed for the NASPA conference in Seattle, Washington and the Service Nation Mission Serve event in Washington D.C. I'm currently the Program Director for the Starkville, MS Telling Production and just recently spoke as a presenter at the Northwest Network Conference at Portland State University. My experience with the Telling Project has been a positive one. I have seen veterans and dependents grow as leaders and seen first hand civilians reevaluate their views on the military, veterans, and the current conflicts. As a Director for a student veterans organization I wanted a Project that gathered veterans together to share their experiences, challenge and provide the community to listen and gain new perspectives, address the generalizations that are bestowed on veterans, gather veterans from multiple campaigns to hear each others stories, and assist in the fight of PTSD and reintegration of our veterans. The Telling Project does all of these things in an innovative way; and I can't thank the Telling Project enough for taking the initiative to encourage veterans to share their stories to the community.
I have had the honor, through The Telling Project, as a civilian and a writer, to have had the opportunity to work with veterans. It has been a life-changing experience. The stories told to me, the sincerity of their will to serve, the dignity with which veterans carry their experiences with them, has been an example to me. In turn, to have seen veterans and veteran organizations affiliated with the Project flourish in their personal and professional capacity has been one of the great experiences of my life. This project, I truly believe, makes a difference to everyone it touches. I am very thankful to be a part of it.
I have watched the previous shows of "The Telling Project" and it has very much moved me. To hear different stories and different experiences was amazing and it made me appreciate the men and women who serve to protect our country more. I'm glad to be part of the Sacramento production to help spread the word about "The Telling Project". Not only is it great to help spread the word, i'm also making some great friends as well.
As a former performer and now involved with the Telling project,the project will be with me for the rest of my life in a good way it has helped me grow as a person. The Telling project is a comprehensive program that can actively help individuals that are veterans and are individuals that are not veterans. It is as it says it is giving people a chance to listen, a chance to speak and a chance to be involved.