Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 8:45 pm | Fair 66º

 
 
 
 

UCSB Student Veterans to Present Writings Based on Experiences in Uniform at IHC Event

Did you hear the story about the sailor who slept directly below the catapults of an aircraft carrier, and how he’d occasionally be knocked out of his rack by the banging? Or the one about the Marine whose buddy started sleep-walking when they got to Iraq? Probably not. Every veteran has stories, but they mostly go untold.

That’s about to change; a group of student veterans at UC Santa Barbara will present original writings about their service at noon Thursday, May 26, in the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Sciences Building.

The readings will come from eight veterans of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force who participate in the UCSB Veterans Writing Workshop.

Halfway into the country’s second decade of war in the Middle East, it can still be difficult for civilians to relate to the experiences of veterans, who make up a tiny and largely isolated fraction of the population. They might be thanked for their service, but gratitude is a long way from understanding.

“We all know where we stand, and we have our own experiences, so we can be kind of standoffish about it,” said Derek Downey, who served 10 years in the Navy. “I don’t want to say we don’t feel appreciated, but there is a disconnect and we don’t know that our stories will translate and people will see what we have gone through. I hope so, though.”

Susan Derwin, director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, which sponsors the weekly workshop, said the reading is an excellent opportunity for people to get a sense of what it means to put on a uniform.

“The voice of each student veteran is unique, and each brings to UCSB the extraordinary knowledge, skills and wisdom they developed while serving,” she explained. “I hope that people come to this event, so that they can hear their stories and talk with them about what it is like to have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, or served in other parts of the world, and now to be a UCSB student.”

The veterans’ stories are, literally, all over the map. They’re about deployments, homecomings, training, trauma, humor and more.

The writing workshop gives them the opportunity to give voice to their experience on the page, surrounded by people who know what it means to serve.

“I never thought much about my stories until I came here,” said Rocio Iribe, who served in the Marine Corps. “They could be really mundane but they’re still your stories, so it’s kind of nice to take possession of them, and that’s what this class has allowed me to do.

“I’m a little nervous and I’m curious to see how the public will take these stories,” Iribe continued. “I’ve talked to some of my roommates, none of them are vets, but one of them has read a couple of my stories, and my first question was, ‘Do you get it?’ Not because I was calling her stupid, but I don’t know if some of it went over her head. I’m just curious to see how it’s going to go on Thursday.”

Derwin, who leads the veterans’ writing workshop, said the reading will allow the public to gain a view into military life.

“I am very happy that the campus is going to have the chance to hear UCSB student veterans share some of the pieces they have written in our workshop. Each time we meet as a group I learn something new about them as individuals and about the impact their service had upon who they are today.”

Jim Logan writes for the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >