War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele


images of the last few weeks invading dreamtime. hours after hours in the belly of mother LAV. the smell of ordinance. night fire. faces of infantrymen, eyes lidded shut. the grainy absinthe of night vision.

then stepping back into home shoes. clean clothes. the familiar so much the same but strangely changed for what I’ve seen, where I’ve been. I can only imagine what it means to return from war.

and this week so many phone calls from newspapers, radio, television. wanting my words. why? who am I? I am a nobody. and that’s fine.

but the thing is. there is a great appetite for this conversation I’ve found. no, not my words. they’re only dashes and dots. probably won’t last. make the mark. any mark. who cares? who really cares?

still, judging from the calls and the landslide of emails from total strangers. most often encouraging. sometimes not so pleasant, especially those wanting to use this venue to editorialize. telling me what to write. telling me what to see. telling me what to think (and no one in the CF has ever told me what I can or can’t write about)…

I find this particularly interesting in that I walk the balance beam of objectiveness as much as possible given that my subject matter, the soldiers, feed me, transport me, and ultimately, protect my life. and that they are multi-faceted. human beings.
I am recording their life. what it means to be a Canadian soldier training, going to war in the early 21st century. nothing more. nothing less. I hope.

and it’s all great. I’m not complaining. it’s just that I haven’t time to respond or moderate. this isn’t the venue for debate.

thank you too for sending your poetry. I believe our words should be put out into the great ether. someone asked if it wasn’t risky that I post my unedited, raw beta work. maybe. maybe not. sometimes words can be worried like a rawhide bone to the point where they’ve lost their initial flavour, shape, integrity.

certainly, these past few weeks, I’ve found a tremendous appetite for the discussion of Canadians in Afghanistan. someone should start a website to continue this. all these words, all this discussion, debate, argument, interest. it’s good. it’s necessary. and having lived overseas, it’s oh so Canadian.

thanks for the interest. please understand why I can’t respond to all my messages. this work is all encompassing.

and now it’s time to begin to distill some of the thousands of images, smells, sounds, textures, emotions, of the past few weeks…

wish me luck, I need it

1 Comment (Closed)

Alex VanderWoude

Posting half-finished, barely edited thoughts can be advantageous in that it often reveals more of you than finely crafted, honed, polished final works do. Personally I think that the more an artist reveals her soul the more compelling her work is. This is why I doubt I could ever be even a mediocre artist: I’m too self-controlled and guarded to allow myself to be that vulnerable. That being said, I do also appreciate the clarity of communication, the trimming of all excess, that a “final” (is it ever, really?) work embodies.

In short, I encourage you to ramble as you see fit. But once in a while try to distill the ramblings into a diamond bullet.

Nov 03 2008 · 16:28

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled home. It was posted here on November 01, 2008.


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