Hooah to All That: On Leaving NYC for a Writing Life in a Military Town

Photo: "Choke" by Gisela Giardino on Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

My writer friends tend to see my new world as grist for writing, and I suppose it is. But this is also my life, not some sociological quest. I am not play-acting the soldier’s wife; my husband is not play-acting deployment; we are not play-acting strained 1 AM phone conversations that are being monitored in Afghanistan. This may be a journey I’m undertaking, but on many days it feels like a destination in which I am stuck: I’ve arrived, and this is it, this is all.

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The Army – and this, I’m sure, will be a real shocker – is a lot about fitting in: Wearing the right clothes, having the right values. Tossing around one’s real opinions can be a dangerous activity here, and, so, to a certain extent, we all play-act out of a pressing need to survive; we hide the parts of ourselves that we think may be indecent or suspicious. Writing feels like one of these things, a kind of taboo, a questionable waste of time. Sometimes, I feel as though I’m back in high school, hiding my bad poetry away in my math folder, afraid that people might find out who I actually am.

Simone Gorrindo writing in Vela Mag, on leaving New York for a small, conservative military town and the dissonances between the writing life and being a soldier’s wife.

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