ASAP's Community Publications

The members of the ASAP community are talented and creative beyond measure. While many of our community members publish work with us, they are also publishing across a myriad of platforms—from op-eds in the New York Times to features in literary journals to winning submissions for creative writing contests. On this page, we spotlight an array of work created and published by the ASAP community members. We hope you will enjoy the range of experiences, stories, and perspectives of our veteran and military-affiliated artists that are featured on this page!

Are you an ASAP community member interested in being featured on this page? Please fill out this form to submit your work for consideration.

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Please note that any opinions represented on this page represent the opinions of ASAP community members, and not the ASAP organization.

VICE: Flicker On

VICE: Flicker On

By Bishop Garrison, ASAP Creative Writing Alumnus

May 9, 2019

Article originally published in the VICE. You can read the full article here.

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I flicker on. I am at an urban warfare training center - a mock city. The street has green grass that grows through cracks in the asphalt. My soldiers stand still, frozen around me. A woman in uniform shouts. She questions why I have stopped. I look down at the brown mixed breed licking my metal fingertips. I do not answer her. She repeats the question. I say the canine is no threat. It will not reveal our location. She tilts her head as she observes me and demands to know why I have not complied with her order. I repeat my answer. She frowns at a man, also in uniform, standing next to her. She orders my soldier, 0967, to attention. He flickers on. She orders 0967 to shoot the canine in its head. The soldier complies. I look down and see a stream of crimson red cover the green grass in the asphalt cracks as it exits what remains of the dog’s cranium. Not canine. Dog. I have never said or considered the word dog before this moment. The woman in uniform orders both my soldier and me to power down, and we power down.

NEW YORK TIMES: I Followed My Father Into the Marines. But It Was Different for a Woman.

NEW YORK TIMES: I Followed My Father Into the Marines. But It Was Different for a Woman.

By Cristine Pedersen, Comedy Bootcamp Alumna and Instructor

April 4, 2019

Article originally published in the New York Times. You can read the full article here.

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It would be hard to overstate the significance the Marine Corps played in my family’s life. My father, Robert Starke, grew up in a small town in Eastern Oregon, enlisted in 1988 when he was 17 years old and went off to training at 18. My mother, Cindy, always says that the man who went to boot camp was not the same one who came back. The corps hardened him and shaped his ideas about raising a family. He and my mother married on Christmas Day that year, during his holiday leave following Marine Combat Training. She was still in high school. After her graduation the following spring, she joined him in Georgia, where he worked as a computer operator on a logistics base. My mother gave birth to a son and then to me — both before she could legally buy a drink.

NEW YORK TIMES: As a Woman Serving Alongside Green Berets, I Had No Problem Keeping Up. It Wasn’t Enough.

NEW YORK TIMES: As a Woman Serving Alongside Green Berets, I Had No Problem Keeping Up. It Wasn’t Enough.

By Jackie Munn, Creative Writing Alumna

Feb. 5, 2019

Article originally published in the New York Times. You can read the full article here.

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In November, a former Special Forces team leader with whom I had served in Afghanistan sent me an article announcing another milestone for women in the military. For the first time, a female soldier had passed Special Forces Assessment and Selection, a grueling preliminary step to becoming a Green Beret. “Awesome news,” he wrote. While I agreed, my own experience had left me feeling skeptical. The article quoted prior remarks from then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who had said “the jury is out” on integrating women into infantry roles and that the Pentagon was trying to “give it every opportunity to succeed if it can.” As a woman who had worked in Afghanistan alongside two teams of Green Berets — one open-minded and mission-oriented, the other prone to sexism and insularity — my success had been dependent on whether I was supported and respected by my male colleagues. This servicewoman’s advancement would likely rely on the same thing.

Wildflowers, Part I: Allaha of the Mountain

By Aurora Lee Thornton, Operation Improv and Acting Alum

June 2, 2017

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Allaha, a knight of a religious order, is charged with completing a broken prophecy to discover the way to save her world from an impending "darkness.” Joining her are an empath, a sorcerer (and his demon familiar), and a child shaman. Together they travel the world of Magdra, seeking the wisdom of various seers and soothsayers to complete their quest. Read the full book by following this link.

O-DARK-THIRTY: Aeromedical

O-DARK-THIRTY: Aeromedical

By David McOwen, Comedy Bootcamp Alumnus

April 18, 2017

Piece originally published in O-DARK-THIRTY. You can read the full piece here.

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I have broken people in my head.

I went to war with hopes and dreams, with fear (a little) of dying or (a lot) of screwing up. I went to live up to the memory of my uncle and a conjured idea of what it means to be a man. I went to prove that I could.

I went to help people.

I came back, mostly. I came back with pride and stories, with brothers and sisters I will love until my last day on earth. And I came back with broken people.