Tenley Lozano

After graduating from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 2008, Tenley Lozano spent five years as an officer in the US Coast Guard. During her tenure, she worked in the engineering department on a ship that patrolled the Pacific Ocean from Vancouver to the equator chasing drug runners. She then attended Navy Dive School and spent two years as a Coast Guard Diver at Maritime Safety and Security Team 91109.

Tenley’s work has appeared in Permission to Speak Freely, O-Dark Thirty, The War Horse, and in the anthology Incoming: Veteran Writers on Returning Home. She was awarded Crab Orchard Review’s 2017 John Guyon Literary Nonfiction prize for an essay about PTSD and finding healing through backpacking with her dog. Tenley graduated from Sierra Nevada College in 2016 with an MFA in Creative Writing. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter, and visit her website.

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Episode 5: What’s Lost at Sea

“I was much further out than you thought, And not waving but drowning.” –Stevie Smith.

Today’s episode is titled “Lost At Sea,” for two reasons: firstly because we’ll be hearing from service members who spent a lot of their time bobbing on the water, Kurt Kalbfliesh of the Navy and Tenley Lozano of the Coast Guard, but also because their stories both touch on what they sacrificed and endured during their service that impacted the rest of their lives.

Contributors: Kurt Kalbfleisch and Tenley Lozano.

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Episode 4: Invasions

“Tell me a Story!” He said. “I’ll tell you a story.”

Invasion can be both psychological and literal. We’re very lucky to be able pair up two contributors who dealt with invasion and actually served together at the same time in Iraq, but from very different places. Our contributors are Francisco Martinezcuello, a mustang officer, and Sammi S., an Iraqi man who was barely a teenager when he became an interpreter for the Marine Corp., and in a very literal way was raised by them.

Contributors: Francisco Martinezcuello and Sammi S.

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Episode 3: Time is a River

The past doesn’t go anywhere. Time is a river, and you are standing in it. – Utah Phillips

Today’s show is split into three parts and three different veteran writers, each focusing respectively on periods before the country went to war after 9/11, during deployment downrange in Iraq, and the aftermath after leaving the service. That’s why we’re titling today’s show, “Time is a River,” after one of my favorite quotes of all time, by the American folksinger Utah Phillips, who said, “The past doesn’t go anywhere. Time is a river, and you are standing in it.” Each part is told respectively by Army veterans Kelli Hewlett, Brooke King, and Zack Dryer, and while their experiences were wildly different, they shared a part of the same war at different points and collectively tell its story in-brief.

Contributors: Kelli Hewlett, Brooke King, Zack Dryer.

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Episode 2: Souvenirs

What happens overseas comes home with you, and can find a way to reappear back into your life when you least expect it.

Today’s episode is titled, “Souvenirs,” which in the context of the stories you’re about to hear is a little tongue-in-cheek, a little bit of that dark humor people under stress employ from time to time to get by, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate it by the end. The gist is that what happens overseas comes home with you, and can find a way to reappear back into your life when you least expect it

Contributors: Brandon Lingle, Alex Flynn, and Brent Wingfield.

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Episode 1: Our Reasons

Less than one percent of the entire country serves in the military at any given time nowadays, which is perfectly fine from a national security perspective, according to experts on the matter, but that situation becomes problematic on other fronts once we consider how it might affect our democracy, civilian engagement with foreign policy, or the very social contract that holds us all together.

Asking so few to carry a burden so large, one that we’ve all benefited from regardless of our personal politics, is not a deal that comes without consequences. What happens during war time doesn’t end when the war ends, if the wars of our time ever end anymore. It doesn’t end when a service member comes home either, in fact coming home is often more dangerous for a lot of people than being deployed.

The transition back to the civilian world has always been a lonely one, but coming home to a place where most civilians have no idea what service members have done, and have some major misconceptions about it, makes it more so. And while not all of our veterans need help, some do.

The 22 veteran suicides that happen every day on average demonstrates that fact, a number that far outpaces the rate of casualties that have resulted from combat or accidents in the line of duty. And until all of us have some idea about who our military is and what their lives are like, we won’t know how to stop it.

So we started this program to ask questions, hear stories, and learn. Because that’s what we know how to do.

But we’re not just listening and asking questions because it’s ethically imperative; we’re listening because what they have to say is compelling, and artfully rendered, funny, poignant, surprising, and all the other things you want from good storytelling.

Some of the voices you’ll be hearing from are studied writers who want to do this for a living, and others are fascinating individuals we’ve met along the way who have a great tale to tell that we wanted to share with you. But one thing holds true for all of them and it is this: the men and women you’re going to meet are artists. Full stop. Who are also veterans. So we regarded them as such.

On behalf of all our contributors, past, present, and future, thank you for making this possible and for being our audience. The reader completes the writer, and it’s an enormous privilege to have this forum where we can all sit down and talk together at last.

Contributors: Jesse Goolsby and Adam Stone.

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Incoming receives mention by The Strategy Bridge

We were very happy to see Incoming had received a kind mention in comparison to Darrio DeBattista’s wonderful anthology, “Retire the Colors,” reviewed by The Strategy Bridge!

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Incoming featured by War, Literature, and the Arts

Read Megan Kahn’s interview with Justin Hudnall in the current issue of War, Literature & the Arts.

Justin and Megan’s interview addresses the need for veteran literature and literary outreach in general, and, in insightful and revealing detail, they break down the process of creating and editing Incoming, both the book and the episodes of the radio show.

[W]e’d like to see the literary industry become much more populist in general, willing to invest more in developing voices and mentoring them rather than just waiting for finished novels and memoirs to show up at their door, because the majority of those come from people of privilege and education, which results in a monotone body of works available. If people aren’t reading enough, I believe it’s because they’re not seeing their lives reflected in the stories being shoved at them.

[…]

I believe the Incoming project—as much media as funding allows us to generate through it—is good for our democracy, to “bridge the gap” as the oft-used phrase goes, between the small minority that carries the burden for their entire country’s foreign policy, and the rest in order for them to understand the world they’re living in.

Read the rest here: http://wlajournal.com/wlaarchive/28/kahn.pdf

Thank you Megan and all at WLA. The issue of WLA Journal also features poetry, fiction, memoir, art, other interviews, critical essays, lectures, reviews, and more. And for you veteran writers out there, they accept submissions year round, so send them your work!

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INCOMING is outgoing!

12592301_10154661114071164_408920982876936959_n“What they have to say is often unbearable, sometimes hilarious, always compelling, and cinematic.” – Robin Young, NPR’s Here and Now.

The book that launched the public radio series is officially available! Featuring many of the contributors you’ve heard already, along with several you’ll hear  when Incoming returns to the air this summer, Incoming: Veteran Writers on Returning Home is one of the most important new collections of modern war literature available. Featuring the true, poignant, funny, and brutally honest accounts by American veterans of their experience returning to civilian life, this collection stands as a beautiful piece of literature, an important historical document, and a powerful tool to help bridge the divide between civilians and their military.

Here’s how you can get your hands on it and help the project:

Buy the book!
– On Goodreads: mark the book as to-read, and once you’ve read it, rate it!
– Like the Incoming Facebook page!
– Ask your friends to contribute to our fund to finish the Incoming Radio series!
– If you’re going to AWP LA this week: come visit So Say We All at table 438! We’ll have copies of the book (along with other titles from our catalogue in supply), the officers of the organization will be there to shake your hand, and a full handle of decent rye whiskey is under the table that we’ll be happy to tip back with you.
– If you work in education and you think this important book will serve your classroom, contact us directly at info@sosayweallonline.com for the special education bulk rate, so we can get this title in your students’ hands as easily as possible.

Thank you all for being supporters of the written and spoken word, and helping So Say We All serve those who have served us all.
– Justin Hudnall, Executive Director

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Benjamin Busch

Benjamin Busch served 16 years as an infantry and light armored reconnaissance officer in the United States Marine Corps, deploying to Iraq in 2003 and again in 2005 where he was wounded in the battle for Ramadi. He is the author of a memoir, Dust to Dust, and has published in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Five Points and Michigan Quarterly Review among others. He has been a contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered and The Daily Beast. He lives on a farm in Michigan.

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