A Message from Kurt Kalbfleisch for Memorial Day

As a part of our Incoming fundraising campaign, we asked veteran Kurt Kalbfleisch to say a few words about his work with So Say We All. Kurt is a joy to work with, and we are so honored to have helped him tell his story. And, as we like to say on Incoming, we’ll let Kurt tell you the rest:

As I sat down to write a few words at the request of Julia Evans, Program Coordinator for So Say We All, Pandora chimed in with the theme from Band of Brothers. Of course it did. It’s the perfect music for this Memorial Day weekend, and the perfect music to accompany the grateful words of this particular veteran-writer to her and her organization. It’s particularly fitting because perfect music is an important part of my experience with So Say We All.

Like every sailor before or since, I am a teller of stories. Give me an audience of one, and I’ll figure out a way to share a sea story. So I joined the SSWA Veteran Writers Workshop last summer knowing I had some stories to draw from.

That is, until Renee St. Louis, our facilitator, explained that the theme would be “Homecoming”. I didn’t think I had any good homecoming stories. I am a sailor, so of course, I have come home more than a few times, but never experienced the kind of greeting given to so many of my shipmates. Renee helped me find my homecoming story.

Since then, I’ve told that story in an auditorium and in an empty storefront. I’ve told it in a room of college students attending a lecture series. I’ve told it in a quiet room, just me and a microphone.

SSWA set that one to music, perfect music, and got it on the radio.

Every time I have interacted with So Say We All, I’ve come away feeling like a writer. Not just someone who puts words on a page, but a no-kidding writer. The kind who has reserved parking at the library. The kind who tears his hair out dealing with editors. The kind who has his name on signs at SDSU including him in that lofty group known as “living writers”. The kind who gets to have dinner with other writers and listen to their stories. The kind of writer who inspires perfect musical scores. A real frakking writer.

That’s what So Say We All means to me. I am grateful.

–Kurt Kalbfleisch
Memorial Day, 2015

To contribute to So Say We All and help support our work in the community as well as Incoming production, visit our Fundrazr.

To listen to Kurt’s story on Incoming, visit http://incomingradio.org or http://kpbs.org/incoming