Things to Know as a Veteran Participant
First and foremost, your dignity is paramount to us. The strength it takes to own your story, and beyond that, to have the courage to share it for the benefit of others, will always be recognized and appreciated throughout the process. Regardless of the subject matter, be it funny or tragic, prideful, shameful, or resigned, our veteran participants should feel free to speak their truth.
Rules of Engagement
-If you don’t have someone writing your story, we can supply one for you. However, even though our writers know to approach you with the dignity and respect you deserve, we cannot guarantee a specific writer to you. New dialogue is, after all, one major reason why we do this.
-Any stories told, be it written or dictated, are subject to the laws in accordance with Stolen Valor. If the spirit of the story given is not in the same context as the actual events, we cannot use said story. We take this seriously. We strongly recommend you do the same.
-We run the gamut of storytelling, from pride to shame to resignation, from comedic stories to those regarding sexual assault or LGBTQ issues. Not all heroes have been to a battlefield, and not everyone on a battlefield is a hero. In fact, go ahead and throw out the idea of “heroes,” unless speaking of others who have inspired you. Though pride is welcome, narcissism is not.
-If you have a great story but you don’t think it’s appropriate because society doesn’t want to hear it, as long as it doesn’t undermine the dignity of those involved, send it. It may very well be exactly what we’re looking for.
Here’s an example: Veterans have been deported.
This is an uncomfortable topic, but one that needs to be discussed. Don’t shy away from them.
-We are not a religious or politically affiliated nonprofit. If you want to include either of these, it must be a poignant addition to the story.
Example: Claiming a party/religion is the “right” one, rather than how their ideals could be attributed to the story.
-Because cultural cohesion is our mission, it’s important to welcome dialogue between yourself, the writer, and the artist. Arguing with or ignoring them will undermine that mission. If this is a potential issue, let us know. In some cases, we may be able to adapt.
-You will be offered information on and direction to local nonprofits in your area and region whose focus may benefit you. Whether that be local VFWs, art-therapy organizations, or so many others who have their own focus. It is probably in your best interest to check them out, but this is not mandatory.
What to Expect
Our preferred method is to pair veterans with civilian writers, so if you know of a writer that wants to write your story, or may be interested in working with B&B, introduce us! We always welcome the opportunity to work with new people. But as of now, we are allowing veterans to submit their own stories, though they will also be edited and refined.
Though we don’t have the immediate means, in the future we will be incorporating a survey that will be taken four times throughout the process, from initial interview to roughly a month after the end of our traveling art project. We do this in order to get the feedback we need to make sure we are the best nonprofit we can be, where we fall short, and where we excel.
Steps To Expect:
Step 1– After submitting interest through our online portal, we will set up a time that works best for you in order to conduct an interview, whether that be in person or online.
Step 2– Unless otherwise noted, a representative of Bullets and Bandaids will conduct the interview, asking specific questions to ensure that the spirit of your story, as well as glimpses of your character, are acknowledged and captured.
Step 3– After we have either written or edited your story, we will send it to you to ensure your comfort with it. Take your time with this. Because we have so many to contend with, we can only accept two edits for each story. Once we’re given the okay, we cannot afford further edits. That doesn’t, however, mean that we you have to edit it at all. The option is open. However, if you aren’t satisfied with the story or the writer, we will not be able to use it in the upcoming show.
Step 4– The story will be handed to the artist, who will then have between 2-3 months to create their work. Please keep in mind that the artists and veterans are chosen at random, which means though each artist has a strong voice and capable methodology, the medium and execution of each piece is a translation of your story through their lens. Through this, we recognize the attempt of the artist trying to understand where you are coming from. This is done with humility in themselves and pride in you. The artwork just happens to be the end result.
Step 5– Once the artist is finished, we will be taking high-resolution photos of the artwork in order to place them next to your story in the book that will be printed in order to cover the entire show.
Step 6– The book is made and we prepare for our upcoming tour.
Step 7– The actual tour itself takes roughly 5 weeks.
Step 8– After the show, you will get a high-resolution print on canvas of one chosen piece of work of art from the show, which will be either shipped or delivered to you.
Thank you so much for your courage, effort, and generosity!
Our next iteration, Bullets and Bandaids Vol. 3, ‘What Now?’ will begin in November of 2021