My Issues Become the Paper’s Issues: Why I Write Now by Matthew Brown
Writing got me in touch with my emotions after I came home from Iraq
Writing has been something I have done off and on since about 5th grade or so. I wasn’t all that good at it in the early years of my life, even through high school. I would do some creative writing for English class if I needed to, or to try and impress a girl. Nothing really too deep or too touching. I look back at it now and see what I was missing.
The element of my muse I was searching for with my writing was…pain, suffering, rock bottom, I suppose. Being deployed to Iraq gave me these things. I had stopped writing for about six years after high school until I had a chance to share my story. Melanie Davis reached out to a few disabled veterans through the Wounded Warrior Regiment with the Marine Corps. She was writing a book of veteran stories, and she wanted us to share our stories of triumph and our pain. Being a personal historian, she is very interested in preserving our heroes’ stories. I expressed my interest in writing my story about my military career, and with Melanie’s help I got my chance. After some writing and many phone calls, we started to piece together my story.
Through writing about my life during my time in the Marine Corps and after, I started to get in touch with the deep down, raw emotions of the darkest corners of my mind. They truly scared me, and I really did not know what to do with them. With encouragement from my wife and some pushing from Melanie, I started to express these emotions on paper, in ways I never had before. The power of releasing those emotions was amazing. I started to feel the stress of the hard times in my life beginning to fade. They never will go away, because they are part of me, but they started to fade. I just started writing, and my writing became free form poetry.
I let my issues become the paper’s issues as I spilled my passions, anger, remorse, and sadness on the blank, white page. It left me drained but somehow mentally satisfied. The more I wrote, the stronger some of the emotions got. I began thinking that I can’t be the only veteran who feels this way. So I took a huge step and started to share my words with the world via social media, friends, and some online publications. The feedback I have been receiving from other veterans has been a large outpouring of support. My writing is shared from the veteran to a loved one or another veteran and sparks conversations that might never have happened without a little push from my writing.
About the Author
Lance Corporal Matthew J. Brown, USMC RET, is an aspiring military author who has overcome many of the struggles of living daily life with PTSD and a traumatic brain injury and now has made it his life goal to help others through these same struggles with his writing.
This article is reprinted with permission from Brain Injury Journey – Hope, Help, Healing Issue 2, June / July 2013.