War Against the War Query Letter

In the fall of 2000, I was a small-town tomboy starting my senior year of high school. When a recruiter showed up promising a college education in exchange for one weekend a month, I joined the Army National Guard. A year later, two planes flew into the World Trade Center. A year and a half after that, we invaded Iraq. It was only a matter of time before I was called up. Just one problem. I was against the war.

At a time when my college peers were debating what to major in, going to parties, and working jobs they could quit without threat of prosecution by the federal government, I was fighting a secret battle, building a case for conscientious objector status. Every step of the way was fraught with guilt and trepidation. Who was I to abandon some of the most kind, funny, brave Americans I’d ever met? Who was I to go back on my own promise?

War Against the War is about the struggle to do the right thing when right and wrong is not black and white. It's about the attraction of forbidden barrack romances, drill sergeant mind games, and the constant tight-rope walk women in uniform find themselves performing. It’s about the Army’s uncanny ability to function like a family, even long after you’ve recognized you never belonged. It’s a story about a girl who made a bad choice and had to stand up against a male-dominated apparatus so powerful it has its own laws. It’s about digging under those walls and coming out with something to say about the sanctity of youth and a freedom that is truly free.

War against the War is unique. There has yet to be a memoir published by a conscientious objector who refused to ship out, let alone a woman who refused to deploy. I started working on the book while earning my MFA in creative writing at Saint Mary’s College of California. I received a six-month fellowship from the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto for the project, and excerpts have been published in CALYX, Grain, River Teeth, and Umbrella Factory. Part of the story is in podcast form thanks to The Lapse. The full 113,000-word manuscript is ready for review and I would love to share it with anyone with serious interest.