When Worlds Apart Come Together
Anthology explores realities of civilian meets military experience
Vicki L. Morrison
Embedded on the Home Front: Where Military and Civilian Lives Converge, co-edited by Barb Howard and Joan Dixon, is a brand new anthology of personal essays by Canadian writers with experience on the home front.
Published by Heritage House, the anthology considers an unexplored angle of a national issue – how the military experience affects not just our soldiers, but people at home. The home front being a minority community comprised of people with intimate connections to the military, as opposed to being the home front comprised of an entire nation.
Howard, an author, editor, and former lawyer, has published three novels, and a collection of short stories. Joan Dixon has been writing, editing, and researching books, magazines and other media for more than 25 years – she has long been fascinated by Canadian social and cultural history.
Embedded on the Home Front is full of compelling and thought provoking essays that capture the emotions, fortitude, and occasional humour that comprise the daily realities of life for those left at home when military members leave.
“Each contribution is a subjective and creative non-fiction, not just a factual layout,” says Howard. “The essays tell the stories of the 21st Century home front, where the military experience both connects and collides with civilian life. “Concepts of duty, faith, fate, remembrance, and family are examined.”
The timely anthology explores the peripheral, lasting impact the military experience has on families, friends, returning soldiers, and a nation. During World War I and World War II the home front was a definable place.
“If you weren't fighting on the front lines you were back on the home front,” says Howard. “Today with relatively few people having a direct link to the military, the notion of the home front has become more nebulous. It is now comprised mostly of families, friends, and the returning soldiers themselves. An essentially invisible group; often camouflaged by everyday jobs and activities.”
The launch of Embedded on the Home Front: Where Military and Civilian Lives Converge was, by all accounts, a tremendous success.
“The Naval Gallery was a spectacular setting,” says co-editor Dixon.
Several contributors gave short readings from their essays at the launch of the book, held on September 27 at the Military Museum in Calgary. Lectures were followed by a cocktail reception. Remembrance and family were explored when a moderated discussion took place following the readings. The audience was made up of military personnel and civilians.
“Many in the crowd of almost 100 guests said they'd never been to the Military Museum before,” says Dixon. “The mixed military family, and literary crowd made for a very receptive audience, and an excellent question and discussion period. There were a few teary moments, but thanks to Barb’s sense of humour, smiles won the day.”
For an in-depth review of Embedded on the Home Front: Where Military and Civilian Lives Converge, and a closer look at its contributors, please see CMF Magazine’s avid reader Teresa Gamble’s book review in our recently published holiday issue.