Fishtrap’s 2017 Big Read features the Vietnam War classic “The Things They Carried,” the semi-fictionalized wartime experience of author Tim O’ Brien.
Although the story is told from a man’s point of view, Fishtrap isn’t leaving out the women who supported the troops from afar.
Local writer Katherine Stickroth, a Vietnam-era wife herself, is leading a writing class tentatively titled: “The Other Warriors: Voices of the Women of Vietnam Veterans,” which is specifically aimed at women left behind during the conflict.
Stickroth is interested in sharing her experiences and learning of those of other women from the era. The class will discuss women’s stories from the era, including how they responded to sons and husbands going off to war, and their experiences once veterans returned home.
“(Life) is not the same,” she said. “Adjustments have to be made. So how do you make those adjustments? That’s where our stories come from,” Stickroth said.
Writing prompts for the class will be taken from “The Things They Carried,” but Stickroth may add other books to the curriculum.
“I’ll also be making references to other books that will generate conversations about a woman’s response, wife, niece, daughter — our response to what we see when (the veterans) get home,” Stickroth said.
She noted difficulties adjusting to civilian life can cause stress for both women and men.
“Even after discharge, there’s still the military training and mindset about how to think about things and how to react to things. Some people can’t close the door on that,” Stickroth said.