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Mon Jul 7, 2014, 08:12 AM

WORDS OF WAR Peace of mind


WORDS OF WAR Peace of mind
By Corinne Reilly
The Virginian-Pilot
July 6, 2014

Ron Capps is clearing his throat at the front of a classroom in Williamsburg. It's a Saturday morning.

He begins with questions: Who are you? Why are you here?

A National Guardsman says he drove all the way from Charlottesville because it turns out writing is harder than it looks. The veteran next to him says his thoughts have been especially scattered lately, and maybe it will help to see them on paper. A woman who deployed twice to Iraq explains that this was her therapist's idea.

After he lectures on narrative structure, theme, characters and endings, Capps, who grew up in Virginia Beach, tells his own story: There was Kosovo and Rwanda. Then Afghanistan and Iraq. Then Darfur. It was there, eight years ago, sitting alone in a pickup in the desert, that he nearly shot himself in the head. He'd made the decision. The pistol was in his hand. And then his wife happened to call and interrupt. He was sent back to the United States, where conventional treatment and alcohol weren't enough.

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