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Veterans Find Inner Artist Through Creative Writing at Lone Star College-Montgomery

Dave Parsens
Lone Star College-Montgomery English instructor Dave Parsons will teach a creative writing class this fall semester specifically designed for veterans. Parsons, a veteran and the 2011 Texas State Poet Laureate, has taught at LSC-Montgomery since the college began in 1995. To learn more about this and other fall classes at LSC-Montgomery, visit www.lonestar.edu.
Every veteran has a story to tell, and starting this fall
Lone Star College-Montgomery will offer a creative writing class specifically designed to help veterans, their families and their friends tap into their artistic side, allowing them to put pen to paper and creatively articulate their experiences.

LSC-Montgomery English instructor and 2011 Texas State Poet Laureate Dave Parsons emphasizes the benefits of a creative and supportive community in the course that he founded for veterans.

“Creative writing can be very valuable to a veteran, their relatives, or their friends,” Parsons said, who is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “As they feel they are ready to begin dealing with the many service-related stories they might like to share, the process is very objective and the students need to be able to separate their emotions about their writing.”

Inspired by the encouragement he witnessed at Austin Community College’s annual Veterans Day reading hosted by its creative writing program for veterans, Parsons wanted to offer that same inspiration to veterans at LSC-Montgomery, which last year enrolled approximately 700 veterans.

When brainstorming for this class, Parsons kept in mind the benefit it could have on veterans particularly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as creative writing can serve as a type of therapy to help alleviate the symptoms.

 “However,” Parsons said, “the main objective of the course is to find, write down, and perhaps publish untold, interesting and compelling poems, fiction, and memoirs that can be shared with others, as we see in so many award-winning pieces written by veterans.”

This class, while offering the potential to relieve stress and sharpen their artistic writing abilities, will prove beneficial to veterans either returning to school to work toward a new career, or those just enrolling to academically engage themselves.

Bill Neill, a retired veteran from the 1960s, enrolled in a general creative writing course with Parsons back in 2001. “Having an unplanned early retirement back in 2000, I desperately needed to intellectually engage my brain,” said Neill. “This class did just that, and Parsons was a wonderful mentor to that end.”

Neill claims that he didn’t necessarily take the class to “demilitarize,” but rather to challenge himself in a fun way. He found the course to be a stepping-stone to a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston Downtown, which would later lead him to an opportunity to further his education at Texas A&M.

The class, which is available in the fall for credit and as a continuing education course, will focus on fiction, non-fiction, poetry and memoirs. Class will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the fall semester, from 2-3:20 p.m.

For more information on the creative writing course for veterans at LSC-Montgomery, contact Dave Parsons at David.M.Parsons@lonestar.edu.

LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call (936) 273-7000, or visit www.LoneStar.edu/montgomery.

Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for more than 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion.  Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community college systems in the nation.  Dr. Steve Head is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.