As I survey the afterglow of that long, hideous firefight, I realize that I am no longer a wild-eyed kid just off the plane from Los Angeles. I am a haggard veteran and I need a joint. There is a giant upheaval shaking the terrible foundations of my being.
Thus began a new war: the battle for my soul.
-Excerpt from Fred Rivera’s Raw Man
There are stories and there are stories. We are the collection of those stories, told and untold; popular and shameful. Fred Rivera made it a point to tell his story, though the living and telling of that story shook his physical, mental and spiritual foundation. The result of this phenomenal storytelling is a published work-- Raw Man, but the story of how the book was realized is a captivating on its own.
After years of pushing through the trauma and pain, and with the support of personal and professional friends, as well as a successful Kickstarter Campaign, Raw Man is now published and available to the public. There will be a book launch party on Saturday the 30th where
Throughout the next week, prior to the launch party for Raw Man, Fred Rivera will be doing TV and radio interviews with KPBS. Friends and fellow writers remembered Fred’s attendance of the Anti-Social Writer’s and Creative Misfits Meetup in Oceanside, California his novel was in its first birth pangs. One said “he sat in the back, never saying anything… but then he read and we were [blown away]”. A brief review for Raw Man is available on the Australia Veterans for Peace blog, saying his novel is “stripped of all the usual machismo and chest-thumping… one often finds in personal accounts of soldiering, [and] gives a brutally honest, soul searing glimpse…”.
As a child of a veteran, reading and writing about this story terrifies and thrills me. Have you a book or a story that you know will change you, and for that reason you almost don’t want to engage it? In the telling of Raw Man, Rivera metamorphosed into a new level of himself. He didn’t absolve himself from his sins, he simply told the story of them, along with his triumphs. He spoke of his PTSD and brokenness through his healing catharsis, which I believe is still in progress.
There is now a website, RawManthebook.com, “in which [we] will promote Fred's activities… T-shirts and books that promote PTSD awareness, with proceeds going directly to veteran's groups… helping our veterans heal from the lingering damage of war”, says Thornton Sully of A Word With You Press. I am truly looking forward to reviewing the book once it is released at the book launch on August 30th at the home of author Victor Villaseñor, who has supported Rivera’s publisher, A Word With You Press since it’s opening in 2009.
Should you find yourself in Oceanside, California on the 30th of August, you are cordially invited to attend the Raw Man book launch at the house of Victor Villaseñor at 2pm (click here for map/directions).
For more information about Fred Rivera’s publication and happenings, you may email Thornton Sully directly. Raw Man is now available on Amazon.com and his website. His prologue and first chapter are also available for reading and comments.