The Soldier And the Most Vulnerable Man In the World

NCWA welcomes Joe Bunting from The Write Practice in a series of writing prompts.

This post contains excerpts from Joe’s e-book. See links following post to obtain the complete version.


I heard the story of a man named Ed who has Lou Gehrig’s disease. Doctors told him he had two to five years to live. Ten years later, he is still alive. It’s something of a miracle. However, sometimes he can’t button his shirt on his own, his hands are frozen stiff and turned inward in strange shapes, and he talks slowly, like a man whose voice has almost run out.

When his son was sent to Iraq, he said, “Enough is enough, God.” What was to be done, though? He and his wife drove his soldier son to the airport. “I think he was trying to be brave,” Ed told us. In the back seat, there was the soldier, the stoic.

In the front, watching him and fearing for him, sat the father, the disabled man whose vulnerabilities were visible before all the world.

Today I went to a conference in Chicago…which reminded me I have a story that matters. You have a story that matters, too.

In fact, our stories can change the world. However, right now I feel weak. It’s late. I don’t really want to be writing right now. The words I’m writing are not very good. I don’t have anything to teach. My voice feels like it has long run out. But at least I’m here, being brave. This is the battle going on inside of all of us, writers or not. It’s a battle between the stoic soldier and the vulnerable, disabled one. A good writer, I think, gives voice to both.

The Prompt
Write a story about a disabled man and a soldier. What do they say to each other? How do they interact?


Excerpts and writing prompt from Joe Bunting’s e-book,

14 Prompts, available by clicking on the link.


Joe Bunting is the founder of  The Write Practice. He loves the sound of a good sentence and would like to think of himself as a literary snob but can be kept up far too late by a page turner meant for thirteen year old girls. He would like for you not to know that though. He and his wife, Talia, enjoy playing backgammon and Angry Birds on her iPhone. Click here to view his website.

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