Stories Are What Save Us: A Survivor’s Guide to Writing About Trauma

By David Chrisinger



A seasoned writer and teacher of memoir pulls the curtain back on the process by which survivors of trauma may tell their stories—and become more whole in the process.

In Stories Are What Save Us: A Survivor’s Guide to Writing About Trauma, David Chrisinger shares a personal history of lessons learned while teaching military veterans, their families, and other trauma survivors how to make sense of and tell their stories of loss and transformation. Part writer’s guidebook, part memoir, and part teacher’s handbook, this profoundly moving and compelling book weaves together Chrisinger’s journey as a writer, editor, and teacher with a wide range of craft tools and storytelling structures he and his students have used to process trauma and conflicts in their own lives to create beautiful stories of growth and transformation. With laser-focused precision, he uses his lived experiences to show readers how to uncover, make sense of, and communicate what they’ve learned while fighting life’s battles—whatever they may be.

With a Foreword by Brian Turner, author of the memoir My Life as a Foreign Country and two collections of poetry—Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise. Brian’s essays and poetry have been published in the New York Times, National Geographic, Poetry Daily, The Georgia Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and several other journals. He has received a USA Hillcrest Fellowship in Literature, an NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, the Poets’ Prize, and a Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. He earned an MFA from the University of Oregon before serving for seven years in the U.S. Army. For a year in Iraq, Brian served as an infantry team leader with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Prior to that, he deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division.

And an afterword by Angela Ricketts, author of No Man’s War: Irreverent Confessions of an Infantry Wife. Angela holds a master’s degree in Social Psychology/Human Relations and worked for the American Red Cross in Germany in the 1990s. From then until her husband retired from the Army after 32 years and eight combat deployments, she used her formal education to navigate the politics and personalities that came with being an officer’s wife.