Stories Are
What Save Us

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.

Since 2013, David Chrisinger has taught military veterans, their families, and other trauma survivors how to make sense of and recount their stories of loss and transformation. The lessons he imparts can be used by anyone who has ever experienced trauma, particularly people with a deep need to share that experience in a way that leads to connection and understanding.

In Stories Are What Save Us, Chrisinger shows — through writing exercises, memoir excerpts, and lessons he’s learned from his students — the most efficient ways to uncover and effectively communicate what you’ve learned while fighting your life’s battles, whatever they may be. Chrisinger explores both the difficulties inherent in writing about personal trauma and the techniques for doing so in a compelling way. Weaving together his journey as a writer, editor, and teacher, he reveals his own deeply personal story of family trauma and abuse and explains how his life has informed his writing.

Part craft guide, part memoir, and part teacher’s handbook, Stories Are What Save Us presents readers with a wide range of craft tools and storytelling structures that Chrisinger and his students have used to process conflict in their own lives, creating beautiful stories of growth and transformation. Throughout, this profoundly moving, laser-focused book exemplifies the very lessons it strives to teach. A foreword by former soldier and memoirist Brian Turner, author of My Life as a Foreign Country, and an afterword by military wife and memoirist Angela Ricketts, author of No Man’s War: Irreverent Confessions of an Infantry Wife, bookend the volume.


Watch and listen as David reads excerpts from his book.

Praise for Stories Are What Save us:

A timely look that will appeal to anyone looking for a way to tell their story and in doing so gain a better sense of control and peace. Stories Are What Save Us will be useful in courses and workshops on expressive writing, writing to heal, or trauma.

Adam Perlman, MD, MPH, Mayo Clinic Florida

Guiding readers who are interested in writing about their traumatic experiences, Stories Are What Save Us helps both to make such writing and the process that generates it meaningful. Anyone who is looking to make sense of their trauma, particularly military veterans, would be interested in reading this well-conceived book.

Johanna Thompson-Hollands, Boston University School of Medicine

David Chrisinger is a deft and engaging storyteller. He compellingly weaves together his own inspirational and healing story with vibrant examples of the memoir form. Helping veterans and other who have experienced trauma to write their stories, this book fills a niche in the memoir writing genre. I look forward to having it in my resource library.

Kathleen Adams, LPC, Journal Therapy for Calming Anxiety: 366 Prompts to Help Reduce Stress and Create Inner Peace