Friday, June 26, 2015

Part I Hearing Voices: 6 Steps I Used For Creating An Anthology

by Janie Reinart
An anthology has the power to magnify the voices of its contributors much like the device of a Greek Chorus in a play. The Chorus is the mouthpiece for the audience clarifying the theme of the play, adding commentary, asking questions, and narrating the action. 

In an anthology, the contributors become the Chorus, fulfilling the same function, making sure the unique voice of that collection of work can be heard “loud and clear” by its readers.  

1. Find A Unique Theme   
After some positive experiences of contributing to educational anthologies, (see below) I was ready to work on my own. But what voice needed to be heard and hadn’t been heard before? 

A life-changing experience answered these questions when my son was deployed to war. 

The seldom-heard voices of mothers sending their sons and daughters to war needed to be heard. This Chorus would narrate their stories telling of the sacrifice our children and military families make every day.
The working title for the book was inspired by a letter sent from my son while serving in Iraq with six months more to go: “I look forward to brighter days of picnics and card games … and church and things that families do together. I love you deeply, more than you know. Your son, Joe.”

 2. Set Goals For Your Anthology 
My son made it home, defying death several times. I could breathe again. I wanted this to be a book where military mothers could all breathe a little easier, narrating our stories and sharing our burdens. Some of our stories are from Gold Star Mothers. Their children did not return. 

My goals:
*Share stories from mothers of soldiers 
*Use writing as a therapeutic venue
*Give back to our injured veterans  (A portion of the book’s proceeds is donated to charities.)

 3. Create Guidelines For Your Contributors
 I asked contributors to share glimpses of their lives: What does it mean to be the mother of a soldier? How did you make it through the journey of separation from your child during their deployment? How has this experience changed you? What is the status of your soldier? 

It was important to have these starting questions as a jumping-off point. Some contributors had never written their stories before, and they needed some guidance at first.

I also wanted to include interwoven in the chapters, copies of e-mails, letters, photos, and recollections of phone calls between mother and soldier(s). Hard to believe, but some moms had more than one child deployed at a time. All this was to be done free of political commentary.

Celeste Hicks with

                    Micala, Nate, Patrick, Philip, & Mary

Part two includes: search for a publisher, call for submissions, securing release forms, and the power of the anthology, and is scheduled for July 10,2015.


  1. Janie, This is an important project and I would love to buy a copy of the anthology when it is completed. These mothers' voices need to be heard. Yay for you for creating this.

    1. Kathy it done and available on amazon in both print and e-book form.

    2. OK, is it under your name as an editor?

    3. Yes, here is the link on amazon.

  2. Wow, such a powerful anthology you've created! Congrats on your hard work! I never thought about how an anthology is created. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Tina. It was a true labor of love.

  3. Interesting and thoughtful post. Thanks for providing details of your process! Very helpful to others who may take on similar projects. Thanks!

    I also love the theme of your book. I can't imagine being the mom of a soldier. Congrats on completing your labor of love!

    1. Jilanne, I wanted the book to give a "look in the window" of the everyday lives of military families-- a living history of our times. I couldn't imagine being a mom of a soldier either. Our children are so brave. You support them always.

  4. Janie, I will look foward to learning much from the July 10, 2015 article as I did from this one. Such a heartfelt sharing. Appreciations to you & especially to the men & women who serve/have served. A fitting week to post - approaching July 4th & all that represents.

  5. You are welcome Jan. Pray for our troops and for peace.

  6. Such a beautiful and heart warming post, Janie. You have shared an amazing story that honors our men and women in uniform. You and your husband raised a good man.

    Thank you for the information about anthologies. I have learned new information today.

    My husband Perry served in the US Air Force. We have a son who earned his nursing degree in the US Army. Another son who served in the US Coast Guard is an attorney. Prayers for those who wear the uniform proudly and their families who love and support them while on duty serving our great country.

    1. Suzy, thank you, your husband, and sons for making the world a better place. Amen to the prayers for military families and their children.