Vietnam Vet Teaches Songwriting and Creative Writing to Help Veterans Dealing with Post Traumatic Stress
SCOTTSDALE – For years, combat veteran Sarge Lintecum struggled to keep his mind out of the Vietnam jungle. Then he picked up a pen and began to write songs. For the first time, he was able to find some measure of peace.
Two blues albums and a full-length book later, Lintecum is sharing that peace with other veterans by teaching a free, six-week creative writing class at the American Legion in Cave Creek beginning Tues., Jan. 28.
The class is one of six free art and creative writing classes for veterans sponsored by the non-profit American Healing Arts Foundation (AHAF). All of the classes will take place at the American Legion in Cave Creek at 6272 E. Cave Creek Rd. Artists from the nearby Arizona Fine Art EXPO are donating their time to teach the art classes.
“I was able to write about things that I couldn’t talk about, even with my wife,” says Lintecum who served three tours of duty in Vietnam. “I am blessed to be able to teach this class, because when I write and when I help other veterans with PTSD, it is medicine for my own PTSD.”
The free classes last six to seven weeks and begin the week of Mon., Jan. 27. Veterans can join the classes at any time. Options include:
· Sculpting the head in oil and clay with Craig Bergsgaard – Mondays from 10 a.m. – noon
· Pet and animal acrylic painting with Marilee Adams – Mondays from 5-7 p.m.
· Beginning to intermediate oil painting with Keith Dabb – Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – noon
· Song and creative writing with Sarge Lintecum – Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m.
· Batik egg with Jordan Byrd – Wednesdays from 10 a.m. – noon
· Desert and life acrylic painting with Arthur Benjamins – Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m.
“We want our veterans to know how grateful we are for their sacrifices and that they are never alone,” says Judi Combs, American Healing Arts Foundation founder and co-founder of the Arizona Fine Art EXPO. “Our mission is to provide hope, support and friendship to vets through these free art classes.”
Writing Helps Sarge Lintecum with Post Traumatic Stress
Lintecum stumbled upon singing and songwriting to help his PTSD after traditional therapies and medications didn’t help.
“PTSD made it difficult for me to keep my mind from constantly going back to the jungle,” says Lintecum. “I discovered that if I was studying something, learning something new or writing, I could concentrate enough to keep my mind from slipping back.”
He began performing at open mic nights in Tucson in the 1980s with two blues songs about PTSD. In 1987, he was asked to perform at the first Nam Jam concert for veterans in Tucson. For the next 25 years, he performed a 45-minute blues set at Nam Jam every year. He even released two albums titled “Vietnam Blues” and “PTSD Blues.”
When COPD robbed him of his ability to play full shows, Lintecum began to panic. So, he pivoted from singing and playing the harmonica to a different type of creative writing. His book, “Seven Short Stories of the Vietnam War”, is a compilation of seven stories based on his personal experiences in Vietnam.
His songs and book help veterans from recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to those who served in Vietnam.
“The weapons and surroundings may change, but war is war and combat is combat,” says Lintecum. “New veterans can relate to what I say because they’ve experienced the same things – things you may not understand about yourself.”
For more information about the American Healing Arts Foundation or how to participate in its free art classes, call (480) 837-5637 or visit AmericanHealingArtsFoundation.org.