“Where Suns Collide,” by David C. Ake

Tonight is bittersweet for me. Fourteen months after 12 students gathered in my apartment as part of The Invictus Writers project, tonight we begin the process of publishing Vol. 2 of our work.

The 2012 edition of the group had a different vibe than did the 2011 group, in some measure because we began with twice as many writers. The one constant between the two groups, though, was David Ake.

Tonight I’m proud to present to you, “Where Suns Collide,” his tale of traveling to the Boundary Waters in search of something he wasn’t quite sure he’d find. While not a direct sequel to “Waystation,” the essay he wrote for the Invictus Vol. 1 project, If I Leave Here Tomorrow: Tales of Risk & Rebirth, it’s clear to me that these two stories are bookends to his life before and after his service in the Iraq war.

Now, traditionally I write a little introduction to the author when they are publishing their work in which I recount our first meeting, and lay out my thoughts about the writer. In this case, that would be redundant. You can read what I wrote about David last year.

Instead of re-introducing him to you, I’m forced to say goodbye to him, which as a teacher is one of the hardest parts of this job. As of this writing, David is in California with his beautiful new bride as they start their life together as a couple. Like the rest of the writing class, he’s struggling looking for work and not always sure that he’ll find his way in the literary world.

We exchange phone calls and emails although not as often as either of us would like. This is simply the nature of the world. 

What I do know about David, though, is even though this is the last project we will ever work on as teacher and student, this is not the last time our paths will cross. He is one of those rare individuals who has both a depth of passion, intelligence, and empathy. He is a warrior and a poet, and whatever swath he cuts through life I know I will have the chance to watch with great pride.

He is very much one of those young men whom I’ve had the great honor to teach, and with whom I share a bond that goes far past the classroom. And I am extremely proud to one again launch The Invictus Writer’s book with his essay.