Writing is a unique pursuit — few other things can span the distance between a trade and an art form while still falling under the same all-encompassing moniker. A “writer” might tell a story, educate a child, or offer the public an insight into problems real or imagined.

Here at SOFREP, we tend to do a specific kind of writing. We’re here to inform, to analyze, and to opine. We offer our audience a glimpse into our own perspectives, where many of us find a common ground. I think the allure of SOFREP isn’t that we’re writer’s in the artistic sense — it’s that, in all the ways that count, we’re just like our readers. Our kind of journalism is blue collar writing: pragmatic, based, and funneled through our experiences both in and out of uniform.

But as Luke Ryan demonstrates in his short story, “The Eighth,” some of us have a lot more in the tank than our sincere pragmatism. Some of us are storytellers in the artistic sense — seeking insight through imagination and bridging the divide between writing as a trade, and writing as an art form.

But if I’m honest, that “blue collar” truth I’ve come to Luke’s writing for on SOFREP remains, interwoven through his fiction — and that makes it all the better.