CCAI presents reading by Reno veteran Cage

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, the Capital City Arts Initiative will present a public event by writer Caleb Cage. Cage will read from his collection of short stories, “Desert Mementos: Stories of Iraq and Nevada.” The event is part of CCAI’s ongoing “Nevada Neighbors” series and will take place at 6 p.m. at the Brick, 108 E. Proctor St. in Carson City. There will be an informal reception for Cage preceding the event at 5:30 p.m. No tickets are needed; the public is cordially invited.

“Desert Mementos is a collection of loosely connected short stories set during the early stages of the Iraq War (2004 and 2005),” according to Amazon. “The stories rotate from battles with insurgents and the drudgery of the war machine in Iraq to Nevada, where characters are either preparing for war, escaping it during their leave, or returning home having seen what they’ve seen.

“Cage captures similarities in the respective desert landscapes of both Iraq and Nevada, but it is not just a study in contrasting landscapes. The interconnected stories explore similarities and differences in human needs from the perspectives of vastly different cultures. Specifically, the stories deftly capture the overlap in the respective desert landscapes of each region, the contrasting cultures and worldviews, and the common need for hope. Taken together, the stories represent the arc of a year-long deployment by young soldiers. Cage’s stories are bound together by the soldier’s searing experiences in the desert, bookended by leaving and returning home to Nevada, which in many ways can be just as disorienting as patrolling the Iraq desert.”

Cage is a Reno native and a veteran of the U.S. Army. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, he served as a field artillery officer from 2002 to 2007, including time as a platoon leader in Baqubah, Iraq in 2004 and as an information operations battle captain in Baghdad in 2006. He’s co-author of “The Gods of Diyala: Transfer of Command in Iraq” (2008) with Gregory M. Tomlin and the author of “Desert Mementos: Stories of Iraq and Nevada” (2017).

After his Army service, Cage began his civilian career as a senior policy adviser to Nevada’s lieutenant governor, where he developed and managed several successful outreach initiatives aimed at serving Nevada’s veterans. In 2010, he was appointed to serve as executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services (NOVS), a cabinet-level agency responsible for serving veterans through a comprehensive veterans’ service program and 180-bed long term care skilled nursing facility. Currently, he serves as Nevada’s Chief of the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Advisor.

As part of his Nevada Neighbors activities, Cage will speak about constructing short stories from his military experiences to students and faculty at Carson and Douglas high schools.

The CCAI is an artist-centered organization committed to the encouragement and support of artists and the arts and culture of Carson City and the surrounding region. The Initiative is committed to community planning and building for the area’s diverse adult and youth populations through art projects and exhibitions, live events, arts education programs, artist residencies, and online projects.

The CCAI is funded in part by the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, Nevada Arts Council, John and Grace Nauman Foundation, Carson City Cultural Commission, Nevada Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities, NV Energy Foundation and U.S. Bank Foundation.

For additional information, visit CCAI’s website at


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