Archive - June 2010

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"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there
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Finding A Job In Publishing # 1
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Looking For A Good Editor For Your Book?
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African Time
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Review: Peter Blair's poetry about the PC experience – Farang
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Jane Albritton's (India 1967-69) Books Project
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Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part Fourteen
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Peace Corps Writers Launches New Line Of Books
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A Review of Eric Lax's Faith, Interrupted, by M. Susan Hundt-Bergan
10
The Peace Corps Schedules NO Events for 50th

"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there

We all know L. P. Hartley’s famous line from his novel, The Go-Between, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” Yes, they did, and there is a comment by “Joey” on the site today which reminds me that I should pay more attention to just ‘what they did’ back then, in that other country. I admit I have collected stories from those early years of the agency that paint an interesting time and want, for reasons of my own nostalgic self, to remember the best of times. Joey, however, lived through the worst of times, and she rightly remembers them, as she writes in her comment: “I love reading about the early romantic days of the Peace Corps. That is the Peace Corps I wanted so much to join. The Peace Corps I served in was very different. I try to be as accurate as I can about what I did, what I . . .

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Finding A Job In Publishing # 1

RPCVs who love books and magazines and want to find work that matches their love of literature and language are drawn to the world of publishing. They want to get a job where they can sit around all day and read books and get paid for it, you know,  like being a PCV. As a way of helping newly returning PCVs, I am going to post a series of short blogs about finding work in publishing. It is an area that I know a little about and these blogs might be of some help to all of you currently going through reverse cultural shock. Getting a job in publishing can be a problem because most RPCVs lack “publishingese,” the insider’s special blend of vocabulary, knowledge, skills, and manner of doing business that conveys a cosmopolitan, confident, can-do attitude worthy of an entry-level position. Aspiring publishers also lack information about the . . .

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Looking For A Good Editor For Your Book?

A free lance editor who has worked very successfully with an award winning RPCV writer is Lorraine Bodger. I want to recommend Lorraine to you if you are looking around for help with your manuscript. If you are submitting anything to an agent or publisher, it has got to be ready to be published. Lorraine might be the person who can make it happen for you. Here’s what she has to say: LORRAINE BODGER: PRIVATE PROFESSIONAL EDITING FOR YOUR WORK Whether you’ve got a book proposal or finished ms that’s ready to be submitted OR you’re under contract and working on a final ms OR you’re aiming for a POD book, your best chance of success is to present as perfect a piece as possible. I can help. A lot.  I’ve been working with writers for more than fifteen years, and I treat my clients with the respect and care . . .

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African Time

by Pat Owen (Senegal 2003–05) Posted on the blog of PeaceCorpsWriters.org on October 5, 2005 • RAMADAN STARTED THIS WEEK, a holy month of fasting for over a billion Muslims around the world.  Every year there is heated debate among astronomers as to exactly what day Ramadan begins, as it all depends on when the new moon of the ninth lunar month appears.  Eclipses, clouds, and astronomical calculations all play a role.  Religious leaders line up on opposing sides, too, albeit for different reasons.   Some of them say that Muslims throughout the world should conform to an announcement coming from Saudi Arabia; others say that different regions should make their own decisions about when to begin the fast, depending on their view of the moon. If you are a Muslim living in a remote part of Africa, all this debate doesn’t matter. I know, because last year at this time . . .

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Review: Peter Blair's poetry about the PC experience – Farang

Tony Zurlo understands a little about being a “farang” from his own experience as a “yang gui zi” (foreign devil) teaching in China (1990–91). He has published several books on nonwestern cultures and history, including books about China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. His newest books of poetry are now available: Go Home Bones published by Pudding House Publications, about the effects of war on families and society; and Dali’s Clock, Schrodinger’s Cat, and a Pair of Dice published by Big Table Publishing Co., about the chaos of life in this new age of quantum and string theory. • Farang by Peter Blair (Thailand 1975–78) Pittsburg: Autumn House Press, 2009. $14.95 65 pages Reviewed by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1964–66) LIKE MOST PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS, Peter Blair had a passion for absorbing the culture of his host country. In Farang, a collection of thirty six poems, he offers a perceptive narrative in lyrical . . .

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Jane Albritton's (India 1967-69) Books Project

In January 2008 I received an email from Jane Albritton (India 1967-69) asking if I would get the word out about her books project.  I was happy to do so. Anything to help RPCV writers get published. Anything to help RPCVs tell their stories. Anything to fulfill the Third Goal of the Peace Corps. Jane’s plan was to publish four books of stories for the 50th anniversary. The four volumes-Africa and the Middle East; After the Cold War (focusing on Central Asia and Eastern Europe); Asia and the Pacific; Central America, South America and the Caribbean-would feature stories from past and present volunteers, staff and instructors. Even while I was ‘spreading the word’ I thought to myself: This is a crazy idea! Four books by RPCV writers? Where would she find the writers? Who would publish four books by Peace Corps writers? Well, once again Coyne is proven wrong! Travelers’ Tales/Solas House, Inc. will . . .

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Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part Fourteen

Myth and mythology Finally we come back to Gertrude Stein’s famous comment to Hemingway. “You are all a lost generation,” she told him. The truth is that Stein had heard her French garage owner speak of his young auto mechanics and their poor repair skills as “une génération perdue.”      All Gertrude Stein wanted was competent mechanics to repair her car but Hemingway, seizing the expression, as any good writer would, identified a literary movement and a new way of looking at the world.      Peace Corps writers do the same by bringing the world back home through their own writing. They have an understanding of parts of the world few Americans will ever know. And as PCVs they have a “way of looking at this world” that is new and fresh and insightful. Fulfilling the Third Goal of the Peace Corps means telling your tales at home.      So, see how far . . .

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Peace Corps Writers Launches New Line Of Books

Marian Haley Beil and I are pleased to announce that Peace Corps Writers — one of the blog of Peace Corps Worldwide —  is launching a new line of books written by RPCVs. These books — fiction, non-fiction, travel, memoirs, poetry, etc. — will be published by CreateSpace, a well-known print-on-demand (POD) company that is , will carry the logo of the Peace Corps Writers imprint, and will be featured on our site and sold through Amazon.com. For your book to become part of this new publishing venture, your manuscript must first be submitted  to our editors for acceptance. Once that is accomplished, a fee of $150.00 will be charged that will cover the cost of a unique “Peace Corps Writers” ISBN number, rights to use the Peace Corps Writers imprint logo in the production of the book, and inclusion in this new line of books that will be promoted by our website, . . .

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A Review of Eric Lax's Faith, Interrupted, by M. Susan Hundt-Bergan

M. Susan Hundt-Bergan lives in Madison, WI, with her husband Hal. Susan is retired from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources where she was team leader for recycling. She is now a certified Lay Minister for the Diocese of Madison. She serves her parish, Blessed Sacrament, and the diocese in various ways, including coordinating the Catholic ministry at the Dane County Jail, a responsibility that takes her to the jail each Thursday night to worship and pray with incarcerated men and women.  She is blessed to be the mother of two and grandmother of three. Another joy and challenge is sharing ownership of a family farm with her ten brothers and sisters. • Faith, Interrupted, A Spiritual Journey by Eric Lax (Micronesia 1966–68) Alfred A. Knopf $26.00 288 pages April 2010 Reviewed by M. Susan Hundt-Bergan (Ethiopia 1966-68) IN THIS SPIRITUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY, Eric Lax writes about his journey from a . . .

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The Peace Corps Schedules NO Events for 50th

In their first public statement about celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, the current leadership under the direction of RPCV Aaron Williams, is doing little to nothing to celebrate the history and importance of  the agency. Today the Office of Communications, run by political appointee and non-RPCV Allison Price, announces with excitement in a single-page pdf that much is happening — but none of it is being staged, organized or supported by the agency itself. Director Williams is terrified, I’m sure, that Congress will be all over his ass for spending dollars on any sort of celebration of RPCVs and the Third Goal. Of course, such an event, as happened at the 25th Reunion on the Mall, generated front page newspaper stories across the country that showed America that the agency was alive and well. A reunion of thousand of RPCVs would show the U.S. that yes, there is still a Peace Corps! It . . .

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