Archive - March 17, 2009

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Who Wanted The First PCVs?
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May Your Daughter Marry A Copy Editor

Who Wanted The First PCVs?

Everyone wants to be first! We know Ghana One were the first PCVs to step onto the tarmac in Accra on September 1, 1961. Those in training joked, “Here today, Ghana tomorrow.” But what nation made the first request to JFK for his Peace Corps Volunteers? Well, in late April 1961, Ghana also was the first country to ask for PCVs, and they got the first Volunteers. Tanganyika One (now Tanzania) started and finished their training earlier, but Ghana arrived in West Africa a few days before the Tanganyika Vols reached Dar es Salaam. Going to Africa in 1961, it took the Ghana group 21 hours in  a propeller-driven DC-7. When the 50 Volunteers arrived in Accra, Ken Baer, who had his B.A. from  Yale and his M.A. in history  from Berkeley, spoke for the group. He addressed the press and host country officials in Twi, saying in part, “We have come to learn as well as to teach.” That greeting has become for the Peace Corps the way generations of new  Volunteers . . .

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May Your Daughter Marry A Copy Editor

The curse in publishing is: “May your daughter marry a copy editor.” Copy editors are the last in line, certainly the least paid, (and with the smallest office) but perhaps the most important person for a writer who needs ‘fresh eyes’ on his or her prose to pick up the mistakes everyone else has missed. For example, her eyes were hazel on page 56 and then written as green on 213. That sort of editing. Copy editors are like blood hounds; they focus in on the kill, or in this case, the change in eye color. The world at large lumps all editors as one, but editors break down into several categories. Someone asked what an Acquisition Editor does. Well, they buy books to publish! They are the key people for a writer. They might also ‘edit’ if they are not too busy going to lunch with literary agents. They are . . .

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