Archive - August 16, 2009

1
A Writer Writes: Holiday Obituary
2
RPCV Lipez's New Novel
3
Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Rules For Writing Fiction
4
The House On Churchill Road, Part 3

A Writer Writes: Holiday Obituary

Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) has self-published a number of travel books since returning from Honduras. The following piece is from a collection of stories that he will publish soon. In the preface, Larry writes, “Sometimes life offers delicious experiences when least expected. These stories were born in such circumstances a quarter of a century ago, shortly after returning home following five years south of the frontera. Studying art at a local junior college, I was fascinated by students who set up easels in art museums and tried to recreate masterpieces stroke for stroke. This led to my own experiment; to write my own stories while emulating the styles of my favorite authors. “Today it seems blasphemous to mention their names when referring to my efforts. However, it is worth mentioning that the exercise offered me an opportunity to be as crazy as I wanted to be. Heck, one of . . .

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RPCV Lipez's New Novel

Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) reviews a new novel by Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) who writes under the pseudonym of Richard Stevenson. The book is entitled, The 38 Million Dollar Smile, and is published by MLR Press. It comes out in September. • If you are looking for a page-turner this Indian Summer, The 38 Million Dollar Smile could be the book. The latest mystery in the Don Strachey series, this book describes the search for a rich American who disappeared in Thailand with his portion of a family fortune ($38 million). Told in first person, filled with slang in the mystery novel format, the story offers the unexpected, as do the previous Don Strachey books. Don Strachey is a gay private detective. In this particular book, he is chosen to search for the missing American by his ex-wife because the missing man was also gay. She believes that the . . .

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Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Rules For Writing Fiction

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. 2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for. 3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water. 4. Every sentence must do one of two things-reveal character or advance the action. 5. Start as close to the end as possible. 6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of. 7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia. 8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should . . .

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The House On Churchill Road, Part 3

Before telling you what happens next, one more point is worth mentioning. We had trained that summer of  ’62 for two months at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Ethiopian students studying in graduate schools in the United States had been hired to teach us Amharic, a totally hopeless task as I recall, but outside of class we could talk to them and learn about the real Ethiopia, lessons we didn’t think we were learning in our area studies of the Empire. The Ethiopian language instructors painted an idealistic paradise of their homeland: of rural people living simple uncomplicated lives in quaint tukul hut villages; of an African nation that did not need the corruption of American know-how and progress, of Western values and ways. Several weeks into our Georgetown Training a wave of doubt swept across that summer campus: Why were we going to Ethiopia to teach English to these . . .

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