Archive - October 2010

1
Where To Go To Find A Title For Your Novel?
2
Good Books To Read On How To Write
3
Another Cook Book from Nancie McDermott
4
10 Simple Things To Do To Improve Your Prose
5
How To Write A Blog
6
What is a public record?
7
RPCV Writers Write The World
8
RPCV Women Who Write
9
The End Of Books. The Beginning Of Reading. How The Peace Corps Could Make A Difference!
10
Gene Stone (Niger 1974-76) Tells Secrets Of Health

Where To Go To Find A Title For Your Novel?

In his introduction to his novel Tough Guys Don’t Dance (1984) Mailer thanked Roger Donoghue [a former boxer who trained Marlon Brando for the movie, “On the Waterfront”] for telling him a story that resulted in a title for Mailer’s novel. It came from a story that Donoghue told Mailer: Frank Costello, the Murder Inc. kingpin, and his beautiful girlfriend greet three champion boxers in the Stork Club. Costello demands that each, in turn, dance with the woman, and each nervously complies. The last Willy Pep, suggests that Mr. Costello dance. The title is the punch line is the title of Mailer’s novel. “Tough Guys Don’t Dance,” answered Costello. So, the next time you’re in the Stork Club…

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Good Books To Read On How To Write

The Elements of Style by William Strunk & E.B. White The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging by the editors of the Post. Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction–and Get It Published by Alfred Fortunato and Susan Rabiner The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner The Portable MFA in Creative Writing by The New York Writers Workshop On Writing Well by William Zinsser Also check out: Poets & Writers magazine (www.pw.org) www.awpwriter.org

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Another Cook Book from Nancie McDermott

We met Nanci McDermott (Thailand 1975-78) years ago when she was living in California and had published her first book on Thai cooking.  She is now ‘back home’ in North Carolina, and doing ‘home coming.’This is an article about Nanci that appeared this last Wednesday in The Charlotte Observer and written by Andrea Weigl: Nancie McDermott wants you to bake pies. But she doesn’t insist on a homemade pie crust. Her recipes don’t assume you own a Kitchen Aid standing mixer. Your pies do not have to turn out as pretty as the pictures in her latest cookbook, “Southern Pies: A Gracious Plenty of Pie Recipes from Lemon Chess to Chocolate Pecan.” “I would like to be the enemy of perfectionism,” McDermott says. “There’s so much of that in food.” Rather, she says, “let the beautiful thing inspire you, not intimidate you.” This is the 10th book from McDermott, 58, . . .

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10 Simple Things To Do To Improve Your Prose

Here are a few suggestions to help you write like a writer. 1. Read great books, but also read bad books that will show you how Not to Write! 2. Write about what you know and where you lived and what you did in life. You have a ‘feel’ for that and it will come through in your writing. 3. Write about people and incidents you know. Use the correct names and places to keep it real. Later you can change the names and locations and call it fiction. 4. If you get hung up trying to remember a fact or piece of history, just leave it and move on and get ‘something’ written. You can drown doing research. It’s easy. Writing it hard. 5. Write everyday, even if it is only a few lines. Hemingway, they say, wrote only 50 words a day and then went fishing. (Actually I think he . . .

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How To Write A Blog

Want to write a blog? Here is some  basic information on writing one that might be useful, (not that I listen to myself!) 10 blogging tips. Keep your blog item short. Like being in the Peace Corps, it’s: “In, Up, and Out”! No more than 750+ words. Make one point in each blog, then get off the page. Try and post 3 times a week. You want readers to know you are out there and thinking of them. Start your items with a news ‘hook’ or with a great story, then make the point you want to make. Write from the heart, and as if you are having a conversation with a close friend. Don’t try an impress the reader with your prose. Talk about yourself, what you know, and what you have experienced. Be personal and honest.  Cut open your vein and bleed on the computer. Show passion. Write in simple sentences and . . .

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What is a public record?

The history of the Peace Corps can be found in the hearts and minds of people all over the world. It abounds in books and blogs, oral histories, letters, journals, and stories we tell each other and stories told by people in Host Countries about us. Public records are  a very small but critical part of this array. I focus on public records because they are the working documents that have been used, through time and space, in the operations of the Peace Corps.  They provide a historic framework. How they have been maintained through the last fifty years has varied because of technology as well as the perspective and regulations of the various administrations.  This following is based on my understanding of current procedures. So, what is a public record? Public records are created by a government agency to order to conduct the public business. These records could include everything . . .

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RPCV Writers Write The World

This article comes from UNLV’s Rebel Yell — American authors travel, write the world October 18, 2010 by Ian Whitaker Fifty years ago on Oct. 14, 1960, President John F. Kennedy laid the foundation for what would eventually become the Peace Corps. In celebration of the occasion, the Black Mountain Institute hosted their latest gathering on Thursday at the Doc Rando Recital Hall in Beam Music Center, with a panel of internationally recognized American writers. The topic for the night was “Writing the World: American Authors Looking Outward.” Headlining the event were writers Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, Peter Hessler, and Paul Theroux. The panelists were all former Peace Corps volunteers, born and raised in the United States, who developed their approach to life and writing through their experiences abroad. Writer and former Peace Corps volunteer Marnie Mueller moderated the discussion. Hessler, who taught English in China during the 1990s and later . . .

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RPCV Women Who Write

From time to time I’m asked by women where they might turn for help with getting started writing, places they can publish, classes they might attend. Here are a few suggestions. She Writes is a new marketplace for women who write. This community is worldwide. They declare they are about, “leveraging social media tools and harnessing women’s collaborative power, She Writes is fast becoming the destination for all women who writes.” Check it out at: www.shewrites.com Voices, is a new publishing imprint, fiction and nonfiction. It is an imprint by and for women. Check it out at: www.everywomansvoice.com Looking for a graduate program? Low-residency? Okay, here are two (there are others, of course). Goucher College–MFA in Creative Nonfiction: www.goucher.edu Queens University of Charlotte–Creative Writing: www.queens.edu

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The End Of Books. The Beginning Of Reading. How The Peace Corps Could Make A Difference!

Did you see the interview today with CNN’s Howard Kurtz and Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop per child? Negroponte says that the days of the physical book are numbered.  As e-book readers and tablet computers become more common, physical books could disappear sooner than expected. “It will be in five years,” said Negroponte. “The physical medium cannot be distributed to enough people. When you go to Africa, half a million people want books … you can’t send the physical thing.” Negroponte emphasized the efficiency of being able to put hundreds of books on the laptops his organization sends to villages. “We put 100 books on a laptop, but we also send 100 laptops. That village now has 10,000 books,” he said. It is for this reason that I have been campaign (without any success) to get the Peace Corps to send PCVs overseas with a Laptop to leave behind, just as we left . . .

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Gene Stone (Niger 1974-76) Tells Secrets Of Health

New York Times bestselling author Gene Stone (Niger 1974-76) has a new book, The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick, published by Workman and out this October.  Gene’s book tells the stories of twenty-five people who each posses a different secret of excellent health–a secret that makes sense and has a proven scientific underpinning. Three of the twenty-five come from RPCVs. Nate Halsey (Senegal 1996-98) credits cold showers; Sydney Kling (South Africa 2001-03) believes in friendships; and  Phil Damon (Ethiopia 1963-65), an old friend of mine and fellow teacher with me at the Commercial School in Addis Ababa, back in the day, swears on detoxification for a long and happy life. In writing this book, Gene underwent dozens of treatments from hypnotherapy to biofeedback, rolfing to Ayurvedic herbal rejuvenation. Gene is the co-author, most recently, of The New York Times bestseller The Engine 2 Diet, and his articles and columns have . . .

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