Archive - September 2015

1
Roland Merullo (Micronesia 1979-80) Reissue of The Italian Summer
2
Kevin Quigley (Thailand 1976-79 & CD Thailand 2013-15) New President of Marlboro College
3
Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-93) In D.C. and Virginia This Week
4
Naming the Peace Corps
5
Norman Rockwell and the Peace Corps, Part Two
6
Norman Rockwell and the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, Part One
7
Review — King of the Gypsies by Lenore Myka (Romania 1994–96)
8
Review — Africa’s Heart by Mark Wentling (Honduras 1967–69)
9
Review — Ripples in the Pond by Michael Stake (India 1966–68)
10
Novel Writing 101–What Genre Is Your Novel? #1

Roland Merullo (Micronesia 1979-80) Reissue of The Italian Summer

AJAR Contemporaries a division of PFP Publications announces the reissue of Roland Merullo’s memoir/travelogue The Italian Summer: Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como. First published in 2009, The Italian Summer has been called “a colorful, affectionate tour of Italian landscape and food” by Kirkus Magazine and “simply a wonderful read” byBookReporter, it is a charming narrative of a glorious summer of golfing, eating, and learning how to slow down and enjoy life. The best-selling author of Breakfast with Buddha, Golfing with God, Revere Beach Boulevard and others, combines two of his greatest passions – travel and golf – in this humorous and poignant look at Mediterranean life. Feeling a little burnt out by the frantic pace of life in the United States, Merullo decided to rent an Italian villa near the shore of Lake Como in a small town called Mezzegra. He arrived in Italy with his wife and two young daughters determined to . . .

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Kevin Quigley (Thailand 1976-79 & CD Thailand 2013-15) New President of Marlboro College

Kevin Quigley is use to small organizations. He ran the NPCA that had less than 2,000 members; was CD of Thailand which has 90+ PCVs, and is now at Marlboro College in Vermont which has an enrollment of 200+ undergraduates. Kevin, who speaks fluent Thai,  became a Buddhist monk before returning home from his Peace Corps tour. His Thailand experience as a PCV and on the staff, plus his understanding and love of Buddhism, should help him recruit students from Asia. We wish him well. The following press release is from the college and was issued a few hours ago. Marlboro College welcomes new president Marlboro College: Kevin F.F. Quigley comes with wealth of experience Core value: Service ‘is a powerful foundation for a liberal arts education’ By Chris Mays Marlboro College’s newest president, Kevin F.F. Quigley, is welcomed during an inauguration ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Fletcher) MARLBORO: Marlboro . . .

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Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-93) In D.C. and Virginia This Week

Tuesday, Sept 15Thomas Balch Library, Reading/Discussion Subject: In addition to reading from Landfall, Ellen will be discussing her recent travels to New Orleans on the 10th anniversary of Katrina. Location: 208 W Market St, Leesburg, VA 20176 Time: 7 pm Wednesday, Sept 16Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe Reading/Discussion Subject: Listen to a bit of Landfall, talk about storms both public and personal, and then join Ellen for drinks afterwards at …. (you guessed it) … Afterwords Cafe. Location: 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20036, just above DuPont Circle (Q Street Metro exit) Time: 6:30 pm

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Naming the Peace Corps

THOSE OF US WHO follow the history of the Peace Corps agency know the term “peace corps” came to public attention during the 1960 presidential election. In one of JFK’s last major speeches before the November election he called for the creation of a “Peace Corps” to send volunteers to work at the grass roots level in the developing world. However, the question remains: who said (or wrote) “peace corps” for the very first time? Was it Kennedy? Was it his famous speech writer Ted Sorensen? Or Sarge himself? But – as in most situations – the famous term came about because of some young kid, usually a writer, working quietly away in some back office that dreams up the language. In this case the kid was a graduate student between degrees who was working for the late senator Hubert Horatio Humphrey. Today, fifty-four years after the establishment of the . . .

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Norman Rockwell and the Peace Corps, Part Two

While in Ethiopia Rockwell traveled to other Peace Corps site. In doing so, in Dessie, he found the subject for a famous paintings that appeared in Look Magazine. This prominent Norman Rockwell painting is entitled, Peace Corps  Ethiopia. It shows Marc Clausen (Ethiopia 1962-64) working in a field with farmers Marc Clausen was an agriculture/teacher Volunteer. He had graduated from the University of Arizona as an Aggie major and went to Ethiopia to teach agriculture. He was, in my recollection of those years, the only Ethie I PCV involved with agriculture. In Dessie, he told me recently, he had a demonstration field of approximately one hector a few miles from town and he took his students there for their classwork. Rockwell arrived by plane near the town of Kombolcha where there was a grassy landing field. Kombolcha was in the valley below this mountainous provincial town, Dessie, capital of Wollo. Dessie then had . . .

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Norman Rockwell and the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, Part One

Back in 2009, I posted a blog on this site about Norman Rockwell and his connection to the Peace Corps and to the PCVs in Ethiopia, a visit that resulted in several famous illustrations by one of America’s most famous artist illustrators. Since then, there has been several new books about Rockwell, including the massive (492 pages) 2013 American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and in paperback in 2014 by Picador. The book was written by Deborah Solomon the art critic of WNYC Radio and the author of two previous biographies of American artists. In her book Solomon devotes one full paragraph to Rockwell’s January 1964 trip to Ethiopia but nevertheless manages to get several facts wrong. Earlier in the book, Solomon mentions that Rockwell’s contact with the new agency was through Harris Wofford, a founder of the Peace Corps and at the . . .

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Review — King of the Gypsies by Lenore Myka (Romania 1994–96)

King of the Gypsies: Stories by Lenore Myka (Romania 1994–96) BkMk Press, University of Missouri-Kansas City 2015 215 pages $15.95 (paperback) Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) • Lenore Myka writes astonishing stories of the Romany people (Gypsies), sex-trafficking, inter-cultural relationships, adoption of Romanian children, all with the deep, often disturbing understanding that comes with living in a particular place with people who define your life for a significant period of time, as would a Peace Corps Volunteer. But this is not a Peace Corps memoir; in fact, Myka’s service in Romania is mentioned only in passing. The narratives are mysteriously linked. In the title story, we meet a Romany child, Dragoş, an orphan who counters bullies by puffing himself up, pounding his chest and proclaiming himself “King of the Gypsies.” His search for his parents is heart-breaking, as is his brutal confrontation with a dog. In another story, . . .

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Review — Africa’s Heart by Mark Wentling (Honduras 1967–69)

Africa’s Heart: The Journey Ends in Kansas by Mark Wentling (PCV Honduras, 1967–69, Togo 1970–73; PC Staff/Togo, Gabon, Niger, 1973–77) A Peace Corps Writers Book, 2015 522 pages $ 16.07 (paperback); $8.99 (Kindle) Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) • AFRICA’S HEART: The Journey Ends in Kansas is the last book in a trilogy by Mark Wentling; the first is Africa’s Embrace, followed by Africa’s Release: The Journey Continues. Mark Wentley’s stories revolve around David Peterson, a Peace Corps Volunteer in the imaginary country of Kotoku. The villagers call him Bobovovi and, when they see him ride a moonbeam one magical night, they believe he can commune with their ancestors, but when Bobo disappears into a giant baobab tree they view him as a great spirit. To honor him, they work hard to fulfill Bobo’s many schemes for economic development, and they begin to prosper. Bobo had fallen in . . .

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Review — Ripples in the Pond by Michael Stake (India 1966–68)

  Ripples in the Pond: Reflections of a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from India by Michael Stake (India 1966–68) Inkwell Productions, 2014 371 pages $17.00 (paperback), $8.00 (Kindle) Reviewed by Barbara E. Joe (Honduras 2000–03) • ALL PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS HAVE a story to tell — a highly personal series of adventures to share. Thankfully, many are contributing to an archive about this unique historical experiment, with which fellow Volunteers can compare and contrast with their own experiences. Michael Stake has added his memoir, dating back to Peace Corps’ earliest days, a very readable book about that heady time when the agency was still feeling its way. Much has changed since, including less-ready acceptance of non-college graduates and no more assignments in India, where Stake was sent as a neophyte Agriculture Volunteer and where President Carter’s mother Lillian also served. Stake interrupts his college career to join because of uncertainty . . .

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Novel Writing 101–What Genre Is Your Novel? #1

Novel Writing 101 Session One This short series of blogs will be on writing your novel. Over the next few weeks, I’ll post Novel Writing 101, blogs on writing and publishing your novel. All of you who were smart enough to major in business or international affairs or science while in college now have a chance to take an on-line creative writing course. If you are thinking of writing a novel, here’s a quick course ( no credits, but it is free!) on how you might go about writing your book. We will begin with What Genre Is Your Novel? What Genre Is Your Novel? We’re all drawn to certain genres. In fact, some of us only read one type of novel. What are the books that you read? There are basically two types of fiction when it comes to novels: Genre Fiction and Literary Fiction. We’re going to focus . . .

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