Archive - 2019

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A Writer Writes–“Telling Time” by Katherine Jamieson (Guyana)
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A Writer Writes — “The Roads Are Closing” by Patricia McArdle (Paraguay)
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Still time to join the September Workshop for Writers
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Review — NEIGHBORS: Oral History from Madera, California by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)
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5 Brilliant Short Peace Corps Writers Stories (Eastern Caribbean, Mali, Zaire,Tonga, Mongolia)
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Be There or Be Square
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A Writer Writes–The Right Way to Grow Tomatoes
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A Writer Writes—My Race Problem: Who Is A Patriot? (Chad)
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Review–Europe By Bus by Steve Kaffen (Russia)
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Kevin Bubriski Wins Peace Corps Writers Best Photography Book Award 2019 (Nepal)

A Writer Writes–“Telling Time” by Katherine Jamieson (Guyana)

  Telling Time by Katherine Jamieson (Guyana 1996–98) FOR TWO YEARS I LIVED in a country with no seasons. We measured time by other means than falling leaves or snow, new buds on trees. There was a fresh breeze in the air, the ash of burned sugar cane floating in the window. There were times to go to work, times to stay home, an election, an eclipse; all of these differentiated the rising and setting of the same hot sun, and the appearance of a glowing moon and full set of stars. Rain would break the swelter like the fever of a child dissolves into sweat, and the whole city would breathe differently that day. Then the sun would come again and dry what had fallen, and could not last. I came to this country with the expectation of seasons, and before I had woken to a blinding sun on . . .

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A Writer Writes — “The Roads Are Closing” by Patricia McArdle (Paraguay)

A Writer Writes   THE ROADS ARE CLOSING By Patricia McArdle (Paraguay 1972-74) Winner of the Foreign Service Journal Summer Fiction Contest in 2009 • How did I let her burrow so far into me that twenty years later she still lingers just beyond the daylight, curling around my mind like tendrils of sweet cigar smoke, distracting me with the soft clink of ice cubes in her sweating glass of gin and tonic. The thing is, I never should have spoken to her the first time.  She was not my type, not part of my plan. Oh yes, my plan.  Finish my masters in International Relations, pass the Foreign Service exam, hustle my way to the top — marry the right girl, which I did, but it didn’t last. I married even better the second time — the daughter of a former ambassador, but that didn’t last either. I even . . .

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Still time to join the September Workshop for Writers

The workshop will be held from Wednesday, September 18th to Saturday, September 21th at Shore Retreats on Broad Creek, on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. Costs range from $100 for those on tight budgets, $250 for those of modest means, and $500 for those who can afford it. The retreat facility includes shared living quarters, meals, and snacks. If interested, email: jcoyneone@gmail.com Faculty Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) was born in the Tule Lake Japanese American Segregation Camp. She is the author of three novels: Green Fires, The Climate of the Country, and My Mother’s Island. She is a recipient of an American Book Award, the Maria Thomas Award for Outstanding Fiction, Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, New York Public Library Best Books for the Teenage, a New York Times Book Review New and Noteworthy in Paperback, and a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” choice. Her short stories, poetry, and essays have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. She . . .

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Review — NEIGHBORS: Oral History from Madera, California by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)

    Neighbors: Oral History from Madera, California by  Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) Kindle Direct Publishing 2019 232 pages $20.00 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80) • It would be a mistake, on first impression, to fault or dismiss this unique and remarkable book for focusing narrowly on twenty-three individuals in one small city in central California. To someone (like me) living, say, in a small town in northern New Jersey, it would be easy to read the cover and simply conclude, “So, what does this have to do with me?” You would be wrong, of course, as I usually am when making a snap judgment before actually learning about something new. In one sense, the stories in Neighbors are a kind of microcosm; you might be tempted, if considering only the individual stories (the trees, if you will), to miss the a broader, more holistic picture (the . . .

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5 Brilliant Short Peace Corps Writers Stories (Eastern Caribbean, Mali, Zaire,Tonga, Mongolia)

  The Mending Fields By Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76) I WAS ASSIGNED to the Island of Saint Kitts in the West Indies. Once on an inter-island plane, I sat across the aisle from one of my new colleagues, an unfriendly, overserious young woman. She was twenty-four, twenty-five . . . we were all twenty-four, twenty five. I didn’t know her much or like her. As the plane banked over the island, she pressed against the window, staring down at the landscape. I couldn’t see much of her face, just enough really to recognize an expression of pain. Below us spread an endless manicured lawn, bright green and lush of sugarcane, the island’s main source of income. Each field planted carefully to control erosion. Until that year, Saint Kitts’ precious volcanic soil had been bleeding into the sea; somehow they had resolved the problem. The crop was now being tilled in . . .

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A Writer Writes–The Right Way to Grow Tomatoes

A Writer Writes   The Right Way to Grow Tomatoes By Karen DeWitt (Ethiopia 1966-68) I’d forgotten that I had even taken the Peace Corps recruitment test when that long-distance call came on a cold January day in 1965. Then, standing in a battered wooden telephone booth in my dormitory at Miami University of Ohio, I heard someone say, “Congratulations. You’ve been accepted.” Suddenly graduate school, job, the ordinary future that stretched before me and my classmates disappeared, replaced by adventure, excitement, and the unknown – literally the unknown, for I hadn’t even asked what country I would be stationed in. Didn’t know, didn’t care. Suddenly, I was to be part of an adventure for my generation. I was to become a Kennedy kid, one of those thousands of young people whom he had asked to dedicate one or two years of their lives to work in Africa, Latin America, . . .

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A Writer Writes—My Race Problem: Who Is A Patriot? (Chad)

A Writer Writes   My Race Problem: Who Is A Patriot? By Michael Varga (Chad 1977-79) In 1976, the U.S. bicentennial year, I was cornered by my Aunt Martha. She had worked for the Pentagon in a variety of administrative positions and believed strongly in serving our country. My eldest brother had been drafted during the Vietnam War and served in Southeast Asia for a 14-month tour. She was proud of his service but she was chagrined about what I was planning to do. “Why can’t you teach in America?” she asked. She stood with arms akimbo and placed her hands on her hips. “This is my opportunity to travel. To see something outside of Philadelphia,” I answered. In our Italian family, people spoke of the “evil eye,” a sort of death stare that translated as what you just said is not even worthy of a response. She gave me . . .

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Review–Europe By Bus by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

Europe By Bus: 50 Bus Trips and City Visits Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994-96) 371 pages SK Journeys Publisher May 2019 Paperback $16.00     Reviewed by Craig Storti (Morocco (1970-72) Europe by bus? Really? Does anyone travel by bus who doesn’t have to? Aren’t buses for commuters? OK, tour buses, for sure. But Steve Kaffen is not talking about tour buses; he’s talking about buses as in the way go to from one city to another—all across Europe, for heaven’s sake! Who would do that when you can take a nice, comfortable train? I was skeptical. Can you tell? But then I’m an American, and intercity bus travel is not nearly as common in the US; we have cars for that sort of thing. But one of the revelations in Kaffen’s book is how well-developed intercity bus travel is in Europe, within the same country and from one country to . . .

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Kevin Bubriski Wins Peace Corps Writers Best Photography Book Award 2019 (Nepal)

Legacy in Stone: Syria Before War by Kevin Bubriski (Nepal 1975-78) Legacy in Stone: Syria Before War is a collection of 100 black-and-white photographs immortalizing the ancient monuments of Syria. Kevin Bubriski was on assignment in Syria in 2003, during the infancy of the U.S. war in neighboring Iraq. He was photographing the country’s ancient monuments, as well as documenting the daily lives and ordinary human stories of its citizens. Unbeknownst to him, within the decade, a war would break out in Syria, and destroy or damage much of what he had photographed. Until the Syrian civil war in 2010, the Suq in Aleppo was considered to be the longest continuously inhabited place of commerce in the world, existing for well over two millennia. Bubriski photographed the Suq while it was still thriving, teeming with merchants and artisans. He also captured stunning, decisive images from the Dead Cities, the basilica of . . .

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