Author - John Coyne

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Asia Without Borders by Steve Kaffen (Russia)
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Mark Jacobs’ new shortstory in Maple Tree Literary Supplement (Paraguay)
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A Writer Writes — “The Grownup Train” by Chris Honore’ (Colombia)
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How to get A TOWERING TASK shown on your local PBS station
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A Writer Writes “Hurricane Mitch, Honduras, A Baseball Memory”
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A Peace Corps Trainee Checks In On Social Media From Cameroon
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Migrant Caravans and Social Justice by Mark Walker (Guatemala)
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What You Should Know About Writing & Publishing Your Peace Corps Book
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Roland Merullo Plans One-Day Writing/Meditation Retreat (Micronesia)
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An introduction to a writer’s life by Paulette Perhach (Paraguay)

Asia Without Borders by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

Asia Without Borders Crossing the South Asian Expanse by Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994-96) SK Publishers 327 pages SK Journeys $14.00 (paperback)   “Someday there will be an Asia without borders, one, big happy family,” was the Thai immigration official’s reply to author Steve Kaffen’s comment that this was the most relaxed international border Steve had ever crossed. The Thai official and his Malaysian counterpart had established an open border used by bicycles, vehicles, and pedestrians across the east coast’s Sungai Golok Bridge. In a further goodwill gesture, they passed Thai coconuts and Malaysian bananas to each other throughout the day. Join Steve Kaffen (Russia  1994-96) on an autobiographical journey across South Asia. Explore the region’s great historical sights, marvel at its landscapes, meet its residents in often humorous encounters, and have a succession of adventures along the way. Visit Thailand’s Mekong region and the great temples of Bagan in Myanmar, . . .

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Mark Jacobs’ new shortstory in Maple Tree Literary Supplement (Paraguay)

    Wild Turkey Climbing the outside steps to Glynda’s apartment, Mick Garrity felt the gravity of experience slowing his step. The sky was spitting wet snow at him, paying him back for some screw up he could not put his finger on, just now. Glynda’s deadbeat boyfriend Murphy had beaten her up again. Dispatch said she was hysterical. She wanted the police to save her. Again. Across the universe a thousand cops were climbing the same steps hearing the same old story they had heard and told a thousand times. On the landing, Mick raised his hand to knock but Glynda was already opening the door to him. “I kept my word,” she snuffled. “I swear to God, Mick, I kept my word.” She looked terrible. The sleeve of her burgundy quilted robe was torn. Her hair was wild. She had always had a cute face, a sexy come-get-me . . .

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A Writer Writes — “The Grownup Train” by Chris Honore’ (Colombia)

  THE GROWNUP TRAIN By Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69) They stood on the train platform, eyes narrowed, bodies angled to the right, looking down the track, waiting. A train had just passed through. Another would be along shortly. They were hardcore, their posture and dress conveying a self-conscious, determined insouciance: shoulders hunched, knees slightly bent, baggy denim shorts riding precariously low on their hips, their hair a shag carpet of stiff, uneven spikes. Both wore frayed black T-shirts, the seams separating, revealing startling white skin. The taller of the two held a skateboard cupped in his left hand, the flat side pressed against his hip, the undercarriage revealing neoprene, day-glo wheels and aluminum axels, called, oddly, trucks. An oval yin yang decal, centered, declared, “I Found Animal Chin.” The nose of the board was shredded, the rails and tail ground down to bare wood. The shorter of the two stood . . .

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How to get A TOWERING TASK shown on your local PBS station

    If you were fortunate enough to see the new and brilliant documentary about the Peace Corps entitled A Tower Task that had its World Premiere at the Kennedy Center last weekend (or if you have just heard about it from other RPCVs) then you can drum up interest in having it shown on your local PBS station simply by calling the station. Your interest will nudge the station into realizing that there is ‘local interest’ in our great government agency and they might contact PBS back in Washington. If there is enough interest ‘out there” then the PBS folks would contact producer and director Alana De Joseph (Mali 1992-94) and ask her to let them show the documentary on all their stations. A little phone call from you can’t hurt and it might help bring the Peace Corps–and what you did as a PCV– into the living rooms . . .

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A Writer Writes “Hurricane Mitch, Honduras, A Baseball Memory”

  Hurricane Mitch, Honduras, A Baseball Memory By Donald Dirnberger (Antigua 1977-79)   The year was 1998. Hurricane Mitch was the second-deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, causing over 11,000 fatalities in Central America, with over 7,000 occurring in Honduras alone. Due to the slow motion of the storm and catastrophic flooding. It was the deadliest hurricane in Central America, surpassing Hurricane Fifi-Orlene, which killed slightly fewer people there in 1974. The thirteenth named storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. Mitch formed in the western Caribbean Sea on October 22, and after drifting through extremely favorable conditions, it rapidly strengthened to peak at Category 5 status, the highest possible rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. After drifting southwestward and weakening, the hurricane hit Honduras as a minimal hurricane. Mitch drifted through Central America, regenerated in the Bay of Campeche, and ultimately struck Florida as . . .

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A Peace Corps Trainee Checks In On Social Media From Cameroon

PC CAMEROON UPDATE Sasha Kogan Follow Oct 3 · I’ve been meaning to write this for a while but wanted to do it right — it’s difficult to describe this country and the past two weeks. It has felt like an entire lifetime, an almost magical realism-esque blur of time and space where everything is so different and yet in ways so similar. Yesterday morning I woke up at the crack of dawn, grabbed my bucket full of my damp laundry and brought it outside to the clothes lines. I had taken my clothes inside the night before due to the pounding rain that occurs almost nightly, hot and intense thunderstorms that turn the roads to a mix of mud and puddles. My homestay family thinks it is cold during the rainy season. They all bundle up in winter coats and make sure that I am wearing my flip flops . . .

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Migrant Caravans and Social Justice by Mark Walker (Guatemala)

    Justice & Responsibility The Plight of the Immigrants from Central America By Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73)   “Migrant Caravans,” made up of large groups of children and adults from the Northern Triangle of Central America, heading to our border to seek safety and a better life is problematic, both for those coming and for those waiting for their arrival in the U.S. The influx of undocumented immigrants has reached a ten-year high, with 66,450 entering recently, according to the Customs and Border Patrol.   The existing frenzied political debate and the false narratives it often generates make it difficult, if not impossible, to turn this crisis into an opportunity to better appreciate why so many continue to seek refuge here and to understand our own role, and that of our government, in sorting out the situation, responding in a humanitarian way to those coming and creating some viable solutions to . . .

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What You Should Know About Writing & Publishing Your Peace Corps Book

Mike Shatzkin is a widely-acknowledged thought leader about digital change in the book publishing industry. He has been actively involved in trade book publishing since his first job as a sales clerk in the brand new paperback department of Brentano’s Bookstore on Fifth Avenue in 1962.  The Shatzkin Files is one of the most closely-watched ongoing commentaries on digital change in trade publishing. The Shatzkin Files More than two decades into its digital transition, book publishing has evolved so that a capital-intensive infrastructure is no longer a requirement to successfully develop a book, or a list of books, and bring the books to market. This has resulted in a self-publishing segment, so far almost entirely author-driven, that is substantial in reach and readership and which offers ongoing competition to the commercial publishing business largely because of its ability to price its ebooks below what would be survival levels for commercial . . .

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Roland Merullo Plans One-Day Writing/Meditation Retreat (Micronesia)

    Roland Merullo (Micronesia 1979-80) best-known novels are Breakfast with Buddha, In Revere, In Those Days, A Little Love Story, Revere Beach Boulevard and the memoir Revere Beach Elegy. His first novel Leaving Losapas came out in 1992 and A Russian Requiem was published in 1993. His latest book is entitled The Delight of Being Ordinary: A Road Trip with the Pope and the Dalai Lama. Below is his September monthly newsletter in which he outlines a one-day writing/meditation retreat planned for this coming January. It is something that might interest you. • A note from Roland . . . Dear Readers and Friends, This note is being written on an absolutely perfect late summer afternoon in Western Massachusetts, with a warm sun angling in through the windows of my upstairs office and the bees, wasps, and dragonflies zipping around trying to grab the last of whatever it is they grab in this part of the world in September. Having . . .

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An introduction to a writer’s life by Paulette Perhach (Paraguay)

  Welcome to the Writer’s Life by Paulette Perhach (Paraguay 2008–10) Sasquatch Books Publisher 320 pages $ 18.95 2018     INTRODUCTION Hello there. On the day that changed me from someone who wanted to be a writer to someone working to be a writer, I was a twenty- six-year-old Peace Corps volunteer in the capital of Paraguay, on a swamp-hot bus packed mostly with office workers on their way home. The bus squealed to a stop, and the driver opened the door. Since so many of the stories, both hilarious and traumatizing, that I told my family and friends back home started with someone getting on the bus, I’d developed a reflex to watch that door, waiting for whoever or whatever was next. A young woman, maybe twenty, hopped on and stood at the front, smiling. She greeted us hello in Guaraní, not with the usual booming voice of . . .

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