Author - John Coyne

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Talking with Eve Brown-Waite, Part Four
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Talking with Eve Brown-Waite, Part Three
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Another Ethiopia RPCV To Run For U.S. Congress
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Talking with Eve Brown-Waite, Part Two
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What to Send to An Agent
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Talking with Eve Brown-Waite
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REVIEWS: Peace Corps Memoirs Of Turkey
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You and Your Peace Corps History
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Shriver On The Mall: The 25th Peace Corps Reunion
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Print On Demand (POD)

Talking with Eve Brown-Waite, Part Four

[Ellen]: My experience bears out that those Americans who most successfully navigate overseas tours are those who lose their Americanized perspective quickly; the ones who normalize their new experiences and environment without making regular comparisons to what they left behind.  The writings of such people often detail a fascinating “deconstruction”-at the extreme end of the spectrum personalities can unravel as people “go native” (think eminent Peace Corps author Paul Theroux’s main character in Mosquito Coast); at the modest end of the spectrum, others (your husband John being a prime example) immediately and humbly accept a new version of normal. Your writing is notable for featuring the opposite effect:  It details your persistent U.S.-centric point of view even after substantial time abroad. For instance, even late in the book, after four years living overseas (three in Uganda, one in Ecuador) you describe hearing gunfire in the night, huddling in your hallway, and . . .

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Talking with Eve Brown-Waite, Part Three

Though Eve answered not a single one of the fourteen questions I’d posed to her, I have to admit to being remarkably impressed with her gentility. Instead of slamming the door in my face, which a haughtier person might have done, she simply refused to walk through it. The conversation remained more-or-less open, as long as it went in a different direction. Which, in fact, it did. At least for me.  I turned it on my writer friends — showed them her book, read them my interview questions, and invited the conversation that I now bring to this forum: What kind of boundaries can we/should we/may we erect around our private lives if we willingly — and for profit — make ourselves and our experiences part of the public sector? I eventually talked Eve into answering three of those original fourteen questions (full text follows), and trust that despite our . . .

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Another Ethiopia RPCV To Run For U.S. Congress

Less than a month ago Ellen Tausher, who has represented California 10th congressional district since 1997, announced that she had accepted the position in the Obama Administration of Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. In the mean time, PeaceCorpsWorldwise has learned that John Garamendi (Ethiopia 1965–67), the Lieutenant Governor of California, will not run for the governorship of the state but instead seek  Tausher’s seat. A special election will take place this coming August. The 10thdistrict includes parts of the San Francisco Bay area, as well as areas near Sacramento. John is tentative scheduled to make his announcement tomorrow, Wednesday, at a job center in Concord, California.  If elected, Garamendi would be the second PCV from Ethiopia to be in Congress. Paul  Tsongas (Ethiopia 1962–64) was elected to the House of Representatives in 1974 and served two terms in the House. In 1978 he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Garamendi is no . . .

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Talking with Eve Brown-Waite, Part Two

Now I love hyperbole as much as the next person.  In fact, I live by the mantra that if a story is worth spinning, it’s worth spinning wildly.  However, as a world traveler, and as an RPCV, I’ve seen real hostage crises (a term not simply adopted by Eve’s publisher for promotional purposes, but one which she herself coins).  Because I have witnessed the attendant terror, brutality, and emotional havoc caused by such horrors, it riles me to hear someone claim solidarity with such suffering because she had to stay inside her home, cozied up on the sofa, watching TV a little longer than planned one evening.  “Hostage” isn’t, in my estimation, a title to wear flippantly — and certainly not for attention — (or sales — ) gathering purposes.  But I found that the line between serious and frivolous was crossed in this book very, very often. I wanted . . .

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What to Send to An Agent

The magazine Poets & Writers has been running a series (up to #9 now) of interviews with literary agents. You can read all the interviews at PW.org/magazine. In the most recent issue, the editor, Jofie Ferrari-Adler, asks three agents about what they read from writers: the outline? the synopses? the pages of the book? All of them agreed that they never read synopses. Jim Rutman, an agent at Sterling Lord Literistic:  “It’s hard to write a synopsis well. And when we’re talking about literary fiction, it will probably not make or break an agent’s interest going into page one.” Peter Steinberg who has his own agency (with clients like Alicia Erian, Keith Donohue, and John Matteson): “I think it’s important to stress the synopsis and the cover letter and all of those things are not really important. It’s the work, the work, the work. You have to focus on the . . .

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Talking with Eve Brown-Waite

Last month Eve Brown-Waite published her memoir: First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won my Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed my Life. The book sold for a six figure advance and caught the attention of all of us who write for a living or write to make sense of our Peace Corps years, or who just write. Here is Ellen’s interview. It is long so I’ll post it over the next few days in chunks of prose. •  •  • An interview by Ellen Urbani Let me be clear about something right up front:  I begged John Coyne to let me interview Eve Brown-Waite.  I’d heard about her success marketing her book (who didn’t?) and danced a happy jig on her behalf, marred only briefly by my efforts to subdue the fast flush of envy (who wouldn’t?).  She and I had much in . . .

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REVIEWS: Peace Corps Memoirs Of Turkey

Dr. David Espey (Morocco 1962-64) recently retired from the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania. He has not, however, retired from teaching and writing. David just finished a year as a visiting professor in Istanbul, where he had also previously taught on a Fulbright. (His other Fulbrights were to Morocco and Japan.) David is  the editor of Writing the Journey: Essays, Stories, and Poems on Travel published by Longman, and over the years has written extensively on travel writing. We are pleased to publish an essay by Dr. Espey on three memories by RPCVs who served in Turkey: Turkey: Bright Sun, Strong Tea [Travel Info Exchange 2005] by Tom Brosnahan (Turkey 1967–69); Village in the Meadows [Citlembik/Nettleberry Publications 2007] by Malcolm Pfunder (Turkey 1965–67); and An Ongoing Affair: Turkey and I [Citlembik/Nettleberry Publications 2008] by Heath W. Lowry (Turkey 1965–67). • • • Three Memoirs of Turkey Three books by Peace Corps Volunteers in Turkey return to the 1960s when . . .

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You and Your Peace Corps History

Susan Meadows Luccini (Ghana 1961–63) is a personal historian. Since her very early days in the Peace Corps, with the first group of PCVs, she has been a high school and university English teacher and writing coach, as well as a publisher.  She has worked as a writer, editor and proofreader. Besides all that, she has translated a number of books for children as well as several dealing with art, archaeology and history from Italian to English. Today she runs SML Publishing that she started in 2005. This a s perfect job for Susan as it combines her “skills,  wit, personal strengths and inclinations.” She has had a lifelong interest in people, in their stories and in the process by which memories are retained. We asked Susan to write us a short article about the importance of writing your Peace Corps story. • • • You And Your Peace Corps . . .

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Shriver On The Mall: The 25th Peace Corps Reunion

The other day I got a call from a friend planning the 50th reunion of the Peace Corps and that got me thinking about the 25th Anniversary Conference in September of 1986. It was held under a huge tent on the Mall in Washington, D.C. and organized mostly by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of  D.C.. At the time, Peace Corps Director Loret Ruppe attempted to stop the reunion fearing the RPCVs would march on the White House and against President Reagan, but she and her Republican lackeys had to back off when Harris Wofford secured for Roger Landrum, Dough Siglin and the other D.C. RPCVs, a grant of $25,000 from the  MacArthur Foundation to stage the conference. Seeing that it would happen–with or without her–Ruppe rushed to take control and elbowed her way onto the stage. Nevertheless, the reunion really was a Volunteer event, as the Peace Corps really is about PCVs, not Washingon HQ staff, and the purpose of the agency was brought into focus when Shriver . . .

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Print On Demand (POD)

You have been reading all of the accounts of publishing on the web, POD publications, and the great success of  Still Alive, the novel about a Harvard professor with Alzheimer’s disease that no commercial publisher wanted to buy. The author went ahead and published it POD, that is self-publishing via a Web-based company (iUniverse) for $450, and after the novel received a few good reviews, Simon & Schuster bought the novel and now it is on The New York Times Bestsellers List. It could happen to you! My guess is that someday all books will be published POD. It will save a lot of trees, and with the world moving away from print, and depending on handheld electronic devices we carry in our pocket, soon books–as we know them!–will be a thing of the past. Books are being “published” at a rapid rate on line. Since its beginnings in 2002, Lulu.com, for example, has digitally published more than 820,000 titles. They . . .

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