Short Works by PC Writers

Short works by RPCVs that do not reference the Peace Corps experience.

1
“A Game in the Sun” by John Coyne (Ethiopia)
2
A Writer Writes — “The Overwhelming Question” by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria)
3
Remembering Mexico Beach
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Vanity Fair article by Maureen Orth (Colombia) on Colombia’s most-feared female revolutionary
5
A Writer Writes: “Digging to China” a short story by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
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“Bitter Vengeance: A Mystery Short Story” by Carole Sojka (Somali)
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“Fifty Years Fly By” by Ada Jo Mann (Chad)
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“One Morning in September” by Edwin Jorge (Jamaica)
9
A Writer Writes: “House of Flowers” — A short story by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
10
Fifth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “The Stories We Tell” by GraceAnne Heater (Rwanda)

“A Game in the Sun” by John Coyne (Ethiopia)

    This collection of stories is drawn from various decades of my life, starting back when I was a high school student. It has recently been published by Cemetery Press and is available now at Amazon.com. I wrote stories and published them in high school, college and graduate school publications, but my first sale didn’t happen until I was 33 years old. In 1972, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine bought “A Game in the Sun” for $150 — the first money I ever earned from writing fiction. My apprenticeship as a novelist was even longer; I wrote seven before I finally got one published, in 1979. That was an occult-horror novel, The Piercing. I followed it up with half a dozen similar books, some of which made best seller lists. I have also written golf novels, love stories, non-fiction and one family saga. In this collection I’ve compiled 13 stories and entitled them A . . .

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A Writer Writes — “The Overwhelming Question” by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria)

  The Overwhelming Question By Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1963-65) • I grab the butt-ends of coffee spoons, roll up the bottoms of my trousers, drag my red wheel barrel along the shore, and dig for salt-washed shells tossed onto the sand; waves slap the shore, codes from lonely mermaids’ whispering. whistling winds from woods nearby wrinkles on the moon thirteen blackbirds observing. flashes from another world pillows of gray sky ancient gnarled oaks cast shadows. tear-drops squeezed from willow trees maelstrom of colors La Mer’s quarreling white caps Singing dolphins’ lure me out to dance. Leaves of grass float past effortlessly. Yes! the brain is wider than the sky and I dare disturb the universe, incite another Big Bang, hurl stars and spin the moon like a top; hunt white whales with Ahab in the South Pacific. • This poem originally appeared at andreazurlo.wixsite.com/andreazurlo/blog   Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1963-65) is . . .

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Remembering Mexico Beach

  Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru 1962-64) first happened upon Mexico Beach in 1975 on her way to interview at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. She had just finished her doctorate at the University of Florida in Gainesville. In 1977, she moved to Pensacola in “Florida’s Great Northwest,” where she taught at the University of West Florida until retirement. During her family’s time in Florida’s western Panhandle, there were many family reunions on St. George Island, a gorgeous sweep of barrier island off of Apalachicola, not far from Mexico Beach. Patricia remembers . . . •   Mexico Beach Hurricane Michael flattened Mexico Beach in Florida’s eastern Panhandle on October 10, 2018. Was it a fluke in the temperature of the Gulf? A nudge from a high pressure system from the north? God’s unleashed breath, punishment for a covey of sinners living in recreational vehicles back from the beach? Until the . . .

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Vanity Fair article by Maureen Orth (Colombia) on Colombia’s most-feared female revolutionary

She was Colombia’s most-feared female revolutionary. Can she help it find peace?   As one of the few women FARC commanders, Elda Neyis Mosquera, also known as “Karina,” has confessed to a host of barbarous crimes—including forcing abortions on her own soldiers. Now that peace has broken out, she is helping to give voice to the history of entrenched sexual violence against women in the movement. by Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964-66) Vanity Fair September 2018 • Ex–guerrilla commander Elda Neyis Mosquera, known by her nom de guerre Karina, under house arrest at a 17th Brigade army base in northwestern Colombia. Her nom de guerre was Karina, but her given name—the name she goes by now—is Elda Neyis Mosquera. She was the youngest of five children born in northwestern Colombia to Jose Leopoldino Mosquera, a black man, and Flor Ester García, a white woman. Neither ever learned how to read. From the . . .

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A Writer Writes: “Digging to China” a short story by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

    Digging to China by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80)   A feeling of déjà vu nagged Hunter Durrell as he crossed the Xaneria lot. It seemed like a dumb thing to be feeling. Of course he had been there before. Twice a day for three years, going to and coming from the cube farm. Then it hit him. Spring. The smell of turned over earth. Dogwood blossoms. A trace scent of last night’s rain. In the sky-blue distance, a tractor downshifted, and Hunter’s eyes teared. He had forgotten the world, and here it was forgiving him, reminding him it was still there. He had to get out more. Inside the cube farm, breathing institutional air, he was ambushed by Prudence raising a pallid hand as she rolled her chair into the aisle. “Stop in the name of Howard Roark.” Prudence needed to get out more, too. And quit dreaming in . . .

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“Bitter Vengeance: A Mystery Short Story” by Carole Sojka (Somali)

      Carole Sojka (Somali 1962-64) is the author of two mystery novels set in Florida featuring a female police detective named Andi Battaglia and her male partner, Greg Lamont — A Reason to Kill, and So Many Reasons to Die. She has also published a stand-alone mystery novel, Psychic Damage, set in Southern California. She has had a number of short stories published in various venues and is also on the board of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. You can read her most recent story, “Bitter Vengeance ” at Kings River Life.  

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“Fifty Years Fly By” by Ada Jo Mann (Chad)

    Fifty Years Fly By Ada Jo Mann (Chad 1967-69)   Am I still the girl in that photo from Peace Corps training in the Virgin Island of St. Croix full of hope and promise for a world without war where no one goes hungry and women rule from beyond the kitchen where skin color is admired for the beauty of its hue and good deeds trump wealth and greed where science is a weapon against sickness and our past crimes of ignorance? Fifty years fly by and the girl in that photo has become a white-haired woman with the same hopes and dreams but in this present photo a tear glistens on her cheek.   • Ada Jo Mann  began her career in international development and social change as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad from 1967-69. As a partner in Innovation Partners International, she collaborates with clients . . .

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“One Morning in September” by Edwin Jorge (Jamaica)

Edwin Jorge was the Regional Manager of the New York Peace Corps Office and at work in Building # 6 of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The building was destroyed when the North Tower collapsed. At a  commemoration service held at Headquarters in Peace Corps/Washington the following year, Edwin spoke about the attack and what happened to the Peace Corps Office. His comments follow. • One Morning in September by Edwin Jorge (Jamaica 1979–81) On the morning of September 11, 2001, I sat down at my office desk and turned on my computer. As the computer booted to life, I glanced up and looked out of the windows of my office on the sixth floor of the Customs House in the heart of the financial district of New York. From where I sat, I could see the corner of Tower One of the World Trade Center. I could . . .

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A Writer Writes: “House of Flowers” — A short story by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

  A former U.S. foreign service officer, Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) has published more than 100 stories in magazines including The Atlantic, Playboy, The Idaho Review, The S0uthrn  Review, and The Kenyon Review. He has stories forthcoming in several magazines including The Hudson Review. His story “How Birds Communicate” won The Iowa Review fiction prize. His five books include A Handful of Kings, published by Simon and Schuster, and Stone Cowboy, by Soho Press, which won the Maria Thomas Award. His website can be found at markjacobsauthor.com. This story appears in the Fall 2016 issue of Border Crossing. • House of Flowers Poppa Billy was living in the basement at the House of Flowers even though his name was on the mortgage. The basement was set up to be an apartment with its own separate door, so he came and went as he pleased. At maximum capacity, the House of Flowers accommodated seven room-renters. I was number seven, taking Nasturtium after Mr. . . .

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Fifth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “The Stories We Tell” by GraceAnne Heater (Rwanda)

  GraceAnne Heater (Rwanda 2014-16) served in Peace Corps Rwanda as an ESL high school teacher. She has won many contests, including a pie eating contest at age 10, a cow milking contest at age 17, and a peeps diorama competition at age 28. She is an avid reader and a passionate but undisciplined writer. She currently resides in Philadelphia with her husband and their adopted Rwandan cat.       • The Stories We Tell by GraceAnne Heater   MURUNDA, MY VILLAGE, was in the only district in Rwanda without a paved road. It was remote, poor, and nearly inaccessible during the rainy season. It was an hour and a half away from the main road, a motorcycle ride that stopped my heart and took my breath, nothing but steep mountains, sharp curves, uneven roads, and views of Lake Kivu with the DRC looming in the distance. Murunda was home . . .

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