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Print On Demand (POD)
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RPCV Bill Owens: Five Decades of Photography
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How I Met Doug Kiker
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Famous Peace Corps Staff Who Knew Me
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When They Were Young And Having Fun In The Peace Corps
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Living Off Advances
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Establishing The Peace Corps:Women at HQ, Post 24
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Establishing the Peace Corps: Executive Order 10924, Post 23
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The Masters At Augusta National
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RPCV David Taylor's Soul Of A People

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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RPCV Bill Owens: Five Decades of Photography

Bill Owens, our most famous RPCV photographer, whose new book  entitled Bill Owens came out last year, and who is internationally known for his book Suburbia, has a new exhibition in his hometown of Hayward, California opening on April 17. This exhibition is the first to feature Bill’s photographs from the Peace Corps in the sixties to the Rolling Stones at Altamont all the way to his newest video work. The exhibition will be up until June 18, 2009 and the opening reception is from 6:30 to 9:30 pm on Friday, April 17. For more information, go to info@photocentral.org.

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How I Met Doug Kiker

Doug Kiker was from Griffin, Georgia and had early success as a short story writer while still a student at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, majoring in English. There’s a story about how he wanted to get published and he picked up Martha Foley’s short stories collection, went to the rear of the book and found the list of short-story publishers, closed his eyes and punched in the dark. He hit the Yale Review, to which he promptly submitted a short story. And they accepted his story. While still in college he worked as a reporter, covering the Senate race between Strom Thurmond and Olin Johnston. After college he joined the navy and was commissioned an Ensign, serving in Korean War. Discharged, he returned to Atlanta and worked at the Atlanta Journal and covered the first sit-ins at lunch counters in North Carolina. Out of that experience came his . . .

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Famous Peace Corps Staff Who Knew Me

I had a email recently from a friend complaining that my blog is “all about JFK !” and I wrote back, okay, I’d do more items on golf. She quickly replied, “Well, then maybe you should stay with the early days of the Peace Corps.” There is a lot one can write about when it comes to the days  when the Peace Corps was attracting the best and the brightest. An early document of the agency said that the staff in D.C. and around the world was composed of “skiers, mountain climbers, big-game hunters, prizefighters, football players, polo players and enough Ph.D.’s [30] to staff a liberal arts college.” There were 18 attorneys, of whom only four continue to work strictly as attorneys in the General Counsel’s office, and the rest [including Sargent Shriver] did other jobs. Also, all of these employees were parents of some 272 children. In terms of . . .

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When They Were Young And Having Fun In The Peace Corps

Here’s a famous Peace Corps story from the early years that has been told and retold a couple thousand times, and is retold in the late Coates Redmon’s book Come As Your Are: The Peace Corps Story.[Coates was a a writer for the Peace Corps in the early days, later a speech writer for Rosalynn Carter, and later still, director of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.] It is a story [as all good Washington, D.C. do] that begins in Georgetown. It was a Sunday evening in the fall of 1961 and Dick Nelson, who was Bill Moyers’ assistant, and Blair Butterworth, whose father was ambassador to Canada, and who worked as a file clerk at PC/W, were living together at Two Pomander Walk in Georgetown. That Sunday, Moyers’ wife and kids were in Texas and he came over to see the two guys, who had been roommates at Princeton. . . .

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Living Off Advances

“Why is it,” Michael Meyer (China 1995-97) asks, “that writers who can’t recall their Social Security numbers can recite a rival’s advance to the penny?” Meyer answers that question (and a lot more!) in an entertaining and informative essay on the back page of the Book Section of the April 12, 2009, issue of The New York Times. In his piece, Meyer goes into “blockbuster advances” that came about in the early 1970s. He tells how Viking sold the paperback rights to The Day of the Jackal to Bantam for 36 times the $10,000 hardcover advance it had paid the author. If you are interested in what your next advance might be, take a look at Micheal’s piece in the Times.

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Establishing The Peace Corps:Women at HQ, Post 24

Arriving for work on or before March 1, 1961, the day President Kennedy signed the executive order establishing the Peace Corps, were a number of women who would become famous during these early years at the agency. The majority of these women were well connected by family and friends to Shriver and the new administration and eagerly went to work at the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps was the ‘hot’ agency and everyone wanted to be connected to Kennedy–if they couldn’t be in the White House–they wanted to be with Shriver at the Peace Corps. Some of these noted women were: Maryann Orlando, Sally Bowles, Nancy Gore, Nan McEvoy, Diana MacArthur, Patricia Sullivan, Alice Gilbert, Betty Harris, Ruth Olson, Dorothy Mead Jacobsen. It is a long list, but nevertheless the agency was dominated by men. Looking at old black-and-white photos one is struck by two things: 1) the women are sitting behind the men . . .

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Establishing the Peace Corps: Executive Order 10924, Post 23

By 1960 two bills were introduced in Congress that were the direct forerunners of the Peace Corps. Representative Henry S. Reuss of Wisconsin proposed that the Government study the idea, and Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota asked for the establishment of a Peace Corps itself.  These bills were not likely to pass Congress at the time, but they caught the attention of then-Senator Kennedy for several important reasons.       According to several books on the beginnings of the agency, Kennedy foresaw a “New Frontier” inspired by Roosevelt’s New Deal. In foreign affairs, Kennedy viewed the Presidency as “the vital center of action in our whole scheme of government.”      Concerned by what was then perceived to be the global threat of communism, Kennedy was looking for economic aid to counter negative images of the “Ugly American” and Yankee imperialism. Between his election and inauguration, he asked Sarge to do a . . .

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The Masters At Augusta National

As many of you might know I play golf and I write novels about golf, and I’m a big Ben Hogan fan [What? You haven’t read The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan?] But more importantly, forty plus years ago this weekend Ben Hogan turned back the clock at the Masters in Georgia when he shot a back-nine 30 in the third round at Augusta National GC. It was one of the great rounds of golf ever played at Augusta. Hogan had won the Masters in ’51 and ’53 but in 1967 at the age of 54 he was back at the Masters for a final time. He still suffered from the 1949 car accident that nearly killed him. He had bad legs and a left shoulder plagued with bursitis, scar tissue and calcium deposits. Every morning he needed a cortisone shot just to be able to swing a club. In the . . .

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RPCV David Taylor's Soul Of A People

David Taylor (Mauritania 1983-85) author of the recently published Soul of a People: The WPA Writers’ Project Uncovers Depression America, will be part of a book discussion at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, April 28, 2009, in the Mumford Room in the Madison Building of the Library of Congress. The discussion begins at 3 p.m. This is an important book by an important RPCV writer and this library event will include screening of scenes from the Soul of a People TV documentary, to be broadcast late this summer.

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