Peace Corps, the Musical

Five years ago, I flirted with writing a musical based on ‘the generic Peace Corps experience.’ I tabled the idea quickly. The unique nature of volunteer service set abundant hurdles. Peace Corps Africa and Peace Corps Latin America are different beasts. The organization’s six decades presented another problem. We’d moved from the era of ‘Drop … Continue reading Peace Corps, the Musical

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Review–Memoir from Paraguay

Latest review posted at Peace Corps Worldwide, home for Peace Corps-affiliated writers who publish stories from around the world. Mark Salvatore  writes simple, declarative sentences. His Peace Corps memoir, Shade of the Paraiso, is stripped to fact and detail, observation and truth. Even its replication of time — passing slowly at first, building inexorably over months, … Continue reading Review–Memoir from Paraguay

Deception for My Valentine

I have a naughty streak on Valentines. My favorite transgression, 15 years ago, duped my old lady into having dinner with me. That was just before she became my old lady. Valentines fell on Friday that year. I was pretty eager to reserve her company, but didn’t want to wreck a good friendship over something … Continue reading Deception for My Valentine

May the Bird of Paradise Rest in Your Armpit

The man with the 70's hangover---big stache, wide lapels, swooping toupee---assigned to teach my fifth grade class regularly heaped this wish upon us: 'May the bird of paradise rest in your armpit.' What this meant, and why it should happen to us, was never made clear. It was only, mysteriously, repeated. This was a 1982-83, … Continue reading May the Bird of Paradise Rest in Your Armpit

The Portable Art

Unlike the stuff we writers produce, art and music seem to make no demands of those who encounter it. The artist puts it out there---hangs it on the wall, pours it through speakers---and the public responds. They see it. They hear it. They get on with their day, likely the better for having encountered these … Continue reading The Portable Art

The London Embassy

What to read this week? Paul Theroux’s The London Embassy, of course! This day in history U.S. diplomacy with England took over a new location. Our landmark perch in Grosvenor Square is no more. I visited the location once---an aside to the controversy going on right now, and one that makes this move feel deeply … Continue reading The London Embassy

Uncle Sam, Matchmaker

Pleased to share some new non-fiction of mine up at American Diplomacy. I pictured myself in a Peace Corps-issue hammock on an island somewhere, or crossing high glaciers in the glaring Himalayan sun. Then the recruiter called and offered Malawi. Pointless to remind her what I'd written where the application asked my preference: 'Anywhere but Africa.' … Continue reading Uncle Sam, Matchmaker

Prophetic—

Patchworks is sadly a timely tale of national character and individual insight, juxtaposing individual lives and Second Amendment rights. One reads this engaging, often amusing, and ultimately disturbing account in light of an advancing history of public massacres involving firearms. WorldView Magazine's Peter Van Deekle reviews Patchworks at Peace Corps Worldwide. Excerpts: B.A. East brings … Continue reading Prophetic—

Diplomats and Terrorists

Last month American Diplomacy included my review of Ambassador James R.  Bullington's Foreign Service Memoir, The Road Less Traveled. The book recounts a career that began with the U.S. military build-up in Vietnam and took the author to Burma, Chad, Benin, and Burundi, where he served as Ambassador, and Niger, where he served from 2001-2006 as Country Director … Continue reading Diplomats and Terrorists

Expeditionary Diplomacy

The otherwise respectable American Diplomacy, which publishes 'Foreign Service Despatches and Periodic Reports on U.S. Foreign Policy,' included my review  of of Ambassador James R. Bullington's Foreign Service Memoir, The Road Less Traveled, in the latest lineup. The memoir recounts a career that started in expeditionary diplomacy for the State Department during the U.S. military … Continue reading Expeditionary Diplomacy