What is mine to do?

God Holds You offers a chronicle of hope. As we entered the Pandemic Wilderness in March 2020, progressive Lutheran pastor Sarah Scherschligt began publishing daily reflections about adapting to the new constraints. Written with her congregation in mind, these real-time posts transcend the self and her faith community to form a relatable narrative that is both … Continue reading What is mine to do?

JFK: i come here tonight to go to bed

I come here tonight to go to bed... I also come here tonight to ask you… to ask you to join in the effort.

A writer in residence

I've taken on a surprising new assignment. I have a nice official title, but what it boils down to really is writer in residence. And what is this residence? I report to a cozy white cottage behind a row of heirloom corn off the beaten paths traversing the expansive training grounds of our nation’s foreign … Continue reading A writer in residence

The United States Department of State

Referred to as the State Department, State, and DOS, the U.S. Department of State has recently been called by an unfitting new label. I don’t care about the insult. Hearing it called “deep state department” glances off as a meaningless jab. I’ve long inured myself against the public bluster. What concerns me more is the … Continue reading The United States Department of State

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

Always

Puzzled that I’d spend my time doing this, people will ask, ‘How long have you been writing?’ Part accusation, part sincere inquiry, it deserves consideration. The truest answer I have—and it’s not a wise guy answer—is always. I say ‘truest’ because of the stages leading up to my present output: two published novels; two mid-grade … Continue reading Always

Sex Ed: Anne Frank in Africa

Without telling us the punchlines, Dutch researchers announced this week the discovery of four dirty jokes papered over in Anne Frank’s diary. I taught the diary as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi two decades ago, curious from the start why it was on the curriculum. My students faced a lifetime of grinding poverty, endemic … Continue reading Sex Ed: Anne Frank in Africa

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

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

Mother Land: A Review for Mothers Day

Stephen King reviews Paul Theroux's new novel, Mother Land at the New York Times this week (PeaceCorpsWorldwide brought it to my attention). King gives voice to the love-hate relationship so many readers have with the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, novelist and travel writer, whose prolific career spans nearly six decades and whose vicious pen reaches the furthest places on the … Continue reading Mother Land: A Review for Mothers Day