Writers write wonderfully
We have two wonderful pieces for our column A Writer Writes.
Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia 196567) in her piece “Second Time Around” writes about going to China with her husband Chuck whom she met in her Peace Corps years. Married after her tour, Kathy went with Chuck back to Africa when he was an Associate Peace Corps Director. Besides writing award-winning collections since those early Peace Corps days, she has raised a family and taught at all levels, from elementary school to college. Read about her latest adventures of teaching with Chuck in China.
New to the site is a Writer Writes not by a PCV or RPCV but by a Peace Corps family member. In “What I Learned by Visiting Our Daughter’s Peace Corps Site: And Other Tales of Motherhood,” Ruthmarie Mitsch writes about finally coming to terms with her daughter in Africa. Ruthmarie is the managing editor of a scholarly journal on oral and written literatures of Africa and teaches African literature at The Ohio State University. We are very pleased to publish her piece and have a different perspective on what it means to be “in” the Peace Corps.
The backstory on P.F. Kluge
In Literary Type I mention that National Geographic Traveler has an article by P.F. Kluge (Micronesia 196768) about his Peace Corps country. Kluge has written six novels, and two of them are set in the Pacific isles. As a writer, you might say, he “owns” the Federated States of Micronesia.
How Fred got to Micronesia in the first place is an interesting tale. His roommate when Fred was getting his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago back in the mid-sixties was a recently returned PCV, Marty Benjamin (Ethiopia 196264.) Marty suggested the Peace Corps to Kluge. At the time, the agency was selling Micronesia as a new Peace Corps country with poster images of a small island and a single palm tree and the tag line: Peace Corps Goes to Paradise. [I want you to know that PCVs overseas at the time were really pissed off about that recruitment campaign.]
However, Kluge took the bait and went to “paradise.” As part of his Volunteer duties he helped pen the preamble to the constitution of the new Federated States of Micronesia; and Fred worked closely with the man who turned out to become the second president of Micronesia. Kluge’s book about all that is entitled, The Edge of Paradise: America in Micronesia published in 1991 and winner of our Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award in 1992.
Back home, Kluge became a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and an article by him about an attempted bank robbery in New York was turned into the movie, Dog Day Afternoon. Another novel, Eddie and The Cruisers, written in 1980, was also made into a movie of the same name.
Today, Fred writes full time and teaches creative writing one semester a year at Kenyon College. You can read his account of Kenyon College in Alma Mater: A College Homecoming, published by Addison-Wesley in ’93.
Many thanks to all you from Marian Haley Beil and myself for all your support for our efforts on behalf of the wonderful writers from the Peace Corps, those published and unpublished, and the many, many other of us who are just about to write “the Great Peace Corps Book!”