Peace Corps Writers
Talking with Marcy Spaulding (page 2)

Talking with
Marcy Spaulding
page 1
page 2

You say in your book that you used your journal to write the roller coaster of your Peace Corps experience. What do you think about the therapeutic uses of journaling?

Marcy and friends

For me, journaling was very therapeutic. I was lucky to have fellow Peace Corps friends not too far away — they were my best therapy, but I only saw them every couple weeks or so. I had great friends in my village as well, but there was a language and cultural divide between us. As much as I loved life in the village to an extent I found it very difficult to go for days on end without being able to communicate with anyone in my own language (actual or cultural). So, my journal became my outlet. It was a place where I could express my frustrations and my joys, and try to make sense of everything that was going on, around me and within me. I tended to write more often when I was sad or angry or confused — which was often, but certainly not all the time. So the book does not reflect my entire experience, it actually leaves out a lot of the good aspects of my time in Mali.

Would you recommend that all PCVs keep a journal?

I would definitely suggest giving it a try, though I don’t think it’s necessarily for everyone. Each person has to find his or her own way to process the experience. But I do think it is crucial to find a way to process it.

Did you think that while you were keeping your Peace Corps journal that you would actually share it (publish it) one day?

Yes and no. I’ll admit that the thought was in the back of my mind at times, but I didn’t think it would actually happen. For the writing to be truly useful, though, I had to be able to write anything and everything on the understanding that it would never be seen by anyone but me. My actual journal is still private — not everything is in the book. Also, I kept two separate journals: one for just writing, and one for more creative expressions — poems, drawings, quotes from things I had read, etc. The book is made up of pieces from both.

Do you think of yourself as a writer?

To be honest, not really. I’m glad I had the opportunity to do this project, but it was unexpected and, other than writing papers for school, I’ve never really written anything else.

Are you planning to write another book?
No plans yet, but if I am truly inspired by something I might consider it. The Peace Corps was a very inspirational time in my life, which made the writing easy.
Your publisher did a really fine job of producing your book; it is well edited and designed. How did you come across this company?
I have Bette Peterson of Poppy Lane Publishing to thank for that. She is a long-time family friend who was on my email list while I was in Mali. She liked what I had written in my emails, so when she approached me about the possibility of publishing my journals through her company, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Marcy, thank you for your time.

It’s my pleasure. I love to talk about my life in Mali.

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