Write Your Story: RPCV Publishes Guide to Peace Corps Memoir Writing
By Sarah Kana on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
In September 2011, Congressman John Garamendi and his wife Patti, both of whom are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (Ethiopia 66-68), hosted an event in the Library of Congress Members Dining Room to honor Peace Corps writers. The Library of Congress had recently compiled an annotated bibliography of selected books in the Library of Congress collections authored by returned Peace Corps volunteers and a few former staff members. These writers, who have written about and shared stories of their time serving, have collectively played an important role in carrying out the Third Goal of the Peace Corps: Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
In order to encourage Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) to share and publish their stories, RPCV Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 75-77) has written a book, Peace Corps Experience: Write & Publish Your Memoir. Lihosit’s book has been well received, earning praise from the late Robert Klein of the Peace Corps Oral History project, who commented, “Write your story but first study this book.”
“Your story should be part of this [Library of Congress] collection,” say Lihosit, “for it represents a small piece of a huge American patchwork quilt that has covered the globe for a half a century, offering solace and hope. It’s a good time to share your experience and that’s why I wrote a book to help you…”
Peace Corps Experience: Write & Publish Your Memoir, is essentially a “How-To” book for former volunteers and staff who have hesitated to tell their story. The author describes what a memoir is and offers tips on how to write, publish and promote.
Lihosit is also the author of several Peace Corps books:
- Peace Corps Chronology; 1961-2010 includes all notable activities related to the Peace Corps in an easy-to-read style, in chronological order and lists all volunteers who died during and immediately following service.
- South of the Frontera; A Peace Corps Memoir tells the story of how a job loss and a worn picture postcard ignite adventures leading to the Peace Corps in Honduras. It is a vivid and humorous description of Mexico and Central America between 1975 and 1977.
- Whispering Campaign; Stories from Mesoamerica is a a collection of short stories with telling details — a taxi driver unscrews his license plate bulb before driving, a young American bewitched by a female shaman waving a necklace of dried herbs, the son of a salesman who dispels the curse of guilt, freeing the ghost of remorse and much more.
- And finally, Years On and Other Travel Essays in which Lihosit describes how he hitchhiked along bleak Arizona highways, hacked a path through wooded Honduran mountains, avoided caiman while riding bulls in Bolivia and grizzlies as he hunted caribou in bush Alaska, and ran for his life after getting involved in Mexican politics.
For those of you in the Madera County, California area, Lihosit will explain how to write a memoir at the Madera County Library Main Branch (121 North G Street, Madera CA 93637) on Thursday, May 10th between 5:30 and 6:30 in the evening.
To access the annotated bibliography of selected writings written by RPCVs and Peace Corps staff in the Library of Congress, visit: http://www.loc.gov/peacecorps/.