Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Her Words, Poet Maya Angelou

When I Think Of Death 

Maya Angelou (1924-2014)

When I think of death, and of late the idea has come with alarming frequency, I seem at peace with the idea that a day will dawn when I will no longer be among those living in this valley of strange humors.
I can accept the idea of my own demise, but I am unable to accept the death of anyone else.
I find it impossible to let a friend or relative go into that country of no return.
Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger follows in its wake.
I answer the heroic question 'Death, where is thy sting? ' with ' it is here in my heart and mind and memories.'

Maya Angelou

SourceWhen I Think Of Death - Maya Angelou - A Popular Funeral Reading

Funeral - today 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Update Two on Work in Progress

Over a period of 14 years (five of those in boxes) my personal narrative manuscript, Not All Roads Lead Home, developed. There were times when I wondered if it would be. When a British publisher took the manuscript, for different reasons I asked him to use my pen name.

Now Jim writes his book, one of complex times, participants, decisions to be made, and well-planned action taken. The matter of dire situations across continents during and prior to the late 1970s to early 1990s seems like a cleansing wildfire to be tamed.

People Jim has reconnected with and people he has met during this process, especially this year, reinforce the magnitude of the work, to tell about U.S. and international partnerships formed on behalf of refugees around the world in one timeframe.

We are away this week to work on the big picture now in draft form, after multiple rewrites. His is the way of authorship, and it is, as they say, wide and deep. I appreciate so much the help of others, offered in the desire to see the Work finish, and finish well.

When I have photos of the wall- posted poster sheets of each day's work plan, maybe I will post some of those. It's time, I think, to get my hands on a digital camera rather than turn to phone cam. :) However, this is his work, and to write about it is not his style. I am excited about it, as one seeing it form.

Hope you have a great day, not judging the day but living in it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Repeat call for justice and mercy in Sudan

I once attended a reception at the Sudanese mission in Washington, D.C. The food was excellent, the service of only non-alcoholic beverages was varied, and the robes on the Sudanese officials were perfectly white. I believe that some, perhaps many, Sudanese at that event are not in line with their country's Muslim decision to lash a Christian Sudanese young woman after she gives birth, likely next month, in jail for refusal to renounce faith in Jesus Christ. I hope more Christians, Muslims, diplomats, and national leaders will speak out repeatedly, even if fearing persecution,  opposition, or criticism for doing so.

The church has always grown and flowered from the soil of persecution. However, no Christian wants persecution upon himself or others. Let people of all reverence for God pray continually for this woman, her husband, and their friends and family. May our cries bring glory to God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose plans for Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag cannot be defeated in life here, or in the eternal life reserved for her in Heaven. May her passing from this life to the next be after many years of motherhood, wifely joys, and into old age, in peace and security.

Thanks to Deirdre Reilly's blog post today (May 20, 2014), I add my hopes to those of others as my prayers for a Sudanese Christian sister continue. I hope you will read Deirdre's column now.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Update on Jim Purcell's Work in Progress

Update February 7, 2015

...The American Humanitarian Spirit...1979-1986

Jim Purcell's MS is a massive work with narrative and field accounts before and after the Fall of Saigon, April 30, 1975. Vietnamese allies that rushed to the U. S. Embassy for a helicopter on a tower on the roof were only the beginning of an unfolding tragedy. What the U. S. had to learn from the events of the Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos triangle equipped the nation to lead the world to revive its humanitarian spirit internationally within citizenry, governments, communities, churches, synagogues, and volunteer organizations.

The refugee decade, as it came to be known, required the development of policies and procedures for quick humanitarian response in Southeast Asia, Africa (Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia), the Middle East, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Russia.    

The Work is now at another nitty-gritty, detail-checking stage.

Files by category for news clippings and reports allow faster fact-checking now. End notes, the footnote-type info at the end of chapters, not pages, where referenced.

All MS sources have been listed according to Chicago Manual of Style formats for books, articles, journals, reports and other references according to chapters.

The list work typing and alphabetizing that the author did in long-hand by chapter is now in a Word document. The handwritten end notes take up roughly 50 pages. I do not mind what I'm doing now, which is to type those into an end note page for the end of each chapter.

Gathering publisher and copyright data online is what I volunteered for, as well as using front matter of print resources in the author's research collection.

Digital document tracking has gone along carefully, and still there are headache times, led by Andy Michaels. (If this interests you, use the link above, look at the graphics down the page, and see why Andy developed a system for the author.)

Two knowledgeable readers (link)--"they-were-there-too"--have digital and print copies to read and make comments. The link above goes to the sometimes underestimated Wikipedia, which has the best correct description and explanation I have found.

Finishing the book proposal (BP-sample ideas) has been easy to put off, and the early steps started early. That era helped JNP to add, rethink, or enlarge manuscript sections. The BP is supposed to catch the interest of a key, professional, and successful book agent.

Authors of referenced material and historical accounts need experienced helpers for details such as those cited above. The author always bears the bulk of work in gathering and selecting information, as well of keeping track of the exact source of each quote, notation, or citation, including interviews by date. Plus organizing and writing the book well!

Comment: Every chapter draft has made a better, stronger, more interesting, thrilling, and informative account of an era in U. S. history, leadership, and humanitarian response.


May 17, 2014
First post: Some readers know that I am helping my husband with editing and manuscript preparation (no writing) for a book about the new U. S. Refugee Program from 1979-1986.

After years of counting on notes, papers, interviews and research, he has finished the working draft, 70+ chapters that reflect national goals, new policies and legislation, volunteer agencies and other nations responding to refugee crises after the Fall of Saigon, 4/25/1975. 

He was called upon to guide early stages of the new U. S. Refugee Program in 1979, and stayed through the early years as refugee emergencies globalize do. 

The present team of manuscript peer reviewers in the past worked tirelessly on behalf of refugees and the U. S. to save the lives and futures around the world. 

Today, we read a USSR-Soviet bloc chapter set in the Cold War time-frame, where persecution of Jews and other religious minorities was heavily brought to bear against them. As Jim read aloud the latest edit, I felt very moved by reflection on our nation's history of helping the least empowered, sparing no effort in Congress, the White House, the State Department, in organizations and groups, in churches and synagogues, and in help others greatly in need of a safe place to live and rebuild their lives.  

I'll update more later. I could not take photos because my cellphone photo capability had a migraine.

The working draft
Copyright (c) 2014 James N. Purcell, Jr.