Friday, August 13th was my lucky day. I was camping on the Olympic Peninsula when I drove to access cell phone reception to check the ferry schedule. My first email was a “Hurray!” from one of my sage counsels. Here is what I read: Peace Corps Worldwide has selected In Search of Pink Flamingos as the Best Peace Corps Memoir of 2020-21. I sat in shock. Alone. I wanted to cry, scream, yell, laugh, or something. But instead I looked into the rain forest and felt thankful for being recognized for all my hard work. The meaning of my story had reached a broader audience.
As I sat in my car I thanked all of you, my readers and fans. Without your glowing reviews and comments, this Peace Corps award and my earlier CIBA award would have never happened. You helped my book get noticed and spread the word among your friends and family. You hosted me in your book clubs, interviews, and classrooms. And for that I am truly grateful. The seven years I spent writing this personal account of my life was worth every minute.
When I returned to my group campsite an hour later, I shared the news with my colleagues, a group of return Peace Corps volunteers from the Seattle area. How fitting to celebrate with fellow volunteers. Plastic cups of wine and beer bottles clanked as we basked in my moment of glory.
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The Thomas Paine quote is my mantra: “The world is my country, all mankind is my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”