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At the end of The Audiobook, I invited listeners to “take the time to listen,” partly because Mark (co-author of Seeking Quan Am) had said, “If one talks too much about the good times, people perceive a candidate for the VFW. The one that pours out all the horrors is seen as a basket…(Read More)

Years ago I used a device to help me teach about good writing, although the device in question might be insulted by the term. He was a coyote who I referred to simply as Coyote. In the storytime in which Coyote existed, I had met him in the produce department in Wegmans. After that we…(Read More)

The Old Veterans

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Excerpt from Seeking Quan Am: A Dual Memoir of War and Vietnam, Susan R. Dixon and Mark M. Smith I wanted to get us to Friendship Village, the rehabilitation center on the outskirts of Hanoi, founded by an American veteran and once again Hai had to be persistent and not give up on the mission…(Read More)

Rare Encounter

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It is March 1969 in a place west of Saigon that the men called the Tobacco Field. They also called it Ambush Valley. Civilians were rare here, so when this group of farmers walked nearby, Captain Meager (hands on hips in middle photo) went to talk to them. Mark (who took the picture) said Capt…(Read More)

The Panera Stranger

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This was an introduction to Seeking Quan Am that I kept for a long time before going in a different direction. Mark Smith and I were sitting with a friend in a coffee shop in Ithaca, N.Y. waiting for a mechanic to repair my car. The three of us had been to Vietnam together…(Read More)

The Hard-Core Hat

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The men sit, brooding, waiting, exhausted. If they are told to do something, they are ready to do it, their equipment close by. Their weapons and personal belongings – is there a distinction? – are bundled into packs. For the moment their helmets are cast aside. The man in the foreground wears what Mark called…(Read More)

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