Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the day “February 26, 2011”

Breaking Through The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

On Thursday, Amazon.com announced those entries that moved into the next round. From 10,000 entries, we are down to 1,000 YA and 1,000 General Fiction entries. Unwanted Heroes moved through to the 2nd round.

Unwanted Heroes brings together an old, battle weary Chinese American war vet and an idealistic and pretentious young Englishmen, who share a love for San Francisco, coffee and wine.  They soon discover they share even more when repressed memories bring them together in a gripping climax finding, in each other, an unlikely ally to free themselves from the tragic past that binds them both.

To read a passage I shared on Veteran’s Day, please click here. Otherwise, feel free to keep your fingers crossed, throw some salt over your shoulder (might reduce your blood pressure while you wait in suspense for the next round’s results), whatever is gonna help.

——————————————————————————————————

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/

Helping Military Veterans Return

I have written extensively about how we treat military veterans here in the  US. My new novel, Unwanted Heroes, has been entered into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, and highlights this travesty in American society.

This weekend, I read an article in the New York Times about Archis Acres, a small, organic farm near Valley Center, California, where they offer a Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT). The idea is to use agriculture as a transitional period between army/marines and civilian life. In addition to learning how to work the land in a sustainable way, the men and women receive lectures about various niche business options for the modern small-holdings farmer.

The program was developed by Colin Archipley, a decorated Marine Corps infantry sergeant turned organic farmer, along with his wife, Karen. Colin has served three tours in Iraq. Their goal is to revitalize the rural farming industry by providing tools for young people who understand discipline and hard work.

There are two challenges being addressed here. One is the reabsorption of soldiers into civilian life, and the other is to provide a meaningful and economically viable option for the returning soldier.

Even if these young men and women do not continue to work as farmers, the work itself can be extremely grounding. On my kibbutz, we used to bring groups of children, traumatized from bombings and other acts of terror, to the kibbutz and they would help us make bricks out of a clay-like material that would later be used for experiments in alternative building. It was clear how calming and grounding such work could be.

Archi’s Acres is a great program. Helping turn swords into plowshares is a positive step forward.

——————————————————————————————————

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/

 

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: