Tuesday, December 2, 2008

WRITER IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

Yesterday I “tuned in” to the site called “The Color Of A Lion’s Eye” and read the latest blog by my friend Jane Bonin. The blog was a lovely vignette about a Christmas that came too late in Niger, Africa. Jane, a former Peace Corps director in Malawi and Niger, Africa, is now retired in Washington, D.C. and is writing a book about her experiences in Africa. She has led a life filled with rich experiences, and has been active, worldwide, as a servant to the needy. In addition to her work with the Peace Corps, Jane spent many years promoting The Hunger Project (founded by Joan Holmes), a global non-profit, strategic organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. Members of the Project work in 13 countries to develop effective bottom-up strategies to end hunger and poverty. Back in the 80’s, Jane and I worked together in the Hunger Project, and we introduced the idea of ending hunger to Bayou Girl Scout Council where I was an executive with GSUSA at that time. When Jane moved to Washington, D.C., she remained committed to the work of the Project until she was appointed to a Peace Corps position and went to Africa.

The background information on Jane’s blog is modest, but she has a high profile as a Renaissance woman and has maintained this profile for the almost-40 years I’ve known her. I met her when she was a professor of English at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana, and we worked together on a graded reading list for Grades 7-12 for the Iberia Parish Schools published by the New Iberia Library where I was a PR director for five years. In our spare time, we edited the Epiphany church newsletter which we named “Epiphany Tidings.” At the time, Jane was heavily involved in writing her books about drama: PRIZE-WINNING AMERICAN DRAMA and MAJOR THEMES IN PRIZE-WINNING AMERICAN DRAMA. She was one of the founders of Eavesdrop Theatre, an experimental theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana and was director for “Open Space,” a showcase for student playwrights. Jane also wrote several plays herself, one of which was produced Off-Off Broadway in 1976. In 1982, her biography about the playwright Mario Fratti was published by Twayne. During her tenure as professor at ULL, Jane received the Distinguished Professor award, a deserved honor as she was well-beloved by her students.

Today, Jane indulges her lifelong interest in music (she was once a bass cellist) by taking voice lessons, singing in Episcopal church choirs, and tinkering with a piano she bought after returning from Africa. She also works out at a gym, takes French lessons, blogs, continues her writing on the book about Africa, and cooks, a la French style. On one visit to her apartment in Georgetown, we enjoyed a midnight concert in which she sang, a cappella, coached by her voice instructor who was present for dinner.

A thin, fit woman who loves elegance, Jane usually mesmerizes people gathered for parties with her wit and range of conversational topics. She often visits her daughter, Knowles, at Sewanee where we sojourn part of the year. She also has a son, “Little William,” who lives in North Carolina.

Log on to http://alionseye.blogspot.com and read Jane’s Christmas message. You’ll enjoy a rich reading experience!
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