Terry Toots His Horn



This is the place where I toot my horn. Well, I guess the whole website is, but this is my out-basket, my catch-all page, a place where I toot about accomplishments, awards, memberships and speaking engagements. (Headings are in alphabetical order; items are most-recent first.)

Accomplishments:

1) I had the good fortune and pleasure in 2017 of having my novel, The Second Tour, adopted by Dr. Claudia Hauer, distinguished visiting professor, English & Fine Arts department, for an English 411 class focused on the moral and intellectual aspects of war.

2) I had the good fortune and pleasure of having my novel, The Second Tour, adopted by Dr. Marshall W. Alcorn, Jr., professor of English, and director of Undergraduate Studies, at George Washington University in Washington, DC, for use in the 2012 fall semester in his graduate course titled English 4040: Honors Seminar. English 4040 is an Honors Seminar course open only to first-semester senior honors candidates in English literature. The course is designed to provide exceptional students in the major with opportunities to study literature, literary theory, and cultural criticism in a two-semester seminar format that culminates in a final Honors thesis written in consultation with faculty advisers. The program is particularly committed to developing thinking, writing, and research skills for students wishing to pursue graduate work in English or pursue other professional fields such as law or medicine. Beginning in the first semester of their senior year, Honors students take a sequence of two courses — English 4040 and 4250. Both seminars are writing-intensive; the first, English 4040, assists students in formulating plans for the thesis. In English 4250, students work directly with their advisors and finish their honors thesis by the end of the second semester of the senior year.

3) I had the good fortune and pleasure of having my novel, The Second Tour, adopted by the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute in Washington, D.C., a program of the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis. This adoption was for a “study group” and on-going class titled Psychoanalytic Perspective on Literature in their advanced curriculum program. The class was led by Dr. Robert Winer; however, Dr. Marshall Alcorn, professor of English at George Washington University, was responsible for teaching The Second Tour. The course explores psychoanalytic perspectives on fiction, considering both what the analyst can learn about the human condition from the author and the understandings that psychoanalysis can bring to the text.

4) In 2012 I had the good pleasure of learning that a book review of The Second Tour was written by Mr. Joseph Yurt for Reader Views and posted on the Blog Critics website.

5) In 2011 I was invited to participate in war games at Fort Carson with U.S. Air Force Academy cadets being introduced to counterinsurgency tactics. I played the duo role of an Afghanistan tribal Police Chief and Omam. We made the news on the official Air Force website. (Click here for the article.) I’m the “Afghani” police chief in the background, second from right.

6) I had the good fortune and pleasure in both 2010 and 2011 of having my novel, The Second Tour, adopted by Dr. Peter Berres, professor of Political Science at the University of Kentucky, for use in an interdisciplinary course titled Vietnam: The Interplay of War & Culture. The course was offered in the University’s Discovery Seminar Program, a premier offering for undergraduate students along with the Honors Program.

7) I had the good fortune of having my short story Willis taught during the spring semester of 2010 by Dr. Byron Plumley in his class titled Foundations of Peace and Justice. Dr. Plumley is the Coordinator of Justice Education and the Director of the Peace and Justice Studies program at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. His class conducts personal interviews with homeless veterans. Willis, a story about the special relationship between a homeless Vietnam Vet and a police officer, can be found in my book Heads or Tales.

8) I had the good fortune to be videotaped and interviewed by The Center for the Study of War Experience at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, on October 14, 2010. The Center interviewed me about my life prior to and including my involvement in the Vietnam War as a low-level combat Marine, and about my post-war adjustment. The interview went very well and is available on-line here.

9) I had the good fortune in 2009 of receiving a personal heart-felt review of my novel The Second Tour from Mike Mullins by email, vice-president of the Military Writers Society of America. His “less than formal” review for the MWSA can be found below:

Rizzuti has pissed me off with his book.  He has brought back memories.  Although I have not had as bad a war experience as he had I had enough to know what he is feeling and remembering.  And what he cannot get over.  Whether you held someone while he died one hundred times or once, it is always the same. There is no difference.  Dead is dead.  Holding them, looking into their eyes, hearing their final words…or noises as the case may be…it is something you carry forever; it is the same.  Even if you buried the memories, every now and again something comes along that uncovers the grave.  Then the bones in the closet rattle and you open the door to the past.  The memories echo and you hear it all again.  Yes, Rizzuti pissed me off and in the final analysis there may be no better way to evaluate his book than to say that.

Michael D. “Moon” Mullins, author of Vietnam in Verse, poetry for beer drinkers.

10) I had the good fortune of having my novel The Second Tour chosen Best Book For 2008 by Reader’s Choice Reviews. The review itself was written by William R. Potter.

11) In 2008 I had the honor of having my novel, The Second Tour, awarded 5*’s on Amazon by reviewer Richard N. Larsen at Midwest Book Review. This was huge! MBR is one of the top reviewers in the country and one of few to give consideration to self-published books. At the time, MBR received 50 books per day between Monday and Saturday. Half were assigned to reviewers, but only one-third were actually chosen for review.

Awards:

1) On November 9, 2017, I had the honor of being selected the Katie Speer Philanthropist of the Year, a prestigious Estes Park, Colorado, award.

2) In 1977, I was awarded the University of Oklahoma Vernon L. Parrington Prize Winner, a writing award for my paper titled “Traces of Poe in Whitman.”

3) I have several military awards from having served in the Marine Corps between the years 1966 and 1970, including: Purple Heart; Combat Action Ribbon; Presidential Unit Commendation Ribbon; Vietnam Campaign Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; 2 Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citations (Gallantry Cross Medal and Civic Actions Medal); Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal.

Memberships:

I am a Life Member of The Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, The Disabled American Veterans, and the Khe Sanh Veterans Association. I am also a member of Flinch Forward, and the 26th Marines Association.

I served on the board of directors for the University of Oklahoma’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Scholarship Association from 1985 – 1996).

Speaking Engagements:

1) It was through good fortune that my novel The Second Tour was adopted in 2017 by Dr. Claudia Hauer for a core curriculum course titled Language, Literature & Leadership at the US Air Force Academy and was invited to speak to her classes. Dr. Hauer was a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Academy’s English & Fine Arts department. Her background is in the Classics.

2) I’ve had the honor and pleasure of having my novel, The Second Tour, taught at Regis University each spring semester between 2012 and 2019 as part of their Stories From Wartime seminar offered through The Center for the Study of War Experience. The class is an honors course and features guest speakers every week who recount their war experiences and how their lives have been impacted. I was one of the Vietnam War Panel speakers. The class is taught by History professors. Local radio host Rick Crandall serves as moderator. I am particularly honored that my novel has been included among the following typical fine texts, as well as others:

Bao Ninh, The Sorrow of War; Andrew Carroll, Operation Homecoming; Dexter Filkins, The Forever War; Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning; Samuel Hynes, The Soldiers’ Tale; Alex Kershaw, The Bedford Boys; Phil Clay, redeployment; Karl Marlantes, What it is Like to Go to War; George Mosse, Fallen Soldiers; Helen Thorpe, Soldier Girls; Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried; Terry P. Rizzuti, The Second Tour

3) It was through good fortune that my novel The Second Tour was adopted each year from 2009 through 2014 and 2019 by Professor Wilbur J. Scott for a behavioral sciences course he taught titled Military & Society, and that each year I was invited to speak to his classes. Dr. Scott is a highly-decorated Vietnam Veteran and author of Vietnam Veterans Since The War. He structured the course into four parts and used my novel in Part 4, called “Aftermath.” This made me feel especially good because it meant the book was effective as a primer in the study of PTSD. It’s not often that you see novels used in college-level behavioral sciences courses. The following is a not-very-untypical comment from one of the cadets:

“Rizzuti superimposes his thoughts into the reader’s. The reader is not “reading” anymore. He is living them out; this is the difference between producing music and being music. Rizzuti doesn’t produce these ideas, he is them.”

4) I had the honor and good fortune of being asked to speak at our local Estes Valley Memorial cemetery in Estes Park, Colorado, on Memorial Day, May 27, 2013 and again in 2018. My keynote address titled Memorial Day Remarks and Reflections can be accessed in the Nonfiction section of this website.

5) I had the good fortune of being asked to speak at our local Rotary Club in Estes Park, Colorado, on January 10, 2013. My “invitation sponsor” asked that I address my time in the military, emphasizing my experience in Vietnam, and writing a novel about that experience, The Second Tour: Soul Injury.

6) I had the good fortune of speaking to a literature seminar at George Washington University in Washington, DC, on February 21, 2012. The course was titled Literature and Medicine and was taught by Dr. Marshall Alcorn, professor of English and director of undergraduate studies. I talked about my Vietnam War novel, The Second Tour, which was assigned to the class and compared with Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. My background is in English literature and I have read these other works, which I place in high esteem. I read The Heart of Darkness for a lit class my freshman year in 1970, got an A on my paper and was called into the professor’s office to discuss it. He was impressed with the paper because no one before me had compared The Heart of Darkness to one’s war experience. In 1979, Apocalypse Now was released, a Vietnam War film that uses The Heart of Darkness as its metaphorical backdrop. The Things They Carried is the Vietnam War novel against which all Vietnam War novels are measured. It was interesting to see how The Second Tour stacked up.

My background is in English literature so it felt a lot like being back in school. The students were bright, fully engaged and had obviously read and internalized the material. All in all, I thought the event was a huge success. In fact, the whole experience was an absolute honor for me personally, as well as a tremendous opportunity. It marked the first time I was welcomed into a speaking engagement as a writer, first and foremost, and then secondly as a veteran. That felt really good. I think The Second Tour was launched that day about as well as can be expected for a self-published novel, so I disengaged from it somewhat afterwards and have allowed it to sink or swim on its own. And that’s a good thing.

7) I had the honor of speaking to a history class at Regis University in Denver, Colorado on October 14, 2010. The course was titled The Cold War, taught by professors Dan Clayton and Nathan Matlock. I talked about my childhood during the 1950’s, including my memories of Cold War events such as “nuclear attack fall out drills” in grade school. I also talked about the effects of the Russian space launch of Sputnik in 1957 on the American conscious. And I talked about events leading up to and including my involvement in the Vietnam War, as well as about my writing of those experiences. I believe, based on feedback from the students and professors, that the talk went very well and may lead to other similar opportunities.

8) I had the good fortune of presenting a paper, Current Warfare: A Vietnam Connection, at the 2010 War Literature and Arts Conference. The theme of the conference was Representation and Reporting of America’s Wars: 1990 – Present. The conference was held September 16 – 18, 2010, and hosted by the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Department of English & Fine Arts. This was a tremendous opportunity for me personally, and for my book The Second Tour. The conference was a huge success. Several of the nation’s most gifted and talented story tellers, poets, novelists, photographers and film makers assembled before large and small audiences of students, faculty and other professionals. I can honestly say it was a one-of-a-kind conference, and an incredibly exhilarating, inspiring and humbling experience. I highly recommend this conference for anyone even remotely interested in the subject of war and its effects on individuals and cultures. I presented my paper to an audience of about 25 participants and received a considerable amount of positive feedback.

9) I had the honor of participating at the Twentieth Century Warfare and American Memory Symposium on November 13th & 14th, 2009, in Denver, Colorado. The event was hosted by Regis University’s Center for the Study of War Experience, and was co-hosted by Fort Hays State University and War, Literature & the Arts, an academic journal produced by the English Department at the U.S. Air Force Academy. I was one of the speakers on The Vietnam War and Memory panel.

Other

On February 2, 2018, I had the honor of debuting on our local TV Channel 8 in a video titled Our Town Unfiltered, American Legion Post 119: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0x5CDYYOHQE

On April 12, 2014, I had the privilege of joining 58 other Colorado writers at the 2014 Longmont Library Festival in Longmont, Colorado. Each of us was invited to set up a booth and display/sell our books.

On April 20, 2013, I had the privilege of joining 53 other Colorado writers at the 2013 Longmont Library Festival in Longmont, Colorado. Each of us was invited to set up a booth and display/sell our books.