The Pen of Adventure
Takes you to the edge
Brings you home
James grew up in western Washington on a small farm. His childhood, rich with Tom Sawyer escapades on the Columbia River and the surrounding countryside, gave James an able-bodied sense of self-reliance. Besides attending school, he began working in construction at age thirteen. With this early hands-on career, James developed a solid work ethic and learned the value of a dollar. In high school, he joined the Naval Reserve. In 1966, after graduating from college, the Navy called James to active duty and immediately assigned him to the USS Alfred A. Cunningham, DD-752, a destroyer stationed in Long Beach, California. He served two combat tours of duty in Vietnam.
“The time I spent in the California sun and sailing the seas and visiting foreign countries and the rush of combat set the course I wanted for my life. I wanted adventure, to be on the edge of life, not sitting on the sidelines, watching others do it.”
Because of his Navy training and experience, the Central Intelligence Agency hired James in 1969.
“It was a bit overwhelming to walk into the entrance of the C.I.A. Headquarters. The giant emblem in the floor, the very competent guards, the suits walking here and there, and the Wall of Stars for fallen heroes, all shouted this place was special. Even so, with my rather rural background, I preferred the rough and tumble of the field rather than the glitz of an office.”
After a year of specialized training, James began an exciting and rewarding career that extended throughout Asia. He retired from “The Company” in 1994 then moved to the Republic of the Philippines. There, he met the love of his life, Sonia.
James Logsdon and his fiancé Sonia left the Philippines in November 2007, married in December, and began their new life together in Sun City Anthem in 2008. While Sonia studied to pass NCLEX (State Nursing Examination), James explored the surrounding mountains.
"Having spent most of my adult life in foreign countries, I felt the need to re-acclimate to life in the United States."
During this time of self appraisal, he decided to put on paper some of his life’s experiences and joined Anthem Authors.
"Fifteen minutes early, I walked into a large room with tables and thirty chairs arranged in a horseshoe pattern with a podium at the head. Obviously, everyone knew each other. All eyes turned toward me, the new comer. 'Is this the Author’s Club?' I asked. Someone answered, 'Yes, it is.' I took a seat. No one spoke yet they seemed curious about me with glances and smiles. Someone else asked, 'Are you a writer?' 'Yes.' 'What do you write about?' 'I write about my life with the Central Intelligence Agency.' Now every time I mention this, I expect the standard answer, and I got it. 'So, you can’t tell me what you did or you’d have to kill me, right?' This is always accompanied with plenty of cautious giggles. I smiled my best little boy grin and answered, 'Not exactly, cause I’m not going to tell you anything that serious.' Everyone laughed and so it began. Years later, I still love the club. I served as its president and currently chair a critique group for serious writers."
As a previous employee of the Central Intelligence Agency, every word James writes for publication must be approved by their Publication Review Board. This restriction limits content concerning dates, location, personnel, and operations.
“One might say they read all sorts of supposedly authentic C.I.A. operations but these stories are not written by previous employees - or - the employee-author received special authorization. Non-employee authors are limited only by imagination.”
The Soul of Black Mountain, Nevada --Based on true events— Two combat tours and a C.I.A. career of Cold War experience left James Logsdon ill-prepared to defeat an invisible adversary. Demons. From where do they spawn? Are they God’s fallen angels or lost souls caught between worlds? This encounter didn’t happen in some Third World country but on Black Mountain, Nevada . . . across the street from his home.
Have you ever found yourself bogged down in a life-sucking situation? Did you ever think about kicking loose from the shackles of your surroundings, leaving everything behind, and live an adventure? James Logsdon did just that. He ended his career, sold his possessions, and moved to the Republic of the Philippines. The country’s tropical beauty soothes the casual visitor, but below the exotic charms lay the raw conditions of never-ending risk. James found out that swindlers and thugs waited at every turn. Their crimes handled by a justice system not unlike the old west of the United States. Take a chance and follow James on a compelling journey in a land far, far from home.
James Logsdon retired from the Central Intelligence Agency and moved to the Republic of the Philippines to enjoy the country’s rustic culture. However, life’s ride led James to a remote island where his expertise moved the lifestyle of a provincial village into the twenty-first century. James soon learned that under the superficial innocence of the town lay the dark traits of humanity found in every gathering of mankind. Join James on a wild ride from the grimy demands of Manila to the intrigue of life on the edge of imagination.
Sweetlips is truly an accounting of the beauty and the beast. The beauty is man's powerful attraction to the sea and the mysteries of its indifference to mankind’s efforts to tame it. The beast, which has been around since mankind came to be, since Corinth and Ephesus and Sodom and Gomorra, is man's carnality. Sweetlips blends the amour between a man, his boat, and the sea then crashes the romance into the raw, coarse power of the flesh. James Logsdon tells a story that needs to be told. He captures a place in time aboard the good boat Sweetlips in the South China Sea and the infamous Nipa Hut in the notorious City of Angeles in the Republic of the Philippines.
Demons, from where do they spawn? Are they Satan’s advocates? If there are demons for the devil are there angels for God? There seems to be constant pressure on us humans to choose between good and evil—a battle for our very souls. What if you found yourself with the key to save mankind? Would you stand up, face an impossible foe, or try to outrun your fate? Step into an unprecedented circumstance and live a certainty, none of us can escape.
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Mondays in Manila, Philippines arrived the same way as Mondays anywhere -- reluctantly. Morning chaos replaced the near deserted streets of Sunday as the masses, groggy from their day off, their escape from the tedium of earning a living, returned to the reality of daily life and survival. I walked north on Mabini Street and approached the cross-street of Padre Faura. Traffic through the intersection on a normal day moved with slow fits and starts but today Jeepneys, taxies, trucks, and motorcycles jammed it to a stop. Impatient drivers blew their horns, yelled curses, and raced their engines, as if their complaints would somehow break open the bottleneck. All the while, vendors zigzagged among the stalled traffic hawking newspapers, bottled water, snacks, and trinkets of all sorts to their trapped customers. I joined a small group of pedestrians, standing on the corner of the intersection, waiting for a safe moment to cross. One brave soul stepped from the curb and led the rest of us on a crooked path between the gridlocked vehicles toward the other side. Exhaust fumes and the smell of overheated engines mixed with the heavy humidity of the morning and made my eyes burn. However, the jumbled hypnotic traffic-roar overwhelmed the senses and pushed aside any other thought. As I stepped onto the sidewalk on the other side of the street, I saw an ice cream man pushing his cart along the side of the road. In truth, I didn’t see him first. I saw the little girl. She wore a dingy, red dress, and beamed a wide toothless smile as only kids can do. She called to the ice cream man with a little squeak of a voice lost in the confusion and blast of the intersection. The ice cream man didn’t seem to hear her small and weak voice at first. His concentration and countenance seemed intent on maneuvering his pushcart. Though small, she danced after him until he saw her. The man, a tattered poor man, worn old and thin from life on the streets, dressed in a too-large, drab-gray shirt with rolled up sleeves and patched trousers. He wore ancient cracked flip-flops dented heavy with the imprint of his feet. His face, furrowed, unshaven, and burned dark from the sun frowned as he pushed his battered cart. However, when he saw the little girl waving and calling for his attention, he stopped. His face broke into a genuine, broad smile, displaying broken and missing teeth...but she smiled back. Neither seemed to notice or care the other had no teeth. Though his face, seasoned with age and his hair and sparse whiskers glittered with sprigs of grey, his eyes twinkled young with laughter and crinkled in the corners. He asked for her money. She held out her tiny hand and opened her clenched fingers that hid a few small coins--hardly enough for an ice cream cone. The man saw at once she had not enough for even the smallest cone and his smile froze as he debated his position for he was a poor man. The sign on his rundown cart that once displayed a bright advertisement had long ago faded and its wheels that once shined black and moved easily now fought him constantly. The ice cream man hesitated but a moment and then his smile continued. He accepted her coins as if plenty and then elegantly went about preparing for her a small cone. While he worked, she danced in a circle, her hands to her face and she squealed as her bare feet skipped in delight. Soon the ice cream man finished her cone and he bent over and presented it to her with the smile of a man, who for the moment seemed a child as well. Joy shined through the craggy, weather beaten face he wore. She carefully took the cone, held it in her two hands and admired it for a moment. Then, amidst the horn-blowing, engine-roaring background, she licked it as if alone in a quiet garden surrounded by flowers and cooing birds. Her eyes and face beamed as she turned and walked toward a woman I suspected to be her mother who sold gum and cigarettes from a small box on the sidewalk. The woman smiled with happiness toward the little girl in the red dress. All of us, lucky enough to stop for a moment on that noisy Monday morning, who witnessed this unselfish act from the heart of a man on the edge of society, received a priceless gift. I pray that more often I could recognize the opportunity to share my blessings and for a moment see through the eyes of a child as did the ice cream man.