When it came down to it, facing 61 years wasn't too tough, really. Terry and I got off the boat for the weekend and went to a nice hotel on this beautiful bay on Guam. Had a too-expensive dinner accompanied by a nice Scotch, a good bottle of Cab, and then a great night's sleep in a king-sized bed (the berth on the boat is queen sized and tapered at the end). In the morning we lounged around in the room drinking coffee, eating chocolate chip cookies, and reading on the small balcony off our room (I got into an article in Psychology Today about dream research that says we dream to rehearse our defensive moves on potential attackers, which is why most of our dreams are violent or involve running or escaping, etc. Can we escape aging? I'm running hard, but, dream on, Dougie, dream on).
Then down to a very fine, all-you-can-drink champagne brunch with good friends. So, blood pressure problems, heart arrhythmias, colonic disorders--the disheartening fruits of living to 61--were forgotten for the day as were nagging questions about what to do with the boat when I retire in June (sail it back to the Chesapeake? Sell her here?), what about Book II in The Eye of the Stallion trilogy (the person at my publishing house in charge of producing the book is very ill and now the publishing date has been pushed back for at least a month, maybe longer), and what about the stress at work where I manage a special education program and have 30 students on my speech-language pathology caseload? We have talked all these issues through, over and over and over and finally, I think, come to some reasonable options which is a huge relief. Now it's Sunday night and tomorrow begins the four-week stretch to Christmas break, during which we'll fly to Tasmania for 10 days. Now that I write all this down, it seems pretty stupid to complain about anything as inevitable as aging when life is so rich.
Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal (http://bit.ly/1mMT6ZC). The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/1j3axVk) and Crossquarter.com. Visit the author's website: douglasarvidson.com