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 ( 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, ( and Visit the author's website:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tourney du Chat Noir: The Cognitive Dissonance of Retirement

Zeke the Old Cat and I are apparently experiencing the same sort of cognitive dissonance brought on by the unexpected suddenness of retirement. You can't really be ready for it no matter how many retirement parties friends throw for you. While, as a teacher, I'm used to long summer vacations, I can't wrap my brain around the idea that this vacation is not going to end. Its very endlessness makes it impossible to grab a hold of, yet I'm anxious to do something with it. I'm finding our evening happy hours are too long and too much wine is being drunk. This results in poor sleep, hours lying awake worrying about things one should never worry about when one is retired. Then, in the morning, you get up and still feeling tired, you try to get a grip on what is was you were going to do once you didn't have to go to work and weren't tired and stressed any more. Of course, I should give myself a break here. I've only been retired (not working) for a week and an half and my official retirement date is July 4th, still a ways off.

As for Zeke the Old Cat, he is having his own difficulties adjusting to his new land-based life. He spends a great deal of energy wandering about the house mewling and howling. I assume he's frustrated at not being able to get out into the delicious out of doors he smells just beyond the window screens. So, last evening, figuring he's had enough time to know where home is, we let him out to do some exploring under our watchful eyes. He set about, in a pretty methodical way for a cat, to examine the back yard. After a good hour, he went back in the house and disappeared. We got the feeling that he'd seen enough and couldn't decide if he liked it or not.

I don't think I'll have any trouble liking what I'm finding in this new world I've jumped off into. I just need to give myself a chance to grasp the mechanics of the free time now dangling in front of me. Yard work is helpful and tomorrow we head off to D.C. for a week of Terry's FEA meetings. Yesterday we ordered a brand new Prius (touring version), and I'm trying to settle into some sort of morning writing routine to sort of ease my way into this unexplored country.

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