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:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day: Our Last on Guam

Here's a shot of what we faced today, Mother's Day, aboard our sailboat, VATNA on the island of Guam: Flowers, champagne (in the more correct, before-Noon form of a mimosa), and a small bouquet. It's a fine day here, too--sunny and breezy and it's excellent to be a love---whoops, I meant "a live." Slip of the fingers there.
I was up early this Sunday morning while the "mother," the "a love" person being celebrated, managed to sleep in, surrounded by her cats, despite my crashing around in the galley. I did a 50 minute run, ending it with a 15-minute walk and felt very cool about that, and then off to the Navy Exchange to get the necessities for the day.
Now, aftewards, Terry, her energy and intent bolstered by a cup of expresso, is packing up my clothes in preparation for leaving the island. For the past half and hour she's been dogging me to try on pants the better to sort them into these-go piles or these-don't-go piles. A pleasant enough exercise after my long run and half a bottle of bubbly.
I have 20 days left to work in my life. We get on the plane 17 June 2008 and fly, via Honolulu, and Newark, and then to Norfolk. With luck the cats will arrive with us and we'll all drive across the tunnel-bridge and up Rt. 13 on the Eastern Shore of Virginia to our new life ashore. We haven't sold the boat and I don't anticipate that happening before we leave. In that case, we'll keep her here and I'll fly back next spring and sail her to Austalia via the Caroline Islands and Papua New Guinea. Such a dandy adventure that would be.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Guam Democratic Caucus in a Cockfight Ring and Viewing a Delicious Horizon, Yet.....

All we are is dust in the wind, all's well that ends well, I wish I was in the land of cotton, but, frankly, dear, I dont' give a damn---or do I?

In my last entry, long ago, I was celebrating a great sail and squirming under the pressure of an uncertain future--would I retire and would Terry get elected to the higher position in the teachers' union, and would be subsequently move back to our home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

It has, in fact, all come to pass: My retirement is final, Terry is now--or will be, come August--the Federal Educaton Association Director for the Department of Defense Domestic Elementary and Seconday Schools, and we are, as of June 13th, leaving Guam for the lovely backwater town(literally) of Onancock, VA.

Such bitter-sweet surrender. If before I was squirming, now I'm looking back over my shoulder, gazing reluctantly at what we are indeed surrendering: the close proximity and joy of great friendships, a wonderful, world-class cruising sailboat, a tropical paradise.

Meanwhile, the Barack-Hillary debacle reaches across the far Pacific and finds this paradise (I must add here, it's a paradise if you have enough money--just enough money and no more) and I was there, casting my vote. The picture above is of me at the community center in our village of Santa Rita. I'm the haole on the left. As I was casting my vote under the smiling gaze of the mayor and a dozen volunteer election workers, it struck me that the last time I was here, I was watching a cockfight. Right here, where I was standing, checking the Obamba box, chickens with razors strapped to their legs, were killing each other in seconds flat.

It was a thrill, let me tell you, to have been part of this particular political cockfight, though its been somewhat elongated compared to the rooster's fight to the death. I felt famous, somehow, in the tiny village in the middle of the incredibly remote island of Guam--a speck in the vast galaxy that is the Pacific Ocean. I was casting a ballot that might make a difference, even under these circumstances. And I was right. Later it turned out that Barack won Guam by just seven votes. Had I not been there---who knows?

We are leaving Guam though, in about six weeks. Packing it in. Gone. One problem--so far, the boat has not sold and the phone is not ringing off the hook with potential buyers. Oh, well. If that's the case, we'll just have to adjust. If VATNA, sweet, sweet VATNA, does not sell by next January, I'll be forced to return, forced to get her ready, and forced to sail her away. I think I'll go south. A three day sail south of here are tiny atolls where they live in thatched huts. I want to see them. And I want to see the remote islands of Papua New Guinea and sail the coast of Australia where my hero Captain Cook came to fame. So, adjust we will. Even at my age. I guess I can give a damn for a while longer and let my dust blow around some more.