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, March 11, 2009

Third Morning In D.C.: What, if anything, have I learned?

Still life by Douglas Arvidson

Still Life by Giorgio Morandi

I ask you, seriously, who would you rather be pals with, me or Giorgio? Read on, below:
Yesterday was a way cool day namely because I ordered a pot of de-caf and they gave me high-test. Sitting here on this bed, I found I was as jittery as a pet squirrel---bop, be-bop, be-bop, be-bop. You just can't write a novel feeling that way.

I looked out the window. Not a bad day--some sun, people walking on the sidewalk way below looked comfortable enough in light jackets. So, I showered, put on some spiffy, walk-around clothes including a new, black-leather jacket that was a throw-away gift from a woman friend. I was feeling good--and when you feel good, you increase your chances of being good.

The last two times I was in D.C. I took the Metro to the Mall every day and toured the museums and memorials. This time I laid my plans closer to home: The DuPont Circle area. Good choice. First stop, The Phillips Collection. A retrospective of Giorgio Morandi is ongoing. Famous for his still lifes. I followed a small tour and listened to the guide with great interest.

Morandi lived all his life (1890 to 1964) in Bologna, Italy. Spent his days in the same house as his mother and sisters--never married, focused efforts entirely on painting colorless bottles lined up in tight rows. This is the kind of guy I spent 32 years working with in special education. I opined to the group that Morandi may have been a person with some issues. But then, what artist doesn't have issues. The guide did not appear to appreciate this and came to his defense. I also took a stab at identifying a round, ball-like mystery object seen in many of his paintings: I think its a gelatin mold and expressed this belief to the others in the group. The guide seemed surprised with this observation but did not openly disagree. At least she smiled at me and nodded enthusiastically.

Later, walking the streets, I began seeing Morandi-type stuff all over the place--champagne bottles lined up in a liquor store, newspaper boxes lined up on the sidewalk, etc. etc. Art imitating life, life imitating art? Poor fragile Morandi; imagine spending 76 years painting the same things over and over again and living with your mother, to boot? One hopes he drank what was in the bottles first.

Then, back to the hotel and back to noodling around with this blog and downloading pictures. I found a nice Indian restaurant just off of DuPont Circle and we'll try it out tonight. Maybe we'll order a Morandi still life of champagne bottles and toast the artist.

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