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:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hanging Out in the Bronx? Are You Kiddin' Me?

I should have taken more pictures today--of the Bronx. Of the little old lady who, with her husband, has been running the same tiny, get-anything-you-need hardware store for the past fifty years. My brother handed her a screw and said I need something a little bigger than this. She looked at it and said, "That's a 5/16ths. You need a 3/8ths." She had everything, down to the right sized tap to re-thread the hole the fuel filter is mounted on. Said her husband was home because he had twisted his prosthetic leg backwards at the knee and was in great pain. After we left her store, we had breakfast in a little cafe down the street. For $12 we were filled up with great food (my brother's breakfast sandwich cost $2.00). This is New York City? Geddoudahere!

This picture is from Seawind's cockpit. In the background is City Island, Bronx, New York City. I had all sorts of Hollywood-infected prejudgements of the place. Was everyone in the Mob? (They all sound like it.) Would we get mugged when we walked down the street? Would we witness a drive-by shooting?

No. Not even a pickpocket. At least this part of the Bronx is leafy and nautical. Lower-middle class, but pleasant and civilized. Make that friendly and smiling and helpful and decent. My brother and I were picked up at the boat by the yacht club launch for free (we paid $25 for the mooring, knocked down from $35 because we were having mechanical problems) and were allowed to use their showers for free. They were absolutely helpful and kind to these tired voyagers. Thank you to the City Island Yacht Club.

Today John fixed the problem with the engine's alternator (and I learned something), and we ascertained that the water coming into the bilge is coming in through a deck fitting, not from the sea due to a serious issue with the rudder post. We are ready to go, but the weather forecast for tomorrow is calling for more rain (90% chance), and we figure we'll be hanging on this mooring for another day.

That leaves Saturday with its promise of fair weather. We'll slip our mooring early and head out for the much-anticipated East River leg of the voyage--right through the middle of it all.

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