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:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Washington D.C., Jet Lag, Guam, Honolulu: Murder, Good Friends, Marvelous Marble

On Wakiki: Murder on a world-famous beach

In front of the Supreme Court. A tour revealed a lot of awe-inspiring wasted space and beautiful marble--from Alabama?

Before we flew home and then on to D.C., we sailed on Guam: Blue water, white wine, and lots of good friends.

I'm in Washington D.C. I'm sitting on the bed in the hotel room in my jammies loath to shower and get going. Jet lag lingers five days after the fact. How does Hillary do it? Yet this city is fast becoming my favorite and it is beautiful in this suddenly-fair, cool autumn weather. Yesterday was perfect--blue skies, temps in the 60's--for walking and absorbing the city atmosphere.

And so I did. I tried to stay in and tend to the writing biz, but couldn't resist the call of the traffic on the street, the people on the sidewalks, and the promise of the pleasures of a great city on a fall day. More on all that later. First, Guam, sailing, Honolulu, and jet lag.

Above, this is us, on our friends fine Tayana 43 sailing out of Guam harbor. It was a perfect day interjected into a spate of miserable rainy ones just in time for our short visit to the island. We had spent eleven years here, teaching, living a a sailboat, and cruising these waters, and it wasn't difficult to remember how to enjoy wonderful old friends and the tropical climate.

But is was not all sails and swells. Terry had meetings every day and I spent one afternoon happily teaching 3rd graders about the writing process. Another afternoon I spent with my friend, Manny Sikau, a master traditional navigator from the island of Puluwat learning about traditional voyaging for my novel-in-progress, The Spirit of the Voyage. More on that in a future blog.
On the way over and on the way back, I spent a rest day in Honolulu. Good idea. The climate in our 50th state is above reproach, just a tad cooler and a whole lot less humid than Guam. The city is busy, but, right there, in your face, is the storied beach at Wakiki. The sand has to be barged in across the Pacific from the Mainland, but the silhouette of Diamond Head can't be denied. I had a tourist from Japan (there were lots of them) take this picture after I took one of him and his bride (Diamond Head was the other way but the light was not right.). Alas, it turns out that, just about where I was standing had been, just the night before, the scene of a murder most foul: A young tourist from New Mexico had been raped and strangled, apparently right in the surf. The alleged perp was quickly apprehended and is, of course, pleading innocent. It gave me pause.

Enough of paradise and its perils. Back to the Nation's Capitol where murder is more common and so less noticable. I admit to feeling ecstatic yesterday, walking the city's streets. The air was fabulous--almost cold, very dry--and the sidewalks were happy with mostly young people going to and from where ever they go to and from. I, however, had no place to go to and from. Wherever it was I was going, I was already there. The journey was the goal. Yesterday even the poor and homeless looked happy. The guy the pawn shop where I bought a guitar stand and a music stand seemed happy. The little white guy that lights up when it's safe to cross the street looked happy. Am I projecting?
And today, in just a few minutes, I'm going to get out of my jammies and take a shower, and get back out there. I'm going to walk off the remainder of my jet lag and last nights Indian food by strolling all the way to Lafayette Square and the White House and then down to the Mall and see where my feet take me after that. I'll report on my findings tomorrow. Secretly, I'm hoping for an Obama sighting, or at least a Blue Dog Democrat.

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