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 (http://bit.ly/1mMT6ZC). 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, Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/1j3axVk) and Crossquarter.com. Visit the author's website: douglasarvidson.com
Friday, November 20, 2009
20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Just the Beginning of Our Nightmares
Let's here it for the Berlin Wall. Remember the Berlin Wall? "Ich bin ein jelly doughnut," as J.F.K. so nobly declared (a Berliner is a jelly doughnut in Germany--and yes, it's a tired, old joke). Or, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" as Ronnie requested, and, when Communism had finally rotted away enough from inside, they had no choice but to to comply.
My son Eli and I helped in the tearing down part and here are the pix to prove it. That's what I looked like twenty years ago and he looks a bit different now, too. In any event, we were driving to Copenhagen for the weekend when the wall fell but we got to Berlin six months later and filled up seven shopping bags with the vile, asbestos-impregnated (we were later told) cement. It was hard stuff, truth be known. Reinforced somehow to make it nearly impervious to the hammer and stone chisel, tools we brought along for the purpose. We hacked and smashed at it for hours using a variety of techniques, and while we were at it, East German guards watched us through the widening cracks. It was all very exciting at the time and I still have a small basket of the stuff on a bookshelf in my study.
What does it all mean today? Germany has been successfully reunited, and Communism, except in small, fanatical enclaves here and there around the world, has disappeared as a viable form of controlling large groups of people (I don't count Red China. They saw the light and eagerly embraced Capitalism, became very good at it (better then us?) and are now just plain Fascists).
The downside to winning the Cold War? It would seem that humanity needs it's desperate battles in order to feel fulfilled and it didn't take long, after the collapse of the Evil Empire, for it to come up with something new and just as terrifying as atomic Armageddon. The Soviet Communist bosses, for all their posturing and shoe banging and huge nuclear arsenal, never managed to even blow up a 7-Eleven. But, it only took a few years for a small gang of Muslim fanatics to score a much bigger point and leave us all lying awake at night sweating through our sheets. It's because, unlike the Communists, the Islamists don't want to rule us--they want to kill us--all of us. Apparently we need our nightmares.