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
Monday, December 7, 2009
A Time to Remember in Cold, Snowy Boston; I witness a Savage Mugging on the Common; A Message from my Publisher
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds....Samuel Adams, Patriot, Brewer
(Did the great man foresee the extreme elements of the 21st Republican
Party or what?)
An old man retraces his footsteps through the Boston Public Garden
Samuel Adams grave: The Great Brewer's last resting place. Wasn't he also a Founding Father?
Is this snowperson being mugged by a troubled child on Boston Common? No, the cold-hearted thief stole her hat.
Forty-two years ago I was a college student in Boston. Except for the infamous Big Dig and lots of newly erected glass sky scrapers that utterly overwhelm the old brick buildings that Samuel Adams would have recognized, not much has changed. I walked around town for two hours while Terry had her hair done and found that, in fact, at least in the Back Bay section of town, things are still quaint and, well, gratifyingly Bostonian.
Take the Public Gardens. Here I am, playing the part of an old man who once was young (No, I did not join the other rascal frat boys who painted certain parts of the statue of George Washington's horse red--but now I wish I had.) and hot blooded. It was here in 1968, on this hallowed ground, that the police sicced their dogs on us during a mass student demonstration against the war in Viet Nam. Seems some of us had just burned our draft cards in the church across the street (Again, not me. I ended up in the Army soon afterwards. What was I thinking?). It was also here that I found love and then lost it, slept off hangovers in the spring sunshine, and strolled slowly, contemplatively, as young men are want to do, and I wrote great romantic poetry in my head.
And, once again I trod the sacred ground of the Old Granary Cemetery and said a few words (no great poetry this time) over the graves of Sam Adams (do modern Americans know that beer making was just a sideline for Sam?), the victims of the Boston Massacre buried next to him, Ben Franklin's parents, and John Hancock, too. They are all here, their bones lying chock-a-block, sometimes four deep, amongst those of hundreds of lesser folk.
And just what was up with that innocent-looking little girl-in-pink attacking the melting snowperson? I worked with many a troubled child in my long career in special education, but this one was surprising. As I was about to take the picture, she came out of nowhere, grabbed a stick, ran up to the unsuspecting iceman, and began stabbing it with great malice aforethought, shrieking in delight with every blow. I looked around for a cop, or a least a mother, saw none, decided not to get involved, and quietly, quickly, left the scene of the crime.
(As I write this, it's late morning and I'm lying in bed in a conference center in Southbridge, MA. Terry, in her role as Federal Education Association Director for DDESS, will be watch-dogging those tasked with reviewing educational programs for military kids. I came along to keep her company and to visit Boston. I'll be sleeping in, writing, reading, watching news pundits, and working with my publisher on the nuts and bolts of getting my next novel out. They are sending me the final manuscript for my one-more-time going over and also the cover art for final approval. Looks like January, at least, before we get the final product out. On Friday, we'll drive back to Boston and spend the weekend before flying back to VA.)