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, January 7, 2010

Thinking Out Loud, Yet Again: A Little Sloppy Philosophy

On Guam last October: With my friend, master navigator
Manny Sikau. Manny is from the island of Puluwat.

The professional writer who spends his time becoming other people and places, real or imaginary, finds he has written his life away and has become almost nothing. V. S. Pritchett

Poor Sir Victor Sawdon Pritchett, who lived to be nearly 97 and ended up "almost nothing." Except he was, apparently, knighted for his literary efforts and is considered one of the last century's bests British writers.

Prichett be damned, I spend a great deal of my time daydreaming about other places and people, real and imaginary, and I find it only adds to who I am, to my concept of "self." Who am I? I am a writer, so I am a traveler, an adventurer, a skeptic and a free-thinker, a romantic, a person with a certain curiosity about things, a small-time risk taker, a passionate reader, a too-loud talker, reciter of questionable limericks, and often enough, a space cadet who forgets what day it is and where his shoes are. I'm also, often enough, lazy.

But, I know who I am. I know I am a separate consciousness in a great sea of consciousness, that I am made of the same stuff the stars of made of--and the planets, and the Earth, and the black holes, and the quasars--and so, without any effort at all, I understand the paradox that I am also like everyone and everything else. Whether we like it or not, or are at all aware of it, we are at one with the universe. Is this Freshman-level, dreamy, philisophical drivel? Yep, for sure, but for me, at 63, important stuff, and I need to remind myself of it every so often. If we can, in the end, comprehend that we are the universe and it is us, then we are way ahead of the game in overcoming the instinctive human fear of death and the unknown. It makes getting old a lot more comfortable.

Here I am with my friend Manny. I have voyaged on the open ocean in my own small sailboat with Manny, and he has voyaged for years across miles of open sea on that canoe you see behind us. He navigates using only the stars and the sea, and if you want to feel instinctive fear and loneliness, go out to sea--way out--on a clear night and stand watch under a cold and distant starry universe while everyone else sleeps. Then you will get an idea of what and who you are and where your place is in all this and if you can come to terms with your fear on such night as that, you've made progress.

So, I disagree with Sir Prichett. When we seek to understand all things, we become, in many ways, all things, and that is what writing is all about. I propose that is what life should be all about--becoming all things.

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