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:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Writer as Reader: Munch on Great Short Stories for Optimal Literary Health

Logging on today, I saw headlines that touted certain foods as daily "must eats" for optimal health and longevity. Things like leafy greens and nuts apparently keep the bad stuff at bay so maybe you can live to be 100. Who knows, maybe 110 though why you'd want to is beyond me. And before I logged on, as I ate my breakfast (bacon, an egg, high-fiber french toast, real New England maple syrup), I read a wonderfully written short story and it made me feel much healthier and energetic as a writer. I'm ready to get at my craft with great enthusiasm.

I couldn't fail to miss the connection. If I eat well, I'll feel better. If I read well, I'll writer better. I found the literary vitamins in "Child Care," a short story by Lorrie Moore in the July 09 issue of The New Yorker. Ms. Moore has a wonderful subtle sophistication and a dandy way with turning a phrase. Little gems jump out at you and I love that. Here she is describing the protagonist in the story, a college-aged woman: "I had always felt hidden as a hull in a berry, as secret and as fetal as the curled fortune in a cookie."

The story is full of those fine little observations delivered via similies, metaphors--all the stuff that can make for good writing. It made me feel happy to be a writer and it made me want to get the day's scribbling started. It picked up my pulse and made me look out the window over my breakfast and over the cat sleeping in the other chair and out over the back yard to where the snow is suddenly gone. It made me sigh. And it caused a few very clear short story ideas to germinate in my sometimes fuzzy little brain so I added them to the list of other ideas, a list I keep close at hand.

So now I'm going to sign off of this blog and get to work. I admit to being bogged down in the middle of the novel I'm working on. The re-write is being difficult. But now, armed with a galloping, literary-stimulated heart rate, I'm ready to slap some sense into the manuscript. More later.

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