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:

Friday, June 25, 2010

They Zapped My Heart and My Heart Was by My Side: A Writer's Nod to Mary Shelly

          Here we are, a while back, standing by our water-born home on Guam. A 30-Year Relationship So Far: The Exception Proves the Rule?

Yesterday I had a health crises, of sorts, and it was instructive. Seems my wobbly heart decided to go astray and I spent the afternoon and evening in the hospital where they had to resort to zapping it with 150 Joules to correct it's bad behavior. It was a bit like Dr. Frankenstein awakening his monster with a lightening bolt. I was told that when the volts zapped me, I sat up on the gurney, lifted up my arms, and said, "Ahhh."

I'm fine. Home safely and better than ever in fact. Through it all, of course, Terry was by my side and was a lot more scared by the whole deal than I was. It got me to thinking about modern man-woman partnerships and what makes long-time relationships work and how exceedingly precious and rare that type of connection is (Bride of Frankenstein anyone?).

So, I Googled some quotes concerning the subject. The funniest are disparaging, the best are profound. Both, alas, are true. I think the first and the last, Francis Bacon and Robert Frost, get it about right.To wit:

Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses.

To make a happy fire-side clime

To weans and wife,

That's the true pathos and sublime

Of human life.

ROBERT BURNS, To Dr. Blacklock

When a match has equal partners, then I fear not.

AESCHYLUS, Prometheus Bound

A man doesn't know what happiness is until he's married. By then it's too late.

FRANK SINATRA, The Joker Is Wild

Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.

JANE AUSTEN, Pride and Prejudice

Marriage, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

Those who talk most about the blessings of marriage and the constancy of its vows are the very people who declare that if the chain were broken and the prisoners left free to choose, the whole social fabric would fly asunder. You cannot have the argument both ways. If the prisoner is happy, why lock him in? If he is not, why pretend that he is?


I always compare marriage to communism. They're both institutions that don't conform to human nature, so you're going to end up with lying and hypocrisy.

BILL MAHER, Rolling Stone, Aug. 24, 2006

Hail wedded love, mysterious law, true source

Of human offspring, sole propriety,

In Paradise of all things common else.

JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost

Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.


Wasn't marriage, like life, unstimulating and unprofitable and somewhat empty when too well ordered and protected and guarded? Wasn't it finer, more splendid, more nourishing, when it was, like life itself, a mixture of the sordid and magnificent; of mud and stars; of earth and flowers; of love and hate and laughter and tears and ugliness and beauty and hurt?


Two such as you with such a master speed

Cannot be parted nor be swept away

From one another once you are agreed

That life is only life forevermore

Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

ROBERT FROST, The Master Speed

No comments:

Post a Comment