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:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Clean and Well Lighted, The Writer And His Winter

"I am one of those who like to stay late at the cafe," the older waiter said. "With all those who do not want to go to bed. With all those who need a light for the night."
                                         - "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," Ernest Hemingway

Ah, Hemingway. He gets it just right for a winter's struggle against the bitter, terrifying fading of the light. And here I am in this somewhat blurry picture, sitting out a winter evening with a glass of wine in my home space, a clean, well-lighted place where a man can feel easy about things that are cold and frozen and dark.

Yet, another way to get through the profound depths of winter, wherein we now find ourselves, is to dedicate oneself to work, to production, to focused effort. And I am. My work days recently look something like this:

Up at dawn (this is not difficult as dawn comes blessedly late this time of year).

Coffee (decaf--too bad; how I used to love a caffeine buzz), some kind of quick breakfast while I read an article from one of my magazines: The New Yorker, Skeptic, Scientific American, Newsweek or whatever grabs my eye at the bookstore.

A quick scan of the world and national news (murder most foul most days, and deceit and buggery and tomfoolery galore, too.).

Into my cave where books and the Internet await. This morning I had business emails from my website designer who is busy getting something spiffy ready for me by way of completely revamping my site ( and turning me on to some schemes for selling books which I'll investigate.

 I also had an email from my publisher who is getting Book III of the Eye of the Stallion fantasy series ready for publication as well as a new edition of Book I with a new cover and some editorial changes. We are also going to enter Book II in an alleged "Book-of-the-Year" contest that costs 75  bucks--Both of these deals are put together by nice, thoughtful folks who make money giving you advice on how to make money.

This afternoon, I'm going to read for a couple of hours (David Foster Wallace: Infinite Jest), and then out into the cold for a four-mile walk. (I crave exercise, always have. Yesterday was YMCA workout day.) After that, a glass of something strong, another news summary, dinner with wife and wine, an hour making love to my guitar, and then up to bed to read myself to sleep.

Note: Hemingway had his demons, as do we all, and his short story quoted above is one of his best. An old man comes into a cafe and just hangs out until all hours while the waiters talk about him behind his back. Seems he's seen too much of war and life and death and is afraid of the darkness of his own thoughts. As we all know, though, you gotta face them eventually. Preferably, and if you're very lucky, you can face them with a glass of wine and someone you love nearby.

The image below I took a the Green Parrot Bar in Key West. The Green Parrot is not necessarily a clean or well-lighted place, but one can certainly get well lit there.

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