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, April 26, 2011

Slowly and Then, All at Once: A Pause in My Writing Life to Say Goodbye

Snow on the Spring Blossoms: A Pervasive Cold Sadness

Flowers are without hope.  Because hope is tomorrow and flowers have no tomorrow.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943,

Spring, the time of life and rebirth, comes slowly and then all at once. The winter lingers, pretends to slip away, sneaks back. The snow turns to rain, the rain to snow, the snow comes hard and then melts. You go to sleep with the wind hard and dark against the windows and wake up with the sun on your face. Leaves are there, of a sudden, and huge blossoms come from nowhere, and the smells of spring nearly overwhelm. A screen door slams, a lawn mower drones, the perfume of fresh cut grass drifts in from across street.

How come then the motorcycle can't stop in time? Can't swerve quickly enough? How come the man driving the SUV, who stops at the stop sign, then can't see the motorcycle and so pulls out far enough so the motorcycle can't miss it? And then, in the middle of the rush of spring life, after the endless winter, there is brain death, instant and final? Brother, where art thou? And where for, and therefor, gone forever?

That's all you can say about it, really. At this time. One must think for a while before one says anything else. It takes time to process sudden death, to decide , yes, you are a survivor through all this, that your life, at least, goes on, despite the odds against snow flakes, and flower petals, and insects struggling free from long-buried cocoons. And you can't believe this simple fact because when you get to be your age you are looking over your shoulder at the shadows that seem to be following you as stealthily and certainly as one season stalks the one before it.

So, you enjoy the smell of the new-mown grass and the new flowers in their glorious and flagrant fertility, their spread-eagle eagerness, and the rising sap, and the insect larvae crawling from the new-warmed earth and slipping from their crusts and taking wing. It's okay to do that, to enjoy it all because you waited so long for it and who waits with such longing for death? Who sits at the window for dreary months on end watching for the merest glimmer of doom?

Goodbye, Chris Voit, my wife's loved and admired brother. You were a hard man, a challenging son, tough, a contrarian, oppositional, defiant, a loving father, a faithful husband, hardworking, skilled and smart.

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