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:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's Crazy Outside, But Angst in Here: Stream-of-Consciouness Blogging Whilst Watching a Woody Allen Movie

Blogging and Watching a Movie: Angst and Buttered Popcorn

I have a very good life, so I have nothing to complain about. Sometimes, I just have existential angst.

                                                                                                        Meg Ryan

It's much easier to write when you're sad. But you can end up isolated and depressed because you almost need to put yourself in that situation to have that angst to write from.

                                                                                              Natalie Imbruglia

I'm watching Woody Allen movies tonight and writing down whatever comes out. Woody Allen once said, when asked where he got his ideas, "I smash myself on the occipital lobe with a mallet and write down whatever comes out."

Love the guy. Just got through You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger after reading about his new one, Miracle in Paris, which I know I'm going to be wild about because it has Hemingway and Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald and the old 20's gang who were real enough to build a career on and lots of English professors did. Sure.

Now, God help me, I'm watching Manhattan and  Gershwin is loud with Rhapsody in Blue and, there she is, Mariel Hemingway, the writer's pretty grand daughter, the one who didn't commit suicide, and she is Woody's girl friend and she is seventeen and he's forty-two (in the movie and then he played it out in real life).

The thing about Woody Allen is, he has one shtick and shticks with it. And this is good. And he's crazy, of course. All his characters are  neurotic writers. Struggling neurotic writers who have maybe written one great book and now are batting their bleeding egos against the next one and it just won't come out, and all their friends, these struggling writers, are artists and shallow, quacking, self-absorbed intellectuals muddling through marriages and affairs.

Actually, all the quacking is all about angst. Angst, the hard stuff. Angst, straight, no water, no ice. Angst mainlined, direct into the heart. All of us, then, especially writers and anyone with a pulse, suffers from angst. It's the particular hell of life as it is lived, and would be soooo boring without, even if you have enough money and food and a good education and so know better than to have angst, and no one is hunting you down and trying to kill you.

Now tonight, tonight I sent the new novel out to my editor, a smart, Stanford-type woman who I've never met who lives in California. She edited my last two novels. She does a good line edit and makes comments, too and its the comment you live for, to tell the truth. Comments are the heart of it all. The truth lies in the comments.

This is Memorial Day Weekend--the Saturday of it, 2011. We spent the day working on the house, cleaning, blasting with the high pressure water blaster. Great for green mold on vinyl siding and brick walk ways. The weather was wonderful and my flowers, my morning glorys, are starting to vine up the trellis. Anticipating a summer of grandson and daughter and Chicago and the Chesapeake. Ice cream on the town common on an impossibly hot and humid August day. A thunder storm, maybe. A real rocker.

I'm drifting off. My stream of consiousness just went over a waterfall. Guess I'll go to bed.

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