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, June 29, 2011

I'm in Oz. No, Really, I'm in Oz.

Chicago skyline from Chicago River: a truly magnificent "smelly onion"

“Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world.”

                                                                                Frank Lloyd Wright

“I give you Chicago. It is not London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from snout to tail.”
                                                                              Henry Louis Mencken

"...if people were paid for writing rot such as I read in some of those magazines, that I could write stories just as rotten. As a matter of fact, although I had never written a story, I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazines."
    Edgar Rice Burroughs, Chicago native, on deciding to become a writer

I used to worship at the alter of Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose Tarzan books got me swinging on backyard vines and wrestling with imaginary gorillas before I was eight years old. Edgar was born in Chicago and he would probably be considered the least of the famous writers produced by this city, writers that include Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury, and Saul Bellow.
So, her I am, too, a writer wallowing in one of the world's great cities, trying hard not to feel like a golly-whiz bumpkin just off the farm amidst this grand skyline. But, golly whiz, one does get a crick in the neck the first few days here from looking up--up, up, up, up, and all around. It does stagger the faculties, this Oz of glass and steel that seem to emerge directly from the blue water of ocean-lake Michigan.
So, I figured, this fascination with the improbable constructions of man (and a woman architect, too) will pass. Give it time. Take your rubber-neck pictures, wander the streets gawking, take the Chicago River architecture tour (the poor docent was going hoarse trying to tell us everything as the boat steamed along). After a day or two, you'll be like Saul Bellow want to go and die in Vermont.
It's now day three and I'm about to finish this blog entry and head out again. Maybe today as I cross Michigan Ave. to the Art Institute of Chicago for another few hours of enthusiastic shuffling and staring, shuffling and staring, I'll be able to stifle the thus-far irrepressible urge to look up. Tomorrow I'll be able be like travel writer Paul Theroux and be hard and cynical and grumpy and write about the actual writers who came from this town. Or maybe about the food, or the wonderful, conversation-stopping rattle and roar of the elevated railway, or the lovely young women dressed so fetchingly in their summer-in-the-city minimals.

No comments:

Post a Comment