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, July 16, 2011

The Summer Writing Blues: Losing the Battle with Glorious Distractions

Ignore an empty beach at your peril: Go forth, writer, and reflect on the sand twixt your toes.

Yeah, I know, all you serious writers are still at it, even though a hot and glorious summer beckons from beyond the nearest window. Maybe you sigh, grimace, close your eyes for a moment, you try to close your ears to the sounds filtering in through the invisible cracks in your airtight bastion of creativity: the siren call of birds chirping, the summery drone of a lawn mower, the shrieks of the kids next door splashing in their pool. Oh yes, and that most famous of summer sounds, the slamming of a screen door.

I say, give it up. I decided to make the summer, with all the irresistible distractions of summer guests, boating, beaching, traveling, a time of renewal. If you are in a rust belt climate, the dregs of winter will come oozing back all too soon carrying the lovely dark and dreary motivations toward self expression. I'm going to rationalize these hot months into an excuse to do no more writing than scribbling an occasional blog or jotting down any stray profound insights into a small pocket notebook. Then, come November with its gray rain and leafless and heartless trees scratching against the windows of my writing room, I'll retrieve them and weave them into something satisfying.

Besides, I wrote for the past seven months and now my editor is busy scanning my winter manuscript for missteps and passive voices, wooden prose, and cardboard characters. As for me, I'll spend some long days in guilt-free beach walking or some rail-down sailing on the Chesapeake, or hot dog-eating family gatherings. It's time to catch up on myself, to see what I've become, what's left of me now, after so long hovering in the cold. 

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