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:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Blogging in for the New Year: Politics, Dolphins, Studying Spanish, Preparing a Lecture

Ah, Small Town Innocence--Or is It?

I'm into 2012 up to my eyeballs already. No break, it seems.

What with the ongoing GOP Primary/Debate circus to regale my political sense of the ridiculous, baby sitting dolphins in the Florida Keys, wrapping my brain tightly around my new Rosetta Stone Spanish course (loving it--I know a woman who doesn't think I should study Spanish because she doesn't like Mexicans--yeah, a Tea Partier), and preparing a lecture on traditional navigation by the indigenous peoples of the western Pacific, I'm lacking down time. I'm also playing guitar until my fingers are screaming at me and keeping up my end of the deal as regards being a good husband, father, and grandfather.

No writing. That's right. Nothing. Nothing on paper; its all happening in my head at this point. That is, a novel forming from the swirling nebula that is my brain. Its fun, actually, this anticipation of writing. Literary foreplay?

So first, the GOP. I'm no pundit--though that might have been a fun career choice--but the desperation on the Right is evidenced by the gleeful comedians on the left. John Stewart, Steven Colbert---damn, are they funny. The funnier they are, the more you can bet the narrow-thinking, intolerant ones (the ones against using condoms, for crying out loud) are struggling with their message. Does this Santorum guy REALLY think American should and can be forced to stop using condoms? And he's for SMALL government?

I've been at the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key, in Florida, for the past week. My job? Caretaker. Read: Be here at night in case of emergencies, like cranky animal right activists breaking in and trying to release the dolphins into the ocean. Sounds reasonable until you learn that these animals were mostly born and raised here, have never been out in the wild, and would quickly die of starvation. People are crazy on the Left, too, I guess. Here's a picture of the place: one version of paradise?

The Rosetta Stone Spanish course is fun, fun, fun. I think I'm learning Spanish, too. Of course, not having a day job leaves me plenty of time to dig into it. It's like a game with plenty of pictures and good computerized voice-recognition stuff that checks your pronunciation and gently scolds you should you screw up. The designers have a good grip on how we learn. After a month, I'm already getting a pretty good accent. I sound a little like Cochita Banana.

And as for the lecture, I've put together a Power Point presentation and have been studying hard for a few months now. It's about how the native people of Pacific used to--and in some cases still do--navigate across hundreds of miles of open sea without instruments. No compasses, sextants, GPS's, whatever. Fascinating stuff. Followers of this blog know that I've studied traditional navigation under a master navigator and just finished writing a novel concerning this dying art.

At sea in a canoe: It's a big ocean. You can't afford to make mistakes.

At sea in the Pacific in my boat about ten years ago. That's Manny, the master navigator, on the right and me on the left.

The outlook for the year? I'm off to a good start. My behavior is already disgustingly close to perfection. Have stopped drinking, mostly; don't smoke--anything--well, maybe a cigar once a year with a good friend; and usually keep myself relatively fit by walking and doing upper body workouts. I'm generally nice to people, or at least try hard to be sweet and friendly, though sometimes, in an attempt to be funny, I make comments I later regret. I do have some hangups, mostly modest ones, one or two immodest, but I'll keep them to myself. If I weren't a free thinking secular humanist, I'd put myself up for sainthood. Wonder what I'd look like with a halo? Would it interfere with my using Rograine?

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