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, June 2, 2013

June 2nd, 2013, and the Writer is Getting Along Just Fine

All at sea: Sailing as a Metaphor for the Writing Life

We live, of course, with curve balls, sinkers, sliders, and high inside fast balls coming at us, unannounced. But that's just the baseball metaphor for life. As a writer, a husband, a father, grandfather, and a sibling, I prefer the life-as-a-voyage, cruising sailor metaphor. To wit, here I am, last month, all at sea, and happy about it, holding a freshly caught mahi in two hands and sitting behind an equally fresh bunch of bananas. (Yeah, I know; I used this photo in the previous post, but it is just too cool.)

The fish we had just caught off the stern rail, the bananas were a last-minute gift of a friend who was seeing us off on our voyage. Both were pleasant surprises, and both were consumed in good time and both made the 1,250-mile voyage from Guam to the Philippines all the more memorable.

You really can't beat ocean voyaging as a metaphor for serendipitous happenings that make life, at least momentarily, wonderful. Then comes all the other parts of the metaphor, if you extend it out, as we must: the squalls, the rain, the long, cold night watches, and the accompanying sudden jolts of fear, etc. etc.

Now, back on the East Coast and land-bound on this, a particularly fine late-spring morning (let me describe it, briefly--a quiet country setting, cloudless blue sky, green grass and leafy trees all around glowing in the soft morning sun, the air a marvelous 70 degrees, carries a small breeze and bird chirps, and then, my wife, sleepy-eyed and soft, comes into the kitchen in her wonderful pink-striped pajamas.....), I take the dog and the cat for a morning walk across the field to the wood line and back and then I feel like reading a short story and some poetry on the Prague Revue and posting something to this blog.

It's times like this--the calm-seas, mahi-banana times--that, if we're smart, we wallow in and, through the magic of mindfulness, extend for as long as possible.

(Brothers of the Fire Star, my novel about two boys, WWII, and the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators, has been selected as finalist in the 2012 Book of the Year awards. I will be in Chicago on June 28 for the announcement of the winners. You can also see more of my "creative non-fiction" on the Prague Revue:

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