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:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winning the End Game: Having the Courage to Live Well Until the Last Breath

HL Tauri--The Birth of a New Solar System: I think of all the potential lives swirling about in that primordial, cosmic soup.

This photograph has got the cosmologists all excited. It was taken by a state-of-the-art telescope high in the mountains of Chili and it shows something that has never been seen before-- the actual initial stages of the formation of a new solar system. In the middle is where the new sun will be and the dark bands are where the planets are forming. And its all congealing from a vast cloud of interstellar dust.

Where am I going with this? Well, it may be a bit of a stretch, but it all makes me think of birth and life and death and the endless cycles of things in our Universe and that while death is as natural as birth, it's ever so much more terrifying; dying is no cause for joy and balloons and handing out cigars.

And now that I'm just a couple of weeks away from turning 68, it seems that death is happening all around me. It always has been, of course, but now that I'm retired and hanging out at home with not much to think about except writing, it is what I'm thinking about.

Most of my friends are about my age, of course, and seem to be dying at an alarming rate. And those that are still alive all have plenty of death-and-dying stories to share and I'm no exception: My 64-year-old cousin just passed unexpectedly, my mother has been dead for three years and my father-in-law, too, and one of my brothers-in-law was killed in a motorcycle accident, and my mother-in-law is terminally ill and my 95-year-old father has lost his mind to dementia and seems to be existing in a perpetual nightmare. The two guys across the street, who were my age, died last year and so did two high school friends. Oh, I could go on and on. And now that all this is happening, I realize that I have reached the phase in life where I'm supposed to begin deal with the End Game. Until recently death had been kept at a distance by relative youth and a busy schedule. Now when I look over my shoulder, I see all those pesky shadows.

The purpose of this blog is to keep a log of my life to hand down to you, my descendants who may have an interest in my share of where they came from and may be reading this. And if we are to be completely authentic about it all, it now means I should keep a log of the last years of my life. Thus far I'm healthy enough and have the genetics to go on living for another 25 years or more. All I need is luck. Still, we need to be prepared.

 So I shall begin herein to cite snippets of wisdom regarding our universal struggle to come to terms with the universal fate. I'll start with Mark Twain who is supposed to have said, "I'm not afraid of dying. I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it did not inconvenience me one bit."

It's like all the lives that may be formed from that nascent solar system pictured above: they are not the least bit perturbed at still being dead.

So I suppose there is humor in death. In fact, I'm counting on it. Watch this space.