Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) New Book: My Life as a Pencil


A former English teacher and newspaper and magazine journalist, most recently for 22 years at People Ron Arias has published the following books: The Road To Tamazunchale, a novel nominated for a National Book Award; Five Against the Sea, a true survival saga; Healing from the Heart, with Dr. Mehmet Oz; Moving Target: A Memoir of Pursuit, and White’s Rules:Saving Our Youth, One Kid At A Time, with Paul D. White. An amateur potter, he lives with his wife Joan in Hermosa Beach, CA, while their filmmaker son Michael resides in Japan, which increasingly has become a second home for them.

This book is about Ron as a reporter, or as he writes, a ‘pencil’. It is a collection of outtakes and back-stories from decades of reporting in global hot spots, most recently for 22 years at People magazine. Arranged chronologically, starting in 1959 with a wine-drinking encounter with Ernest Hemingway in Spain, the stories are the author’s attempt to shed the straitjacket of slick, mainstream journalism and present deeper, more personal moments with famous and common people alike. Whether it’s an oddly dour Hunter Thompson on the prowl for jazz in Buenos Aires or the heroism of pain in Somalia, El Salvador or the Australian Outback, each story presents a lesson or epiphany about life lived at the edge.

It is a Red Bird Chapbooks. Website:

It is not on Amazon.

 Ron Arias in Mexico City, 1985. Photo by Ben Martin
Ron Arias in Mexico City, 1985. Photo by Ben Martin


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  • To my brother Ronnie…I am always proud of you! You tell it as you see it, and how you respond to the beauty of life even during sad moments. Love you Hermano!

  • i AIM to get and read your book. I consider myself a pencil musician poet. I think you know Mike and Cookie McGaha in Claremont. Plus I think we met 1979 when working at UC SAN FRANCISCO MED CENTER.
    (THOUGH that’s a bit iffy now in 2015.)
    Ed Mycue

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