Ron Arias

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.

My Life as a Pencil 

"Pencils to the left, shooters to the right."

In this collections of short essays Ron Arias relates the ups and downs, ins and outs, and memorable people he met in his years as a magazine journalist.  While traveling with a notebook and pen, a photographer,  and not much else, Arias managed to capture the people as well as the places with honesty and understanding. Following the advice of his mentor Toby, Arias tells it personal, and makes it real.  

What others are saying...

The first review of My Life as a Pencil 
Posted by John Coyne on Saturday, March 14, 2015     
My Life as a Pencil
By Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64)
Red Bird Chapbooks, $12
47 pages

I once asked Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) what he did at People Magazine and he said, and I quote, “I cover the Third World.” I laughed, thinking he was being sarcastic, and he was, but Ron was also being serious. Thanks to his fluency in Spanish, his experience in the Peace Corps, his traveling and working in Latin America, plus his ability, his need perhaps, to go everywhere and do anything to get a story, made him a minor celebrity in the complex and competitive conglomerate of Time/Life.

A few of Ron’s brushes with danger around the world are implied and hinted at in this collection of funny, insightful, touching and true stories entitled My Life as a Pencil, a chapbook recently published by Red Bird Chapbooks.

The book title comes from orders given by a Marine officer in Saudi Arabia in 1991 to Ron and a group of other journalists and photographers when he shouted out, “Pencils to the left, shooters to the right.”

Click on the link to read the complete review.


Southbay Magazine feature written by Kelly Dawson, Summer 2015
Hermosa Beach’s Ron Arias turns to ceramics after a career in storytelling.

Click here to read more.