It was just a coffee.
My friend, Chris Armstrong, invited me out for a coffee one day. I thought it was just to catch up and, as he had mentioned his company-in-hiatus, Muskeg Press, his old local news and commentary website, Muskeg News, which I had written freelance columns for.
We met a local coffee shop, Javadotcup, one of my favorite haunts and home to the best blueberry muffins anywhere. After some small talk and catching up, he leaned back and said, “Sooo … that book.”
I looked at him questioningly, although I had a pretty good idea which book he was talking about. I had mentioned to him some time ago that I was writing a novel. The truth was I was writing two of them.
The book that I had written many chunks of was the one about growing up in a family whose father was a big Chief who is loved and highly respected by the tribe members and community at large but is not a good father – not at all. The second book was a vague concept that involved presenting the history of Prince Rupert’s All Native Basketball Tournament, one of the biggest in North America, in a fictional narrative.
Chris was talking about the second one, which I had only written one chapter of. I had virtually no story. But I had an idea now of what the meeting was about and so I, uh, lied a little.
“I got chunks of it written,” I said, which was kind of true if you stretched it because I had quite a few chunks of the Chief story done and figured I might be able to turn most of them into parts of the All Native story. I wasn’t able to, though; it was too different of a story.
He told me how he was going to start publishing books again and, from there, we talked timeline; first draft, final draft, going to print, launch – he thought Christmas but I said that a story that features the All Native should be released just before the tourney, in February.
And so, it began. Where to go from here? Kind of need a story!