Saturday, December 13, 2008


It was the Canadian Author's Association 2008 Annual West Coast General Meeting. A noteworthy collection of writers had gathered together in this Georgia Street Vancouver Whitespot on the way to Lion's Gate Bridge near Stanley Park.

The trouble was that they were all in disquise. Obviously paranoid about being recognised they had got out of their pyjamas and house coats. They'd washed their hair. Some had shaved. Others had slept for the first time in weeks. By all external appearances they looked largely normal. A little bright eyed, a bit too eloquent, laughing excessively, they were trying not to let some cat out of some bag. Otherwise they were normal.

No one would have guessed that they wrote steamy romance, dirty sex scenes, devious intrigue and gruesome cadaver strewn mysteries. Properly dressed in brown tweeds and white sweaters, talking of their work, they ate fettucine or fish and chips with knives and forks. An historian even showed around pictures of her latest grandchild.

The technical writer spoke quietly to the person next to him about artic terrorism. A dozen conversations about a myriad of highly suspicious subjects obviously embedded with arcane code were happening all around me. A former minister claimed to write urban fantasy. Two fellows in golf sweaters talked about the various methods of war time killing. It was all highly irregular.

Pirates, lovers, sexpots, spys, adventurers, irreligious , rebellious, and sometimes even inspirational, they were a dubious lot indeed. Story tellers. Writers, scribblers, jotters and word processors. They'd been at it along time. Some of the young had even gone white haired with their craft. Outrageously original, they claimed to use their imagination. At the same time some were delving into obscure sources for lost secrets claiming it was research for their latest work. Subversives, all of them. Vainly autobiographical and gossippy biographers. You couldn't tell which was which.

I confess I tried to put a face to a particularly incisive bit of political satire or wonder if that rather fetching woman had written that downright mischievous bit of romance.

Yet on the outside, overall, you couldn't tell them from the Kiwanis or Rotarians for instance. Maybe one or two clutched their wine glasses a bit possessively. The coffee drinkers showed nail and cuticle damage. Someone spoke a touch hurriedly. Perhaps the waitress hovered a bit more until the bills were individually paid. But otherwise they could easily have passed as normal humans.

At least until the book draw took place. As each person's name was called the individual proceeded to a table full of published works. That's when the madness or transcendence occured. Each of these otherwise innocuous looking beings took on an otherworldly sheen and glowed uncannily as they touched the treasure of their fellow authors. It was some kind of reverent communion. As each took a book in their hands it was as if they were suddenly complete. A faraway look appeared in their eyes. The meeting ended abruptly thereafter. They all almost scurried out of the restaurant

I followed of course. I had a book too and felt inspired just holding it. A warm and cozy feeling. Electrifying even.

Perhaps I wouldn't report this to the authorities, I thought. I didn't quite know where it was leading. It was clear that I was returning. These people warranted serious study. Maybe not research, yet. But someone had to keep an eye on them. Left to their own devices they were producing books. And alot could be said with a book. I'd already been right to suspect them of having words. I'd be back. No doubt of that!


Randy said...

I think there is a story to be told of this CAA group.

It seem's to me that, they could conspiring to effect the way we think on many levels.

Your hanging out with a dangerous crowd, be careful.

Ben Nuttall-Smith said...

We are a dangerous crowd but exciting company.
Happy to know you as a fellow scribbler. Delighted to welcome you as a member of our band of plotters.
Ben. CAA Recording Secretary.