Dale Small tells me he never planned to write a book.
“I had stories rolling around in my head, but I had no inclination to write them down,” says the Cornwall, P.E.I., resident, sipping a coffee in a Charlottetown coffee shop.
But after he started sharing them with others, his attitude changed.
“I’m a curious person and I’ve been very, very fortunate here on P.E.I. to have explored every nook and cranny, from one end of the Island to the other,” says Small, who has written “Bad Bad Boys: Small Tales of Big Adventures”.
Small’s storytelling career started one night when he was telling a tale about his fishing buddy, the late David Baglole, to David’s brother.
“Harry Baglole loved it. So, when I got home I thought I should write a little story to entertain Harry.”
Sitting at his computer, he punched out a tale about one of their fishing trips and emailed it to him.
“Harry gets back to me and tells me he loves it and asks if I have any more.”
Baglole’s simple request opened a floodgate of memories for Small. And soon the stories of his life began to pour onto the page.
That was four years ago.
Since then he has combed his memory, recovering even the smallest bits and woven them into the fabric of “Bad Bad Boys: Small Tales of Big Adventures”.
Whether it’s the story of Eddie the Flash and the adventures he had using his car (and the trunk) to smuggle people into the Starlight Drive-In or the fishing trip where he and David had to take shelter during a snow storm with a man called Black Angus or the story about coyotes, there’s plenty of colour and humour in the book.
He’s also become a regular contributor to “Red” magazine.
Publisher David Weale has this to say in the foreword of the book: “Page after page we are introduced to colourful, crafty and sometimes cantankerous individuals who crossed paths with their author either in his work as a federal fisheries officer or his avid pursuit of fish and game.”
Small credits his career with Fisheries and Oceans Canada for giving him the opportunity to meet people in remote areas. In turn, many of these Islanders have made the leap onto the page.
“These people were rough around the edges and they stuck in my mind. And these stories have been rolling around in my head for years.”
Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at sally.cole@TheGuardian.pe.ca or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.