The stories in his recently released book aren’t about outdoor bathroom facilities. However, the astute writer cleverly titled his book of short stories “Grandpa Pike’s Outhouse Reader.”
The title and the cover image of a few moose hanging around an old-fashioned outhouse will attract readers to the book even before they turn the first page.
“Outhouse Reader” is an enjoyable book and an easy read. The stories are about everyday events that have unfolded in the author’s life. From religion to rural living, sports to sales, travel to tragedy – the emotions the author is feeling at the time he’s writing the stories come through on every page.
Whether the story is a couple of hundred words or a few pages, it will leave the reader glad that the bought the book – not only for themselves but to pass on to others.
About the author
Blackwood Pike was born in Stanhope and still has cousins and other relatives living in the Lewisporte area.
“Having grown up on the mainland, though, in the 1940's-1950's, we never got to meet each other,” he said of his relatives.
Blackwood Pike grew up in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He has been employed in the hardware/building support industry for about four decades and now lives in his wife’s (Kathleen Pike) hometown of Placentia.
When asked what inspired him to write the book, he said although most of the stories are true, some are modified to protect the innocent and the guilty.
“Some I have exaggerated for 'comedic effect'. Only about a half dozen are 'fictional,’” he said when answering questions via e-mail.
It’s hard to pinpoint a favourite story in the book, he said, as that would be like asking a parent to name a favourite child.
“If I had to choose,” he said, “it would be one of the stories in Chapter 5 about my daughter, Laurie Shannon.”
Blackwood Pike wrote the story a few minutes after his daughter left his home in Nova Scotia to return to her home in New Brunswick.
The story is one of the shortest – and strongest – in the book.
“I was then living in Yarmouth, waiting for the house to sell, before moving back to NL, a couple of years ago. I meant to dedicate this book to 'my Onliest baby girl', but I took very sick during the editing process and forgot to do so.”
Blackwood Pike is still recovering from his illness. He thanked his publisher Flanker Press for its patience during his sickness.
“(My illness) couldn't have come at a worse time but they have been super in carrying the ball for me. I couldn't ask for better support from a publisher,” Blackwood Pike said.
Commitment to community
Blackwood Pike has used his nickname “Grandpa Pike” for charity work.
In 2007, he partnered with the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, Newfoundland & Labrador Chapter, to release a music CD.
“The Will to Live” contains country, Irish, folk, and gospel tunes.
In 2009, he again partnered with the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada to produce a gospel Christmas CD.
Blackwood Pike said he hopes those who read his book will enjoy not just the humorous stories, but the more emotional/inspirational ones as well.
“I have tried to get a message across in each one, without sounding too 'preachy.’”
He is also hoping that the book sells well enough for him to publish Volume 2 of “Outhouse Reader.”
Blackwood Pike has also completed a biography of “a well known NL politician.” The manuscript is with a publisher for consideration.
Excerpt from Grandpa Pike’s Outhouse Reader
I live alone in a house big enough to accommodate a small village in many parts of the world. My onliest child just sped down the driveway and is gone.
Laurie Shannon will be back at her own home in New Brunswick tonight, six hours away by road. She smiled and waved goodbye. I waved back. Through my sunglasses, she could not have seen the tears welling in my eyes.
I watched until she was out of sight, but I didn’t see the adult woman who had taken a couple days from her busy schedule to come way down here to stay with me. I saw the little girl.
The little girl going down the driveway for the first time on her tiny pink bicycle.
The little girl, with her new lunch pail, leaving on that big yellow bus, first day of school. The little girl with eyes the size of saucers, Christmas morning, when she saw the hoofprints left by Donner and Prancer and Rudolph and Wolf Blitzer on our frozen deck.
The little girl that I didn’t see enough growing up because my job kept me travelling.
This time the little girl is a woman and is driving alone into a dark and rainy night. She will text me when she gets home. I will stay up as late as I can, just in case.
The child is becoming the parent. She thinks I should eat better and stop smoking.
I s’pose she knows, as do I, that the road ahead for me is much shorter than that which I have travelled. I know she wants me to last as long as possible.
I’ll go to the store now, the once, when my eyes clear, and pick up “the patch” and some bran flakes. I will try to do better tomorrow.