Everybody’s life is a story waiting to be told. Chemainus resident Colin Eckstrand has done just that in his recently-released memoirs, My Magical Experiences As A Small-Town Boy.
Eckstrand, 61, hopes the experiences of his life will resonate with others and provide inspiration.
“The essential messages are really positive and helpful,” said Eckstrand, who has lived in Chemainus since 2018.
“I think it could be a good dose of positivity and useful guidance. The inherent message in the book is timeless and maybe suitable for all audiences.”
The book encompasses 196 pages, 22 chapters and contains 30 pictures. It came out at the end of August through Amazon, Kindle (eBook) and in soft cover.
Two-thirds of the book’s settings are in Powell River where Eckstrand was born and raised. The rest is set mainly in the south Vancouver Island cities and towns where he has lived.
“I knew at the age of 20 I had the basis for what I thought would be a good book,” Eckstrand said. “I realized there was a body of work that would help others with self-improvement. It’s better in my view I did wait to make it a memoir and an autobiography.”
It just took another four decades of living from 20 until now to fill out the book with more well-rounded content from different age stages. He started a journal in the 1990s with a file of newspaper clippings and memorabilia he had kept and then just added to it as time went along.
Ironically, there are two interesting stories in the book pertaining to Chemainus.
The first was at 15 years of age when Eckstrand participated in a track and field school meet for Brooks High School of Powell River against Chemainus Secondary athletes.
“I cleaned up with four first-place finishes and the (Chemainus) coach was asking me what we put in the water,” he recalled.
Numerous sports formed a basis during Eckstrand’s early years that included hockey and two seasons spent in the B.C. Hockey League with the Chilliwack Colts in 1978-79 and 1979-80.
The other reference to Chemainus is the entire last chapter about moving to the community.
Eckstrand describes how he discovered a painting his Aunt Corinne had given him some 30 years ago. “By looking at the painting one got the distinct impression that the painter was almost sitting on our back patio painting it,” he wrote in the book.
“It fits in well with the overall themes of inspiration and grace that fill my book,” he indicated.
Eckstrand was married at age 20 and moved to Victoria. He worked in a variety of fields over the years, including a floral delivery service, financial services, a residential care aide and is now a home share provider.
Eckstrand has two adult daughters and two grandchildren and has been married to his present wife Marilou for eight years.
Besides sports, faith has also played a significant part in Eckstrand’s life. There are a few chapters in the book about his spiritual interests and journey through life, primarily as a member of the Baha’i faith.
Eckstrand recounts how he utilized those attributes in striving to be the best person he could and make the most positive contribution to society as possible. “My memoir book has now formed an important part of my life’s journey,” he confided.
Through the process of putting his book together, Eckstrand is especially grateful to Tara Solomon of Nanaimo for her editing work.
“She deserves a lot of billing,” he said. “She did a wonderful job.”
Nine stores carry the book, including all four 49th Parallel Grocery stores, as well as Books, Hobbies & More in Chemainus, and in Duncan at Ten Old Books and Apple Press.
Eckstrand had book signings in Powell River on Oct. 28 within the Tla’amin Nation and on Oct. 29 at Taws Cycle and Sports.
“A request was recently sent to the Cowichan Valley School District asking if it could be reviewed for inclusion into their libraries and considered for English reading assignments and also the creative arts department,” he added.
The Vancouver Island Regional Library and the Powell River Public Library are also reviewing it for entry into their catalogues.
“I am focusing more now on contacting elementary and high schools, also public libraries,” Eckstrand indicated. “I am promoting myself as a B.C. author hoping my book can be included in many libraries in the province under that banner.”
Eckstrand had a two-hour youtube interview with Dave Scott about the book last Friday, Dec. 9 on Spaced Out Radio, “which has a potential audience of 177,000,” he pointed out.
The interview is available to watch on the Spaced Out Radio archive section.
With 175 books sold in just under five months, “I’m very, very pleased with that,” Eckstrand said.
Inspiration and grace flow through all parts of the book, describing many triumphs, but also great disappointment and difficult challenges. You also have to know how to handle adversity and Ecktrand felt it was important to touch upon that since nothing ever goes perfectly and according to plan.
He reinforced the message of how inspiration is timeless.
“Never underestimate the benefit to another by offering praise and encouragement, particularly to those younger than yourself.
“What’s my next goal in life? To keep life interesting.”