Adventures in Solitude is Grant’s memoir of his time spent at his family cabin in Desolation Sound on the wild west coast of BC. The first half of the book chronicles Grant’s childhood when he wanted to be anywhere but Desolation Sound. The second half chronicles his rediscovery of the Sound as an adult, falling in love with the adventure, mystery, and characters found at this unique end of the road Canadian location.
“Our dorky family stood together at the top of the gangplank, looking down at the hive of activity on the dock. Boats of all shapes and sizes were lashed onto the floating “T”: dirty wooden tugs, aluminum oyster barges that resembled giant bathtubs, customized sailboats and half-sunken dinghies. The foot traffic was a mixture of loggers, oyster farmers, fishermen and end-of-the-road hippies that looked like a cross between the cast of The Beachcombers and the Manson Family. There was also a light sprinkling of summer tourists – everyone awkwardly united by an early summer’s worth of weathered relaxation”.
And so begins a chapter in Grant Lawrence’s first book Adventures In Solitude. A memoir of his time spent at his family cabin in Desolation Sound on the wild west coast of BC, CBC Radio 3 host Grant Lawrence chronicles the sea change he undergoes from his childhood, when he wanted to be anywhere but Desolation Sound, to his rediscovery of the Sound as an adult after a long career as lead singer of The Smugglers. Surprisingly, it was in Desolation Sound where Grant’s love of music was born. “I received my first real rock ‘n’ roll tutorial from a bearded hermit in Desolation Sound named Russell, who was at one time a Bay Street stockbroker until something snapped and he ended up squatting in a tent in a tiny cove near our cabin here on the West Coast” says Lawrence. “I formed a band shortly after all of the music he introduced me too. Ironically it was because of the band that I didn’t return to Desolation Sound for well over a decade”.
Ultimately falling in love with the adventure, mystery, and dangers of this rugged place, Grant has written a funny and bittersweet narrative about this weird and dangerous end of the road Canadian location. “Desolation Sound is about as polar opposite as you can get from the places where I usually work: office buildings, big cities, downtown centres, and music festivals filled with thousands of people” explains Lawrence. “In the Sound, I can go for days on end without speaking to another human being, without seeing another human being. When I was a kid that freaked me out, when I was a teenager it repulsed me, and now as an adult I truly savour it – I just have to be wary of being attacked by a cougar, or an octopus, depending on where I am”.
The title is from one of Grant’s favourite songs by Vancouver band The New Pornographers.