Skip to content

New book for Alberta author who rolls through life with a unique view

One of Canadian author Cole Nowicki's books is on the Instagram page of iconic skateboarder Tony Hawk.

 Cole Nowicki, a Vancouver-based writer with Lac La Biche roots, recently released a book titled Laser Quit Smoking Massage, a compilation of essays about both the uniqueness and strangeness of growing up in Canada.  It’s the writer’s second published work in a year, following quickly on the heels of 2023’s Right, Down + Circle: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, a story about how a video game helped to re-shape the skateboarding industry. 

The latest published work is a collection of some of his writing that was done around 2016 to 2022. Nowicki is a free-thinking young author, whose words spiral through familiar events, taking unique detours, and bringing readers along for the entertaining ride. 

 In Laser Quit Smoking  Massage– a title he saw on a sign advertising a home business in the window of a house he was driving past in Saskatchewan -  he profiles profile ’The Dark Lord’ of Vancouver’s karaoke scene, before taking a whimsical and off-the-beaten-path look at the various ways small towns try to attract tourists, like the small Alberta town of Mundare building a 42’ tall fiberglass kielbasa statue. 

“The different ways and lengths we’ll go to as humans to find community and a sense of belonging is a thematic thread that winds through most of the pieces,” Nowicki told Lakeland This Week. “I’m attracted to the strange, sometimes silly, often profound earnestness those efforts take.”The new book, containing 136 pages of his abstract and entertaining insights, was released on April 1 and is available for purchase through Nowicki’s publisher, NeWest Press, as well as in bookshops around Canada.  

Growing up  

Nowicki was born in Lac La Biche and lived in the community until he was about 13. He stated that most of his family still lives there, and he tries to visit at least once a year, adding that he is fortunate to have a lot of support from family and friends – not just with writing, but with all aspects of his active life. 

It was in the driveway of his old family home in Lac La Biche’s Dumasfield neighbourhood where Nowicki first started skateboarding in 1998, an endeavour that he’s been at ever since. According to Nowicki, this sport offers a lot to a person, including a physical and creative outlet, access to an almost instant community wherever there are other skaters, along with the chance to view the world around them as something more.  

After his first book on the video game and the iconic world of Tony Hawk was published, Nowicki said it was a proud moment when Hawk shared a photo of the book on Instagram. 

“I’m not sure if he actually read it, but he’s at least taken a picture of it, which is good enough for me,” Nowicki stated.  

As far as following a specific process when he sets out to write a book, Nowicki explained that he usually has a rough outline of how he sees the book going and then just chips away at the project one piece at a time.   

“It eventually starts to take shape through the editing process,” he said.  

More to come 

Nowicki is now working on a collection of essays that explore the evolution of skateboarding’s culture and industry, explicitly through the lens of  social media and hyper-capitalism. 

When asked if he has plans to hit the road and do book signings, Nowicki hopes to travel around Canada in the coming months, though as of yet, nothing has been confirmed.  

In addition to writing books, Nowicki’s creative muse has also found its way onto the pages of such publications as The Walrus, Catapult, and Vice. While writing those for magazines, he has covered not only skateboarding, but also mixed martial arts, and what he describes as ‘other various cultural curiosities’.  

His repertoire also includes writing some personal essays which he says were about everything from grief to finding a bug in his ear.  

When asked if his unique writing style is the result of being a person who has a walking commentary in his head, Nowicki replied by saying; 

“As many of my loved ones can attest, my head is mostly empty. Just air whistling through from ear to ear.” 

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks