Chris Starr on "Same Oak"

Chris Starr, author of Issue #1's story, "Same Oak", sent this along. I thought it'd make a perfect "behind the scenes" post. We'll try to do more of these as we can. Enjoy.

- Quinn


  Chris Starr

Chris Starr

I went through one of my notebooks the other day and came across this: the first page of notes on what would become the story "Same Oak". I'd been working on a collection of stories (still am) based on my time in the Basque Country and the people I've met there. Prior to "Same Oak", the stories all focused in very closely on the one or two characters at their centers, without reaching too far out into the wider world. 

With "Same Oak", I still wanted to tell a very personal story about the restaurant owner Joseba, about his roles as father and as son. But I also wanted to frame this story in the greater world, specifically that aspect of the Basque Country which has regrettably become its best known: the terrorist and extortionist activities of the radical pro-independence group ETA. So it is that Joseba is a reluctant contributor of the "revolutionary tax": protection money that ETA charged businesses in the Basque Country — including her internationally recognized restaurants — to ensure that those businesses would remain standing.

With "Same Oak", I wanted to explore how the social and political are inextricably tied to the private and the personal, and ultimately how — large or small — violence can only lead to a more violent world.