Strange and beautiful
Are the stars tonight
That dance around your head
In your eyes I see that perfect world
I hope that doesn't sound too weird
And I want all the world to know
That your love's all I need
All that I need
And if we're lost
Then we are lost together
Yeah if we're lost
We are lost together
Tales From the Bottom of My Sole (2020) is a sequel to A Boy at the Edge of the World (2018), an episodic novel about a young Canadian man’s exploration of sex, intimacy and love. I introduce the protagonist Daniel Garneau when he’s eighteen, and we follow his misadventures in dating and relationships over the next seven years.
My writing is inspired in part by my own life experiences moving to Toronto, and my work as an LGBTQ+ counsellor. For years, I’ve had the privilege of hearing hundreds of stories by young queer and trans men, from all walks of life – inexhaustible tales of sadness and joy, confusion and beauty. Daniel’s story is a distillation of these, their truth and their legacy.
Toronto itself plays a central role in this narrative, offering spaces and opportunities unique to this city. Nowhere else can you find such a diversity of people, cultures and communities. Toronto’s ramshackle neighbourhoods, dive bars and hipster cafes, theatres and clubs form a backdrop that is both quintessentially Canadian and universal.
When it came to the writing itself, it was important for me not to be circumspect or coy in depicting gay sexuality. But I wanted to offer it the same literary realism afforded to heteronormative sexuality. At the same time, by keeping to a minimalist, documentary language, I hoped to actively engage readers in creating the story, one enlivened by their own personal, subjective meaning.
In structuring these novels, I observed how people share their lives through Facebook and Instagram. What if I were to translate this form of story-telling into narrative prose? So Daniel’s adventures are recounted in the first person, and begin with his statement: “I could remember that moment as easily as turning a page in a photo album.”
I’ve called Daniel’s story a “confabulated fictional memoir.” Of course, the autobiographical works of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs were also influences. But what was most important to me was to capture the adventure, levity and wonder of young adulthood. (There is enough gay-themed literature that is grim, sardonic or tragic.) I hope you may love Daniel's story as much as I do, and join him on his continuing, strange and beautiful self-discovery... at the edge of the world. ~DKY