Category: Family

Essay in The Globe and Mail

Globe and Mail

Last Wednesday, The Globe and Mail published an essay I wrote for their Facts & Arguments page. It posed the question “How do you write about sex when you know your parents are going to read it?”

Self-censorship was something I struggled with from time to time while writing Pluto. The book is about relationships so there was going to be some sex in there. I just needed to make sure that my desire to not have my parents change the way they saw me did not interfere with telling the truth of the story.

This is how I dealt with it. Read the essay here.

Last Thursday

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Not enough days have passed for me to get my head fully around what happened last Thursday.

I launched my first book in Montreal. It was a day I had been waiting for, imagining, most of my life. And it was great.

I had this idea that I wanted to do something big for my book launch – something unique and different from all the cookie-cutter ones I’ve been to over the years: no plastic cups of wine, dry crackers, obscured sightlines, or long readings. I wanted my launch to be more like a party, a celebration of the fourteen years it took to write the book and an acknowledgment of all my friends and colleagues who’ve supported me.

I knew I’d be throwing it in a bar and so I chose a venue in the Village – Cabaret Mado. It was big enough to fit the amount of people I wanted to invite. It was also ground level, close to the metro, and located in the neighbourhood my main character Will hangs out in.

Since Will is a geography teacher I thought it would be fun to recreate his high school classroom in the bar. My dad helped me find the props. He works at my old high school, so he was able to locate a portable chalkboard, a projector, and a bunch of student desks and chairs. My friend Craig loaned me his teacher’s desk.

Greg and I picked up everything that afternoon and brought it to the bar. Cabaret Mado has a nice large stage they use for their drag shows. That’s where we placed the set. My friend Craig had also designed visuals based on the book, which we projected on a white screen at the back.

Also, a good friend gave me a generous donation so I was able to offer a free cocktail to the first 100 people. I gave it the name “Strictly Plutonic” after a suggestion I received on Facebook. In reality, the cocktail was a yummy pomegranate martini.

People started arriving around 5:45 pm. I took my spot at the teacher’s desk to sign the books and the line did not stop. I signed for almost two and a half hours straight, stopping only to make some announcements: my friend Peter gave me a wonderful introduction, and then I did a short reading and made my thank you speech.

I chronicled the day on Storify, if you’re curious to see more.

I really felt the love last Thursday (I think there must have been close to 200 people in the room). As I said during my speech, I felt like I was George Bailey at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life” – seeing a steady stream of familiar faces coming up to congratulate me. It was amazing. I only wish I got to spend more time with everyone.

Together we launched Pluto into the great unknown. I think we gave it a wonderful send off.

Season’s greetings

SeasonsIt’s been a very social Christmas – many great parties, many delicious dinners. And a characteristic of many of these get-togethers has been people congratulating me on the book.

Ever since I posted a draft of the cover on Facebook several weeks ago I’ve been inundated with well wishes from friends and family. It’s been wonderful, but also overwhelming. Talking about the book is new for me. I don’t have the lingo down to describe what it’s about, nor do I feel comfortable talking about myself.

But it’s something I have to get used to.

My friend Bryce put things into perspective when he said that it’s been fascinating for him to watch this project evolve. He’s followed my progress, always asked questions, and is excited to see the book finally come to light. So I have to learn how to let this happen – let people express their happiness for me.

Last night was the most intense night yet. It was my Uncle George’s 65th birthday and we had a surprise birthday party for him at a Greek restaurant in Lasalle. I hadn’t seen most of this side of my family in a long time. They too all came up to me and congratulated me, saying they all wanted a signed copy. “Of course,” I said to them all.

I’m nervous about my family reading the book. Will they like it? Will they see me in the main character? Will they want to read a story about a gay man that talks frankly about relationships and sex?

I knew this was coming. I just need to feel the fear and develop a thicker skin.

Christmas was nice. My boyfriend Greg made me a very thoughtful gift. He took the image from the book cover, blew it up, printed it on foamcore, and placed it in an antique wooden frame. It came with a personal note on the back of how proud he is of me. So much love.