Random Acts of Hatred was launched in Vancouver on October 1, 2003. It was my first book, and I always thought my first book was going to be a novel.
Book launches are stressful. Everything private and quiet about being a writer suddenly is out in the open and making a lot of noise. In space, as they say, no one can hear you scream. In the shower, no one can see you cry. I had my shower moment, just before the launch of my first book. What was going on? I was feeling so happy and scared at the same time, a mushy welter of stuff that felt mostly like an almost unendurable anti-climax.
After the launch: I returned home to find that the mask on my bedroom wall, a crimson and gold leaf, fanged and goggle-eyed Indonesian style mask I’d picked up in Tokyo, had fallen to the floor. When are things metaphors and when are they just stupid little things that happen? In any event, when my first book was launched, my mask fell off the wall.
But even before the launch of my first book, I was sitting in the Moss Cafe in Broma (the Broadway and Main neighbourhood of Vancouver, where I live), having a Saturday morning coffee, and reading the book section of The Globe & Mail. Yasser Arafat was on the cover, rendered in impressionist splashes of green and red and grey, appearing somewhat like a west coast Tlinglit mask.
And inside I stumbled upon the first review of my first book. Just like that, there it was, reviewed in the national press. The saving grace of Random Acts of Hatred, according to Jim Bartley, the Globe’s first fiction reviewer, was "its authoritative evocation of the hell that can unfold for gay kids who lack sensitive and supportive nurturers."
(Gay hell begins at home, The Globe & Mail, September 20, 2003)