Joey Comeau’s Lockpick Pornography isn’t just a title tease: it puts out plenty of sleaze and theft in a smart and funny queer adventure story. The narrator puts his foot through a television, pulls together a genderfucked super hero team and launches a figurative and literal attack on the straight man’s world. Starting life as an online novel, it’s become a beautifully designed physical object courtesy of Vancouver’s Loose Teeth Press. Joey is launching it with a reading with Derek McCormack at Toronto’s This Ain’t The Rosedale Library Bookstore (481-A Church St) on Tuesday, March 21, 7 p.m. Free.
I asked him a few questions over email about the book.
You originally wrote this novel to pay off a student loan debt, right? How did that affect how you wrote the book?
Well, I put the first chapter up, and I had no idea how overwhelming a immediate the response would be. The book was unfinished at that time, and with all of these donations coming in, I was almost obligated to sit down and write faster. But I found that it came easily. The Novel I’m working on right now is a completely different story. It’s not a serialized thing, so I’m really taking my time with it, but I feel like Lockpick really leant itself to an easy, sort of relentless storytelling style. Writing quickly helped that a lot, I think.
How did it come to be published offline?
Mike Lecky, who convinced me to move it offline, convinced me that the online readership would support the book and that an offline readership would follow. We talked about it all across America, actually. We had one of those month long rail passes. So, we’d be drinking in New Orleans, or skateboarding in Kansas and just talking about how we could do it. Mike started the Loose Teeth press, I heavily edited and expanded the novel, and then it started to sell. It just kept right on selling. The first print run of 1050 books arrived in december 05 and it’s march 06 right now and they’re gone. We did no advertising, it was all word of mouth. The second edition goes to print this week, and this week also marks the very first reading for the book. This week was the first real press coverage, too.
Is your superhero team based on friends that you have or friends you wish you had?
I actually wrote some of my friends into the book as characters. I mean, they ARE characters. But no, the main characters are all sort of composites or just make believe. I guess that’s allowed in fiction these days, using your imagination. Oh, and there’s a little bit of Michelle Tea and Kathy Acker in the main Dyke characters.
The thing I liked about how this was published was that I felt like anything could happen — more so than I would have felt with a big publisher behind it.
For sure. I’m not sure whether you mean in the novel or with the book itself, but I think that’s true for both. I don’t think Lockpick would have stood a chance with a big publisher. And being with Loose Teeth, we’re doing launches in cities all over the place. We’re planning a west coast tour for the book. We’re getting the book to people who are really going to appreciate it. A big publisher might have our Toronto reading at Chapters, for instance. But we’re doing a reading at This Ain’t The Rosedale Library, an amazing bookstore on Church street, where the staff have been behind the book 100%, they’ve just been amazing.
Joey’s webcomic A Softer World is also totally worth checking out, as is his hilarious Over Qualified resume cover letter project.