On the origins of On the Origins of Joy Boys Chasm

I wrote On the Origins of Joy Boy’s Chasm while living in France, where I had been studying with the aid of a graduate research fellowship. I had just finished writing an emotionally taxing, introspective novella, "an archaeological expedition of things past" as I had referred to it from within, and was in need of some levity to replenish my emotional coffers.

I needed a sentence that would lead me in a new direction, and I at last came up with this simple one: Joy Boy and Flyaway had been at it for weeks. It did the trick, taking me from a space of melancholy, gloom and isolation to a new destination called madcap.

Writing the book became very therapeutic for me and, as the characters continued to grow and accompany me more and more throughout my days, becoming ultimately my faithful companions, it was great fun to decide what they were going to do next. But even more than this, it was great fun to see how they surprised me to no end with their actions and impulses, to the point where I would sometimes be writing only to stop mid-sentence and say, "I can’t believe that just happened. What is wrong with you people!"

And so from sadness, laughter was born. Two opposing forces, inextricably linked. And for me, with my Emerald Isle DNA, each always hot on the heels of the other.

So grab a chair, Dear Reader, and get ready for a ride. Today, we laugh.

Liam James Leaven

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