Missed Connections

A book by Brian Francis.

Brian Francis

In 1992, Brian Francis placed a personal ad in a local newspaper. He was a twenty-one-year-old university student, still very much in the closet, and looking for love. He received twenty-five responses, but there were thirteen letters that went unanswered and spent years tucked away, forgotten, inside a cardboard box. Now, nearly thirty years later, and at a much different stage in his life, Brian has written replies to those letters. Using the letters as a springboard to reflect on all that has changed for him as a gay man over the past three decades, Brian's responses cover a range of topics, including body image, aging, desire, the price of secrecy, and the courage it takes to be unapologetically yourself.

Missed Connections is an open-hearted, irreverent, often hilarious, and always bracingly honest examination of the pieces of our past we hold close -- and all that we lose along the way. It is also a profoundly affecting meditation on how Brian's generation, the queer people who emerged following the generation hit hardest by AIDS, were able to step out from the shadows and into the light. In an age when the promise of love is just a tap or swipe away, this extraordinary memoir reminds us that our yearning for connection and self-acceptance is timeless. (From McClelland & Stewart)

Brian Francis is the author of novels FruitNatural Order and Break in Case of Emergency. He is a writer and columnist for The Next Chapter on CBC Radio and lives in Toronto.

Why Brian Francis wrote Missed Connections

"The truth behind the story is that I was home one day from work and I was going through some old boxes. I had saved these 13 letters that had responded to my ad. But I had never responded back to these people.

"I don't know why I saved the letters. Maybe it was some sort of artifact from a chapter in my life. Maybe I felt bad throwing them out. So on this day, I kind of sat down and I reread the letters again. These letters that I had dismissed and I thought, Well, how would I answer these letters now at this stage in my life? 

I don't really know why I saved the letters. Maybe it was just some sort of artifact from a chapter in my life. Maybe I felt bad throwing them out.- Brian Francis

"Certainly not a spry 21-year-old, but a decidedly more wrinkled, 50-year-old at the midpoint of my life. What would I have to say to these respondents about my own life in the almost 30 years that had passed since I received their letters?

"But also, what would I say to my younger self? What were the things that he needed to hear at that time in his life?"

Read more in his interview with The Next Chapter.

Interviews with Brian Francis

Brian Francis talks to Shelagh Rogers about his book, Missed Connections.

Other books by Brian Francis

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