Dean Garlick is a fiction writer living in Montreal. His first novel, The Fish, was published by Anteism Press in 2010, and was translated into French on Les Allusifs in 2015. His novella, Chloes, was released in 2014. Dean also writes fiction reviews for Montreal Review of Books.
"Waylay is a speculative novel set in what may-or-may-not-be Highway 401 in very Southern Ontario. Due to a massive cyber-attack, power is out across North America and all communications are down, including television, internet, and radio. Fleets of ATSs (Automated Transport Systems) have also been shut down, resulting in a massive traffic jam. Montana is a first-year art school student on her way to the city with her father. She matches with Owen on Tindr in a rest stop food court before the attack happens, and they find themselves stuck together in the jam. What results is Nowhere is a Place, conceptual performance art that holds the promise of connecting people in this volatile and potentially hostile situation.
Nowhere is a Place is a loose reinvention of the performance / theatre work of Montreal writer / performance artist Jacob Wren, most specifically the piece Unrehearsed Beauty-Le Génie des autres (as described in his book Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART). Unrehearsed Beauty, as envisioned by Wren and his performance collective PME-ART, obliterates the division between performer and audience, inviting audience members to a microphone as contributors to the performance, creating a sense of radical collectivity and a feeling that 'anything could happen.'
Just as everyone present in the theatre in performs Unrehearsed Beauty, the organic evolution of Nowhere is a Place is a result of the cumulative contributions of the random collection of people trapped on the highway. Nowhere is a Place also takes on the same spirit of organic evolution utilized by Wren, with Montana forming the initial idea for the piece but allowing it to evolve as more people engage with it.
Lastly, there's a spirit of both optimism and amateurism in Wren's work that I wanted to recreate in Nowhere is a Place, one that can potentially mine a sense of hope and collective strength from naive idealism."