Danniel Oickle is a fixture in Ottawa’s art scene. Now 32, Oickle says he was just five years old when he fell head over heels into the abyss of creative arts. A man of many talents, Oickle’s passion for the written word has propelled him this month to launch his second book, My Heart Has Teeth, a poetry collection written over two years.
Xtra chatted with Oickle ahead of the launch to learn more about his latest project.
Xtra: What is the main message you want to share in My Heart Has Teeth?
Danniel Oickle: I would love people to walk away from this book with a deeper connection to the world around them. As for an overall message, I would hope people will understand that we are small in the expanse of our universe and thus our understanding is small.
What was your process while writing this book? Did you have a routine?
It was a focused process, taking up much personal time, and I worked mainly at night. I find nighttime to be invigorating. As for a routine, I’d pour a nice glass of wine and close the door, blare some music and tunnel in. I wanted to create something I wished I had been able to read when I was first starting my artistic creative process, something that will grow with you as you age.
What is the underlying theme of the book?
Though there are distinct themes, the poems are not directed exclusively toward one subject or one emotion. There are works directed toward lovers, strangers and institutions on many topics and, of course, all the emotions that such a dialogue would entail.
What inspired this creation?
My Heart Has Teeth really started as a collection of independent works but grew to be more. I was inspired by William Blake and his use of both images and words to convey ideas. I was also inspired by the Brontës and wanted to open dialogues that are forbidden to me as a man, both sexually and spiritually.
Who is your book written for?
The overarching themes and work in the book will interest a wide variety of readers. I believe that anyone who picks up My Heart Has Teeth will be able to glean something poignant from the pages. I do not intentionally desire conflict but am aware that my work tends to cause wide ranges of emotions in my readers. There will be offence, but I don’t think that will stop any readers. I would certainly be convicted of heresy if the charge still existed. I think the [queer] community will enjoy it, but I don’t feel it will be limited to any niche market.
Why do you write?
I have tried over the years to tell people why I write, but to be certain, I have no choice. It is something that I do without force. I have used this in the past as a form of catharsis and creative outlet. Writing is a great way to bleed my emotions out onto a page, release what I cannot say.
Do you believe it’s important for everyone to create, in some way, as a means to reflect, to grow stronger as individuals?
Absolutely! People need to create, even those who are not so-called creative. It is an emotional outlet, a physical ritual of growth and a direct mental exercise. As a queer youth raised in a stifling Baptist upbringing, I used creativity as a form of solace and the expression of emotions I was too afraid to express for fear of ridicule. Creativity saved me.
If you had to pick one creative outlet, what would it be?
If I had to weed out my creativity and pick only one outlet, I would surely wither and die. They are so ingrained. I find that I need all outlets to fully realize my work.