overcoming average(?)

because it’s something the world just needs less of

Archive for the ‘decemberblogging’ Category

dec 31, 2010

with 4 comments

this past year has been very good to me. it was such a huge turnaround from 2009 that it’s almost hard for me to believe that one followed the other. this year the band made some big steps in what i’ll refer to as our comeback. this was also the year that me and my lady love took our first major trip together just the two of us. most importantly though, this was the year that i found out i am going to become a father.

it’s been a long, long road with the band with many ups and downs. i remember new year’s eve one year ago and (after making a complete ass of myself on twitter with off-color jokes) how exciting it was to play such a high profile event. the rest of year we spent discovering how los angeles was going to treat us and we’ve learned some lessons. we’ve also made great connections and new relationships that we’re very grateful for. it also looks like we’ve set ourselves up for 2011 pretty well.

europe was an amazing time. in between fighting like cats and dogs, we really enjoyed ourselves. we saw amazing sights and ate some of the best food we’ve ever had. we, ironically enough, had the best meal of our lives in paris that happened to be spanish food. we were absolutely enamored by the beautiful things we saw, some in places that we didn’t expect. all evidence to the contrary, we actually do have tons of pictures from our trip, but something else has been taking up most of our time and energy.

we found out that we were pregnant the day we got home from europe. there’s tons of emotions that go along with all that, as i’m sure you parents already know. i’m quite proud of the fact that because i’ve recognized what has freaked me out about being a dad for so long i’m able to put it aside when i want to and just be excited. and i’m very excited. i’m even looking forward to the challenging parts, which i’m sure will change when i get there.

i’d be remiss if i left out this past month of writing. i really enjoy writing, even if it is just put out to the endless void of the internet. i have to thank my friend david for challenging me to write every day for a month. i wrote my first and only piece of fiction (which i urgently need a title for if you have any suggestions), and with this post right now i’ll have written every day for 30 days. i won’t be doing that in january, but i will try to put up one post a week this year. this website, wordpress, even has weekly suggestions for just such the occasion.

farewell, 2010. you were a good year and a fun looking number. i hope everyone starts out 2011 with a great night tonight.

Written by matt

December 31, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Posted in decemberblogging

dec 30, 2010

leave a comment »

my good friends and band mates nate and tim run an arts organization based in their hometown of santa clarita.  their goal is the showcasing of arts of all kinds specifically from artists based in the suburbs.  it’s called proxart and you should take a couple minutes to check it out.

they also put out a quarterly magazine which you should definitely check out.  an article in this last issue particularly struck a chord with me.  it was a photo series that focused on the idea of manhood in the suburbs that was shot in my hometown of riverside.  it was a very well done series, and the next issue will have the accompanying set titled “womanhood.”  having spent the past 21 years in riverside and preparing to become a dad who’s suddenly thinking about things like school systems and who the neighbors are, it really got me thinking about what role my hometown played in shaping my ideas of manhood and if i want those same ideas passed on to my child.

what was funny in the photo series was that they captured what i feel like riverside has always been: a culture of apparent stereotypes taken up another degree.  as a kid and teenager i remember knowing that real life wasn’t supposed to look like how it did on tv, but it seemed to resemble it closer than i thought it should anyway.  all the guys were “GUYS” and if you weren’t like that you were probably a band nerd, a stoner, or one of the few members of the intelligentsia.  i wouldn’t have considered myself any part of any of those groups.  growing up in a suburb can lead to a lot of feelings of alienation and isolation, which is why i think a lot of modern art is what it is.  as someone who has had to deal with what “manhood” really looks like after not having a father to teach me, i wonder if my own feelings of alienation were perhaps misplaced.  not that i wasn’t alienated from the more popular image of manhood, but that that image was more of an imitation than a true example.

as many things as there are wrong with riverside or suburbia in general, there’s just as much that’s good about it.  i’m not afraid of spending the rest of my life in riverside or even necessarily about raising my kids here.  manhood is so much less about being good at sports or having the best yard than it is about giving your child an identity and providing a safe place for them to fail.  you can do that anywhere.  you might even be able to do that easier in the suburbs.  the question is if you’re willing to trade that for a potentially narrow view of different cultures.

Written by matt

December 30, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Posted in decemberblogging

dec 29, 2010

leave a comment »

I’m four full weeks into this little dare I took of writing a blog post every day this month. it’s been fun and challenging and also slightly easier than I thought. it’s been good for me to write every day, not only for the sake of getting out my thoughts in a productive way, but in just getting practice I don’t normally get at doing something I really enjoy.
not that I feel like everything I’ve written is gold or something. in fact, I feel like the quality of what I’ve written is maybe even overshadowed by the quantity of it. some things I’ve written I’m actually intensely proud of, but definitely not all of it. that would be quite the challenge: to write something of substance that you’re proud of every day for a month.
leave it to me to start reflecting on something before I’ve even finished it.

Written by matt

December 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Posted in decemberblogging

dec 28, 2010

leave a comment »

it’s been about two weeks since i finished writing that short story.  i’ve received a lot of very positive feedback, and i’m intensely grateful for that.  call it vanity, pride, or an inflated sense of self-confidence, but after sitting on it for a little bit i’ve come to really like that story.  i like it so much, in fact, that i’ve decided to see if the literary world at large might like it as much as i do and submit it somewhere for review or publication.  i know, lofty goal.

to do such a thing though, it turns out you kind of need a title.  i don’t have one for that story.  i have an idea for a title that i don’t like, but that’s as much as i’ve thought through the thing.  so i’d like some ideas for an acceptable title.  if you’ve read the story you know it can’t give anything away.  also, if you haven’t read it, i’d really like you to if you have the time for about 1400 words.

thanks, everyone.

Written by matt

December 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Posted in decemberblogging

dec 27, 2010

leave a comment »

i haven’t written much in here about the prospect of becoming a father.  most of the reason for that is because it hasn’t really been public knowledge for very long.  there’s been a few hints at it in some of my posts this month, specifically the first one of this month for dec 2.

everyone so far has asked me how i feel about becoming a dad; if i’m excited about it.  of course i’m excited about it.  i’m everything about it.  i’m excited, scared, happy, confident, unconfident, everything.  in fact, every time i think about being a dad i feel all of that jumbled together and in equal proportions.  there’s only a few times i’ve felt excitement without an undercurrent of fear or worry.  the first time was seeing my little monster on the ultrasound screen in the perfect outline of a gummy bear.  the most recent time was when i was Christmas shopping.  i went to borders to find something for amanda and then thought about buying my child’s first books.  i seriously cannot wait to read to my kid.

Written by matt

December 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Posted in decemberblogging

dec 26, 2010

leave a comment »

for all I may or may not say about the issue, I actually do enjoy playing at churches. I enjoy it more when I’m playing with a band of people I don’t play with very much and in places I’m not used to. there’s a lot of different reasons for that which would make for a great post some other day, but I honestly enjoy it quite a bit when I just kind of get thrown into situations.
firstly, I enjoy the challenge. my band challenges me to be amazing at very specific things that are arguably the most important things. things like being one with the drummer and really feeling where the song wants to go and letting it happen. when I’m playing with people I don’t usually play with though, it becomes more of a challenge to lock in with a drummer. it’s also kind of a fun guessing game to see what happens within the song and if what I’m feeling is the same as what the other band members are feeling. also, no band plays and feels the way my band does, so it stretches me out of my genre to adapt to different kinds of music which is also fun.
the reason I enjoy this scenario with specifically churches is to see how different people who live in different places but believe the same thing respond to church music. it’s absolutely fascinating to see what kind of musical feel makes people commune a little bit closer to God. it’s mostly so fascinating because it’s so startlingly similar. that in itself makes me wonder two things: are the reactions so similar because of a potentially unhealthy “Christian sub-culture,” or do the words or melodies that inspire such reactions truly have a deeper connection/inspiration to the Holy Spirit?
like I said, fascinating. and the struggle is one of the more important parts of the journey.

Written by matt

December 26, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Posted in decemberblogging

dec 25, 2010

leave a comment »

as you might be able to tell from a lot of my recent posts, me and Christmas don’t always see eye to eye on everything.  we have sort of a strained relationship that seems to go back some years.  i don’t know why that is exactly, other than i tend to be a natural skeptic.  some (more “jolly”) people might say pessimist.

as long as i can remember i’ve always been one to question just about everything.  i had to have a reason for things to be the way they were.  i’m sure my mom remembers telling me to do things, me asking why (presenting a logical argument, mind you), then getting frustrated with her answer of “because i’m the mom.”  i’ve never had a good explanation of why Christmas traditions are what they are and why Christmas looks the way it does now.  when you’re a kid you get told that Christmas is when you celebrate the birth of Jesus.  when i was a kid, it didn’t seem to compute that this was the only birthday party when you bring an evergreen tree into your house and sing a thousand other songs that are just as cheesy as the “happy birthday” song.  it just felt, and occasionally still feels, like there are too many rituals and traditions for them all to be bound to this single event.  and if that was true, then why have so many traditions that have nothing to do with the real “reason for the season?”

last Christmas, amanda and i had the pleasure of both performing on stage for our church’s Christmas services.  it was right in the middle of our church’s big fundraising campaign to be able to finally get into a building and also during one of the worst times in the recent recession.  what our church decided to do was to literally give away money to families who may have needed it.  at the end of the service, our pastor opened it up for people to come forward and talk to a staff member and receive a cash gift of varying sizes.  you might think that people were storming the gates, but that wasn’t the case.  most were very reluctant to come forward and admit that they needed help.  it was incredible to see when they did have the courage to walk up and honestly ask for financial help.  every time a family came up was a beautiful example of people taking care of their church family.  what was just as amazing though, was when the first person came forward to put a couple twenties on the stage so that it could be passed out to someone who needed it more.  what was maybe the most incredible thing was that after four church services throughout that whole sunday, as family after family came forward to either ask for money or give more cash to be passed out later, was that our church ended up with literally thousands of dollars more than they had at the beginning of the day.

i understood what Christmas really meant last year.  the word “giving” made more sense than it ever had before.  when God gives gifts, He doesn’t do so needlessly, nor does He hold anything back.  His gift to us was not only one of the most needed things in human history, but was the most He could give.  we give gifts to each other to remind of us that.  it’s that principle that makes Christmas worth the traditions: that truly good gifts are only the beginning and can only keep becoming bigger gifts.  i watched as hundreds of people received thousands of dollars from a place where the only goal was to help those who needed it and the end result of all this giving was more, not less

Written by matt

December 25, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Posted in decemberblogging