Catching Up with Matthew Walsh: "The Time is Now"
When we asked former contributors what they’ve been up to since being published in The Matador Review, Matthew Walsh (TMR: Fall 2016) sent us this update.
Today I made my bed because it was starting to feel like a hamster nest. I swept my floor. I listened to Billie Holiday until all her songs ran out on YouTube. The last song was All of Me where she says take my lips, I want to lose them. It was raining earlier, so I did organizational things, looked for screws to hang my new vision board.
On my vision board I'm going to hang submission calls. I broke up with my boyfriend on New Years Eve, and since then I’ve been thinking a vision board would be nice. I’ve been enjoying the weird dates, especially when I can get a poem out of them. I have two poems coming over in a month or so—one with Soliloquies Anthology, and another with Bad Nudes, who I sent my first batch of bad date poems.
My and my ex, Sasha, are still friends, and I'm going over to eat charcuterie and visit the cats we have together. It’s a test because he’s a chain smoker and I gave up smoking in January—I'm just not designed to be a cigarette smoker. When I was with Sasha we’d smoke so many Belmont King-Size and watch so much reality TV—we are the only people I know who have watched every episode of Survivor, even Season 5. We’re better at friendship, I think, and we only kiss each other’s foreheads.
Breaking up means I am more regularly in my own space, so I try to improve my bedroom space. Improve the quietness, decorate, watch the rain come from the clouds, think creatively. For instance, today I cut up a t-shirt because I liked the design on it, and I hung it on my wall.
Interior decorating is super important if you are feeling miserable, which I have been feeling—but I am getting better. I'm going to date myself. Love myself. Everything has not changed.
I’ve been spending like, ninety-five percent of my time alone which has been wonderful. I’ve set myself the goal of writing one new piece of writing a day, and I'm also working on my poetry project, called These Are Not the Potatoes of My Youth, and a short story collection tentatively titled Night of the Rainbow Loom.
I have one story set in Los Angeles which is sort of non-fictiony—Sasha and I went down there for Christmas—about a couple going down to the States and staying in Echo Park at the time George Michael died, so all of those elements—Palm Springs, the mountains, are finding their way into the story. Some of the other stories are about terrible jobs I had. One is about waiting in line at a fashion sale for three hundred dollars.
I have to confess that I feel like I need to make some big changes in my life. I'm turning thirty-five this year so I’ve been wondering what my goals are. I'm coming out of an MFA program, graduating in May with two projects nearly finished, but who knows really if I will get then published. That’s the dream. I'm planning to work on them during April, because I've quit my coffee shop job. I have some money saved, so I thought just give yourself a month to breath and figure out what you want to do. I don’t think the thing I'll so is school—this is my ninth year straight in universities. And April is a beautiful month to have nothing to do but write.
April is poetry month. I plan to work on a chapbook of my gayer poems. I have a few George Michael poems, a few bad date poems, and a long poem or two about Los Angeles. I did write a lot when I was down there. I saw Melissa Villasenor and Sarah Silverman at the Comedy Store down there, and it rained, so the rain kept the smog off the city, so it was crystal clear down there. I have a Palm Springs poem. Los Angeles treated me good.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Nina Simone, too. She’s who comes on after Billie. The first song is You Don’t Know What Love Is, then next is The Time is Now. The time is now. I'm going to love myself once more.