For many years now people have been telling Mat that he needs to write down his many stories...maybe even write a book. He used to grin and just keep on telling his stories of a life lived wandering around in the wonderment of it all.
The thing is stories told out loud and written stories are entirely different animals. Personal presence and presentation are important when you telling a tale of one sort or another. (Mathew just oozes presence; his presentations are impeccable.)
However, written stories are just words. There's no storyteller there to answer questions and clear up the confusing bits, no big-as-life presence to relate to.
It was a bit of a conundrum, that request.
One day a friend bought Mat a little mini-cassette recorder and a bunch of tapes. He practically dared Mat to get the tales down on paper. Mat had to take up the challenge then, especially after I got on his case and offered my help with them.
After he records the tales, Mat transcribes his words onto paper for the first draft and adds other details as he thinks of them and works on keeping the stories interesting. We go over these transcripts and I'll ask questions about the confusing parts and parts that need explanations for people (like me) who are clueless about the situations surrounding the stories he is presenting. Then we work on the clarity of the story for the written form. I pile on details and explanations either from him or from other sources.
We've accumulated a pile of stories this way so I decided to start posting them onto a blog, just 'cause. One of my most interesting endeavors has been trying to find information and illustrations for these stories which range all over the place.
I do try very hard to get the proper attributions and permissions for the work we use from other people. We are very grateful to all of the people who are willing to share their work through the Creative Commons and Wikimedia Commons and similar compilations. Their generosity in this is greatly appreciated.
As Annette Simmons, in her book WHOEVER TELLS THE BEST STORY WINS says, "Those who never venture into the world don't have many stories to tell." Mathew sure has a LOT of stories, and I'm here to tell ya they are fun