Books and Brews!

Easily among my favorite days. The book signing was an incredible success. Even though my hands were shaking while signing the first few. 46982E77-AFA4-45BC-9691-E7BEDDCCDAA2

Summarizes my priorities. Me looking at my family.

What a memory! I’m one lucky man.

Cheers everyone!

Matt

Screaming Hills – A published Story

This is the first chapter of Screaming Hills. An additional 4,000 words (along with this of course) is published with Z Publishing House. Enjoy the read!
Written by -M. Taggart
Fiction

Screaming Hills

“What can burn your thoughts, can burn your soul.” Nick tossed a rock over the edge of the cliff. He listened carefully as the rock hit the side of the cliff face. He didn’t hear it land at the bottom.

“What the hell does that mean? You should write that down.” Rick stepped on his cigarette.  Smoke spilled from his nostrils as he spoke.

“It means whatever you’d like for it to mean. Have you ever noticed how people are in this town? Not all, but most. The depressed expressions with sunken eyes and an edge of hostility in their walk?” Nick opened his arms wide with his palms up. They stood at the top of Indian’s Leap, the town overlook. One side consisted of the entire view of their home town, The Falls. The other side was a view of their High School rivals, Little-Vegas, as they liked to call it. “It’s as if they’ve given up.”

It was noon. The sun was too hot to not be under shade. Rick knew the heat of the sun wouldn’t keep Nick from standing in this one spot for the next hour. Sweat would soak both of them and their shirts would stick to their backs and he knew Nick wouldn’t move. He’d stand there and look at the town.

“I guess. Maybe I’m one of them. I don’t know. There’s not much money in either of these towns. The paper mills went under years ago and now they sit and rot. What’s to be happy about?”

“Isn’t that just it though?” Nick smiled.

“Don’t go on one of your rants. Come on, let’s get down and find a place out of the sun.”

“It’s funny. When I’m asked a question, I expect that I’m expected to answer the question. You asked. Now I answer. How about the corn fields. How about the next strong thunder storm, or the wind that comes with it, or the rain that drenches the fields which creates the corn. All this corn throughout this valley and the sweet smell it spreads and no one can find a reason to love this? No one but maybe the farmer? But! We know the farmers’ kids, and they are dealing, and walk with their sunken eyes and spread nothing but filth and hate along with a deadly addiction. So the happiness stopped with the farmer who created the sweet smelling corn and begs the skies to open and dump beauty on his fields; only to be crushed to a stop by his off springs’ inability to accept happiness. Does that sum it nicely for you?”

Rick lit another cigarette, inhaled fully, and again smoke vacated through his nostrils. “You won’t be here much longer will you?”

“I’ll stand here longer. But no, I will not stay in this town. I argue with myself. I’d like to stay and conquer my back yard. I’ve read and heard how important it is to do this before leaving. Otherwise you chase what you had failed to accomplish. But, I doubt this is true because if it were than no one would ever be anywhere without having failed first. I also think most of the people who say this only say it to sound as though they’ve put true thought into the statement. And from what I see, people are full of shit. I want to develop as a person and I’m sure I’ll stunt my development if I don’t leave. I want to walk in a town that lives on hope and feel what that might taste like. Do you see?”

“I get it. You asked me a question. I need to answer. But you asked if I see. Yes, I see, but I don’t understand. How can you feel what hope might taste like?”

“I only said that to be sure you were listening. Actually, it’s like this; what if hope was chicken soup made from scratch served at a restaurant that was loved by the town. What if the chef was a grandmother who had ten grandchildren and those grandchildren stopped in from time to time to have the chicken soup. What if the grandchildren loved their grandmother so much they hoped she might live until she was one hundred and twenty and what if each time they stepped into the restaurant they said a prayer asking for just that. And then, they order the chicken soup.”

Nick’s face was tense. Rick knew it wasn’t easy for Nick. How Nick expressed himself with words was a fraction of what Nick felt inside. He’d seen Nick turn to the Nick that the others talked about. Feared. “You know, this time, I think I do understand. And yes, I’d order that soup. And I’d taste hope. I get it.”

“Then why can’t the people of this town get that corn is their fucking chicken soup. They are blessed with the most fertile valley in all of New England. The fucking river rushed over its fucking edges so many times in the past that it’s literally farmland handed to them by God and they don’t see it. They don’t get it. They smash their bodies with heroin and coke and whatever other drugs they can get. And they fall into what they consider normal for any small town with its mills gone. And they die. They all fucking die.”

Rick watched as Nick’s face transformed from tense to focused and angry and relaxed again. The sun was still too hot. And their shirts were now sticking to them. But he’d stand right here with Nick and the both of them wouldn’t be going anywhere, just yet.

***

Here’s the Amazon link if you’d like to read the rest.

https://www.amazon.com/Americas-Emerging-Literary-Fiction-Writers/dp/1097684032/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Emerging+literary+writers+Northeast+region+z+publishing+house&qid=1568726600&s=gateway&sr=8-1

And here’s a wonderful testimonial:
“This a fantastic short story collection of current emerging writers. Lots of great, varied stories. Matt Taggart is the reason that I bought this and his small town, mystical nuanced story is excellent! Matt is a fantastic writer and poet with a fantastic blog on word press. I highly recommend you check out his writing in any format.”

Have the best day possible,

Matt

 

Failing at Writing With Confidence

A few nights ago I attempted to write a song for a local band. I failed. Even while writing it, I knew it was no good. The moments leading up to the attempt were good. The passion, the piercing thoughts, but the writing of the thoughts didn’t produce quality. There was nothing in the song that felt alive.

I text my friend, the vocalist in his band, and told him I had tried and failed. I laughed and even enjoyed the feeling of the failure. I’ve never been afraid to fail. To not try at all would be the true failure. I’ll try again. I have confidence I can write a song. Even while writing poorly I had confidence that I could do better. That’s the thing about life. To know something that nobody else knows and to understand it completely and to finally make it be what you knew it could be. I’ve never written a song before. I still haven’t. But, I will.

I hope your day treats you well,

Matt

View my published work here:

https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/my-book/

Writing Goals, Hope, and Determination.

I have two specific writing goals in mind. One is out of my hands. I’ve submitted and now I wait. The other, I just found, and am hungry to attempt success. I think it’s possible, and no matter how I think about it, the future will not wait.

I enjoy writing so much that I believe it is a necessity in my life. To have it removed, or taken away, would be torture. I had enough of that in my childhood years so I think I’ll continue to write until I am moved from this word.

I’m ready for this challenge. To knock on the door of a publication the was out of reach a few years ago, that now is not, and I know this to my core. Even if I fail with them I will produce something concrete and lasting and it will find a place to be read. Either way, a form of success will come to fruition. I’ve yet to write the pieces. I feel them growing. I look forward to knowing them.

Life is a funny thing. And a lovely thing.

Thank you for being with me. I hope whatever goals you may have come to be in the best possible way.

Matt

 

Poem-

Last Tuesday I worked 12.5 hours,
came home, and worked on my company
for another two hours.
Megan and Gavin were sound asleep
as I typed away, responding to clients.
The next day I worked another 12.5 hours,
came home, and worked on my company.
Megan and Gavin were sound asleep
as I typed away, responding to clients.
I managed to work 48 hours with my
second job pulling wire, fishing through
insulation and drilling holes in studs with
hole hawg drills with 18 inch bits.
Gavin is now in daycare. I haven’t fully processed
that. I think I’ve pushed that down for another time.
He’s three, and I’ve been his primary caretaker until now.
Gavin is loving ‘school’ and has transitioned incredibly well.
While I drive him to the ‘schoolhouse’ in the morning we
look for werewolves, Bigfoot, witches and ghosts in the woods.
Gavin puts on his serious face and studies the forest as we drive,
and when I drop him off I say, ‘Mommy will pick you up after your nap.
Love you bud.’ He always waves goodbye and says, ‘Bye Daddy.’ He’s only
started to cry a few times. I carry the cry with me as I drive to my second job.
It’s simple really. Priority. My priority is family. The cost of our build is going over
and we need more money. Simple. Work more. I’ve missed working with my hands,
after all, I’m from mud. I enjoy the dirt. I become disgustingly sweaty on the hot and humid days, and that’s perfectly fine. I think of Megan and Gavin and our house. I think
of what our lives will look like in five, ten, fifteen years and beyond. I think of the hundreds of miles of trails in back of our house and the multiple lakes in the region that can be fly-fished and what a blizzard might look like from my second story office window. I think of how my sweat soaked pants will only last a few hours and the dirt will quickly was off and I am thankful. It’s not that I have to work and that I have to get up early, it’s that I have the opportunity to work a second job and with that comes my continuous journey of growth that I hope never runs out even after I’m gone.

-M. Taggart