I showed up to Matt's house around 9:30 in the morning. It was an overcast day and promised rain. I knocked on the door. He let me in and showed me around the house. It was build sometime in the 30's I'm guessing and I took note of the specific character of the house itself. It seemed to contain a lot of soul.
There were no hall-ways really, and the house basically made a circle. When you come in the door one of the first things that you notice within this circle is dining area. Really more of a breakfast nook by today's home standards, it was smaller. A 4-chair rounded-square table covered in a pale yellow antique cloth, was close to the window. Just across from the table on the opposite wall, a low mid-century chest. You could walk between the table and chest and comfortable sit three people. Four if you were inclined. I was immediately drawn to this little room and as Matt and I talked I learned quickly it's significance to him.
I ended up spending about 9 hours there that day. Most of it sitting at that table in conversation. Time can certainly be a funny thing. Maybe it was the tea, or the jazz that was rotating. Maybe it was the good company of Matt and Jami, or just sitting at that table and listening to the rain. Those hours melted away. I think more than anything it was just a chance and the time given for good human connection.
We should all make certain to make space for that in our lives. Connecting with a person one on one is something I feel is often taken for granted in the days of social media.
Matt is a very thoughtful person and has seemingly boundless optimism and faith when it comes to humanity. Please read what he had to say and view more of his images below.
Love Aimlessly, My Friends
What gets you out of bed everyday?
It's the idea that the life is your own. It's yours to make for yourself. That gives you a tremendous amount of freedom. There's terror in that too, but it's your choice. Life is a suffering experience.
Getting out of bed to try to alleviate... to try to share something... to make forms...
I think that when it comes down to it I get out of bed to spend time bringing some kind of order, some kind of form, to my life. My conflicts. My difficulties and struggles. A form that I might be able to communicate to somebody else and potentially ease their own suffering. That could look a number of ways; It could be me more consciously trying to write a song or just very much in the moment, joking around with somebody and bring a smile to their face. Just try to make it a little less shitty for people.
I feel like I could keep going and going and trying to elaborate on this, but I think that this is about as simple as I can make it.
To date, what is the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
The lesson for me... and this is a bit of a story...
When I was in high school, we had to play sports. I didn't feel particularly compelled to play sports. I didn't have a deep personal reason to want to win these games that I wasn't particularly excited about playing.
I really liked this one wrestling coach, Frank Simpson. I played several different sports, but I stuck with wrestling because it was tough, there was a lot of discipline involved, and I loved this coach. Still though, I was not compelled to win at all.
I was never really a starter, but in my senior year we were in the state championship, and through a wrestle-off I end up with a starting spot and also ended up being rostered head-to-head with the star member of the opposing team. Their coaches son. I actually felt pretty good about it because I thought that I didn't have anything to loose since I wasn't invested in winning.
I had never been beaten so badly. He pinned me within 10 seconds. I was shocked.
I'd already come to terms with the idea that I would never be a competitive athlete. I was too much of a thinker, and I didn't feel related to it. This though... this was my one chance to really do something and to really have a moment and I got crushed! It didn't go down how I thought it would at all. It was the worst loss I'd ever had over my whole time wrestling.
It really broke my heart in the moment and it was something that would stick with me and I would deal with for years to come.
I guess there were two things that I really pulled from this.
The first is that if you're going to invest your time into something... really invest your time into it! Now as an adult, where I make my own choices, to be intentional and to choose for myself. To be honest about what I love and choose that. Don't be passive about what you're choosing.
This is the second and most important lesson that I learned from this wrestling defeat:
When it came to wrestling, I was most always playing on the defensive. I would just let people take a shot at me and I would react instead of being aggressive and take a shot. As I thought about the big loss over the years I learned that what I regretted is that I was just playing to not loose rather than taking my shot. Take a shot! It's a cheesy sports analogy, but really!
Show up and try at something, and try hard! If you fail, you go down having really tried. If you ever even hope to win you have to show up and take your shot. You have to!
That's had engrained itself into my every day. I'm pursuing music. I have to take a shot and make some records. I have to go out and play. Even in small moments of the day, how do I show up for myself? How do I actually try and take a shot? To be active and participate in life.
What is love?
Anything that is all at once so objective and subjective at the same time... I find it impossible to answer that question without falling into the inherent mystery. Love is one of those words that language fall short in reaching. You kind of have to end at the idea of it. For right now, where I am and my understanding, it seems to be achieved through deeply understanding the nature in yourself and harmonizing that with the nature and the world around you. I think that's be base-line.
It seems to encompass even romantic love. Like what I see in Jami. I wouldn't make presumptions for anyone else, but something that feels bigger than us and beyond us is there. Something that's directing us and me toward... ...I would love to have children with this woman. It feel innately and naturally like the right thing. It feels like it's in harmony with nature. I've never felt like that before.
There's something about love that's self-sacrifice. I don't have kids, but there's something about parental love and the self-sacrifice that comes with it, that seems to be a deep and abiding love that I don't even know yet.
All in all, and I may feel differently later in life, I feel that it's primary those things. Aligning your known inner-nature with the nature around you. Anything else I feel would just be an elaboration to that point.
About Matt :
Lives in Nashville, TN