Matthew Munson: Passions and natural talent

Matthew and Bryan

Life continues at its normal pace here in Casa de Munson. Our normal routine has been made that little bit busier by Bryan’s dance school starting to gear up for its annual show in July, which means that Bryan has various rehearsals with varying degrees of regularity throughout the week. I don’t object, as Bryan is passionate about dance and music in pretty much all their forms. I hear all kinds of music coming from his bedroom, some of which I’m enough of a fan to add to my own playlists. Never let it be said that I’m not open to new experiences.

I’m at a loss when it comes to dance. I simply can’t move my feet in time with any kind of rhythm. I have dyspraxia, which is at least part of the reason why, but even if I didn’t have it, I’d still be incapable of finding a sensible way to boogie on down.

I’ve tried – believe me, I’ve tried. In my twenties, I went with some friends to a dance class, which was fun, but my abilities were very limited, it should be said. I wasn’t going to be a dancer, nor did I want to – not like my son. My passions lay elsewhere, in words and language … and history … and politics … and being a dad, as it turned out.

I considered being a journalist as a teenager, but decided against it when I realised that I wanted to write fiction rather than about facts. My dad was a journalist (award-winning, thank you very much), and he got me a couple of spots of work experience. I’ll never forget the news editor (upon being told of a bomb threat in Canterbury city centre) looked at me, grinned broadly, and said, “I’ve always wanted to say this” – then stood up and called across the newsroom, “Hold the front page!” I also spent a day out with a photographer, and got to meet a mayor and various other interesting people, and when I was young, accompanied my dad on a trip where the Queen Mother walked right past me. A claim to fame, if ever there was one.

But truth be told, I wasn’t cut out to be a journalist – as I said, I wanted to write stories of my own, and when I realised that, my plans to be a journalist were over. My very first paid job was working at Waitrose in Ramsgate when I was 16 years old (where my mum also worked), and I was pretty sure that supermarket work wasn’t for me either. I admired and liked the staff but knew that I wanted to do something else – if only I could figure out what that was.

Being a full-time writer of books didn’t occur to me until I was in my twenties, funnily enough. Being a writer like that was for other people – clever people, like Terry Pratchett, Stephen King, and Neil Gaiman. I wasn’t in their league, so why on Earth would I even consider being a writer? Simple – because I’m not trying to be them, but instead finding my own path. As soon as I stopped comparing myself to others, and instead continued on improving my own writing style, that was when my ambitions began to crystalise.

Despite having had three books published, I’m still not a full-time writer. Not many writers are. Only a small number can afford to write without any other income streams. Maybe one day that’ll be me, but if not, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop writing any time soon. In fact, I can’t ever imagine that I’d stop writing. It helps me express myself, and I just plain enjoy it; it’s my passion, in the same way that Bryan’s passion is dancing. I’ve never expected him to be like me; I didn’t insist that he follow my path, and nor should I. As a parent, it’s up to me to help fan the flames of his passions in life, and one of them happens to be dance. I’m proud to see my son discover his true passions in life, and if I can help him progress, then why would I not do everything I can to let him explore his natural talents?

1 Comment

Comments are closed.