Matthew Munson: Battling seagulls and looking at creative priorities

Matthew and Bryan

Seagulls are a part of seaside life, and much of the time, I don’t even notice them. But every now and then, they make themselves known, the pesky little blighters. I was having a coffee on Friday with a friend down at the Louisa Bay Cafe. We hadn’t seen each other for an absolute age, and it was nice to look out over blue sky, (relatively) clear water, and a lovely beach whilst having a chat.

As we got up to go for a stroll, a seagull swooped down and tried to steal half of the sandwich at the table next to us, but it was knocked to the floor instead. I (uselessly) cried out, “Oh, my god!”, drawing the attention of half the patrons, but the lady whose sandwich had been desecrated was okay. To their credit, the staff of the cafe were immediately checking on her and offering a new sandwich, which I thought was a nice touch.

As my friend and I strolled along towards Dumpton, a seagull came barrelling towards us at full speed. I didn’t notice it at first, but I was ably defended by my friend, and the seagull went off to find another, less lucky, target. It felt like we were running an avian gauntlet. Bloody seagulls.

I don’t get into Broadstairs very much these days. My son’s dance classes are in Ramsgate, so a significant amount of our free time is spent that way instead. But I’ve been to Broadstairs twice in the last week, and it’s lovely to spend some time there; I consider myself lucky to live in an area with such lovely views. Bryan and I went to a Broadstairs park last weekend and played some football (I’m useless, and have no interest in the game, but I have an interest in spending quality time with my son, so them’s the breaks), and then I treated my lad to an ice-cream the size of a small mountain. It’s the simple pleasures.

It’s been a year since I started my part-time course at university, and I’ve come to realise that it’s time for me to leave it behind, at least for now. I’m working on some interesting creative projects outside of university, and I don’t have the ability to concentrate on it all. I’ve learnt some interesting and useful things from the modules I’ve done; new authors to read, styles of writing I’ve not considered before, and tweaks to my writing styles that I hope will make me a better writer.

I’ve got both my head and my heart immersed in writing, and I’ve got a big project on the go at the moment that I’m really committed to. But with fatherhood and a day job and a writing project, something had to give; university was the thing that gave. I’m sad to leave it behind, but I’m also excited by the creativity that’s still in my life, and can’t wait to share it with you all someday.

I started writing as a child. I remember being set the task of writing a story in Mrs Cooper’s Year Five class at Newlands Primary School in Ramsgate and embraced it utterly. I wrote about a cowboy going into space on the back of a dinosaur. It was three or four pages in length and I included pictures in the story as well. I was immensely proud of that.

As a teenager, I remember writing a Star Trek story – I’m as much of a geek now as I was then, believe me – and really got into the storyline. It wasn’t until much later – when I got to 29 – that I had my first book published. I can’t describe the feeling of holding a book in my hands that had been accepted by a publisher and then went through the process to be there in print. I’ll hold that memory forever, I’m sure of it, and my son is now reading that first book during their daily reading time at school. He seems to be enjoying it, but the fact that he’s choosing to read my work is really lovely.

My son is creative as well, although his creativity comes out in dance. He moves with a fluidity that is just superb, and he’s currently involved in a lot of rehearsals at the moment for a show he’s performing in at the end of July. I can’t wait to be in the audience for that.

1 Comment

  1. Sorry to be pedantic but they are not seagulls. They are gulls that live in the wild on cliffs or estuarine sites. In Thanet we have a mono species and only have Herring Gulls – the second largest ones after the Greater Black Backed Gull – a true brute of a bird. When we lived in London we had a mix of Common and Herring gulls. Last time I was on the beach in Brighton a few years ago they had these two lots and also the Glaucous (or grey) gulls. People who closely monitor Minster Marshes claim to see other ones but I am a bit sceptical. Anyway Matty, please call them GULLS.

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