Reading list and what’s up with me…



 This week I finished reading South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami.  This is a story about a love affair that spans several decades.  There are times that the main character easily spoke out to me, as an only child and a man that is still searching for his purpose at the age of thirty five.  He runs into a girls he knew before high school.  They were in love but he moved away.  Later on the fate of the girl turns into a mystery and the main character is left trying to piece his life back together that he is unsure about.  

 Lately me free time has been turned to Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami.  You may wonder why I keep reading books by this guy?  His characters are real and the dialogue is spot on even with it being translated from Japanese.  I figure if there is anybody I can learn how to develop characters from it’s this guy. Plus I find his use of music in the details of the scene to be impressive.   

 I sometime wonder if life would be easier if I was dumb.  Maybe if I just went along with things and didn’t question my life would be better than it is.  The downside is that if somebody doesn’t question what is going on than how do things change?  And can somebody please tell me why the person that points out what is wrong is punished?  

 Lately I have high hopes for a new job.  The benefits are amazing and the hours might be what I need for a while.  I’m hoping that I’m what they are looking for.  

 Last week I purged my library and got rid of all of the books that I looked at and could honestly say “I will never read that.”  Thirty boxes of books were donated and my library is now something that I can manage.  

 I have to admit there is a sense of depression that has been sinking in with being isolated at home.  Yesterday I volunteered at the library.  When I wasn’t there I was at home sleeping.  I even went out last night to my favorite bar to work on my last book for After the Day.  After two beers I was drowsy and had to get home.  I don’t know if I was coming down with something or not.  I was in bed by 7:30pm and slept until 7 this morning.  I had to force myself out of bed and into the shower.  The last two days I can honestly say I didn’t write anything.  Sure I went through and did some spelling and grammar corrections but that is not the same.  

 The entire time I was “sleeping” my mind was in overdrive.  Dreams with story plots, what ifs, pondering other lives I could have lived, people I should have loved more, people I never should have given so much to, lost time I’ll never get back, how to change my future from here, and the list goes on and on.  There was no rhyme or reason for half of the stuff my brain was working on.  All I knew was that I was exhausted but my brain would not shut down.  

 This morning I now feel like my brain has slowed down and I can function again.  I don’t know what brings on moments like these.  Even at the library I was groggy.  Half away I was going through the motions trying to make sure everything was correct when I rang up totals on the cash machine.  I’m thankful this happened after my interview.  

 My garden is overgrown.  It needs a good weeding but these days have been haunted with rain.  Not that we don’t need the water but getting into the garden when it’s cool and dry has been impossible.  for the first time ever I have been pulling bowls of spinach out and eating it like crazy.  The other greens have bolted and are now going to seed.  The yard has been difficult to keep up with because of all of the rain.  The city posted a notice in the news paper about ticketing locals for grass that is too tall.  

 Currently I am working on book three of the future collapse series.  I have a few things to touch up and add to it.  I’m glad that I let it sit for a while after all of the mistakes I have found so far.  I think this will end up being a good conclusion for the series and a great beginning to new material.  


Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.


Haruki Murakami, Reading List this Week.

As one can see I haven’t been keeping up with this blog lately and for good reason. The past couple of weeks has seen a strange influx of writing from me. Two weeks ago I woke up one morning and started writing a short story that ended up being 10,000 words all together and I finished it in the same day. That was the first eye opening experience. The second came when I had a story idea and started plugging away at the keyboard. Four days later I had the rough draft for a novel that I have been cleaning up and tweaking ever since. Needless to say the amount of work that has been coming out of me has been welcome even if it takes me away from other projects such as this one.
During my down time I have become interested in the works of Haruki Murakami. He is the author of such books as 1Q84, Norwegian Woods, and Kafka on the Shore. My interest in jazz music shifted over to Murakami who owned a Jazz bar during the 1980s. His knowledge of the music comes through in his writing when he is setting the scene. Somewhere in the opening paragraph he will mention a piece of music by an artist with the album and other details he can throw in. What I personally noticed about jazz music is how it will influence the mood of a room without the use of any lyrics. It’s no wonder the music for the beat generation was bebop. The soundtrack for On The Road by Jack Kerouac could easily be a live Charlie Parker album.
Starting off light on Murakami I read After Dark and his newest short read The Strange Library. After Dark captured the night life of Tokyo and the people that live in it. The feeling of Lost in Translation with Bill Murray came through the book although I wouldn’t be surprised if both were independent interpretations of the same world. My favorite character was the woman who ran the love hotel. A former wrestler she was stuck with the job after suffering a spinal injury in the ring and had nothing to fall back on having spent all of her money on her family.
The metaphorical chapters he put in the book regarding the sleeping sister was an odd addition that made sense towards the end of the story.
The Strange Library was a quick read about a child who was held captive in a library. He was forced to read books and memorize the information so that the librarian could eventually eat is brain. An odd tale but one that is not uncommon for those that read Asian literature. Two of the other characters was a little girl the boy fell in love with and a man that dresses in a sheep costume.
Murakami has plenty of material out there to keep me interested for a while. I will have to work my way up to something as lengthy at 1Q84 that boast over 1000 pages. In the meantime I will continue my reading of South of the Boarder, West of the Sun.


Not Easy

 My life as of lately has been hunkering down.  Due to the weather and a lack of funds stay home has been an easy option.  It has really been the only option.  The loneliness that comes from staying home long periods of time has been the most difficult aspect.  I little communication I have with the outside world through my cell phone is not cutting it.  I cant imagine how things would be if the power went out and I was literally alone.  It takes a special person to be able to live isolated and alone.  I am not one of those people.  

 Leaving the house has become an important aspect of my day.  The much needed contact gets me by for a bit but I quickly become irritable and depressed as the hours go by.  Listening to pod cast sometimes helps but the lack of interaction starts to feed the isolation.  One of the worst parts of communicating with the outside world is the negativity that can come with it.  Negative reviews, negative comments, horrible events in the news pushes me back into isolation.  If that is the best the world has to offer…

 The sun is out this morning.  There was a frost advisory last night and the house is cold.  The much needed sunlight has me back at the computer going over my next book.  The work is easy and trivial.  It could be worse, I could be mopping up blood and other bodily fluids.  I try to remember where I came from and what I don’t want to go back to.  

 The road is not easy.  Hunkering down is not easy.  Survival is not easy.  Life is not easy.  Trying to do so much on my own is draining.  I keep going.  The road is slow.  There is no end to the horizon.  There is only moving forward.  

Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.


Garden Diet

 I can’t remember the last time we had this much rain this many days in a row.  It has become common to wake up to a heavy downpour.  I’m not going to complain. On the first day my rain barrel was full.  I had to dump a few buckets of water into the plants that are closer to the house.  An hour later the barrel is full again and the runoff goes into the garden a few feet away.  The rain has awoken many of the plants I worried about.  The pole beans are all out of the ground now.  The radishes are almost ready for harvest.  I ate the first harvest of asparagus today and found that it taste far better than anything I’ve had from the store.  Maybe I’m bias but I have to admit that the stalks were more tender and had better color.  

 Today a strange bird appeared in my yard.  A small patch of red on the back of its head and a black triangle on its chest told me it could be a type of woodpecker. It was digging in the ground with it’s beak and spent over an hour in the yard.


 I imagine that this is the type of weather that they have in Seattle, although I have never been to the west coast.  Being stuck in the house has been insightful.  There has been a lot of introspection.  

 My meals have become more consistent with greens and herbs from the garden.  I know I have lost weight and my midsection has become smaller in a few days.  I don’t have a scale so I can’t say by how much the change has happened.  It’s obvious when I look in the mirror.  I have more energy and my body functions better with everyday task.  Before I felt tired, sluggish and clumsy.  

 Lifting weights everyday and spending time in the garden everyday has changed my physic.  I also hit the heavy bag every other day and noticed my punches have changed in speed and power.  I would like to expand my workouts but worry that I might burnout and ruin my progress.  As I start to get more food from the garden I will see how I feel then about doing more but in the mean time fill my schedule with reading and writing .  


Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.


Things people don’t tell you about being a writer.

This week has been rough.  Mentally I have always been one to give up.  I’ve never been forced to finish anything.  I thought after writing my first book that things had changed.  Then came After the Day and Red Tide.  Those were the moments I thought to myself that I had changed and that I knew how to finish something.  


 I quit my job recently and it was a long time coming.  Not because of the writing, as I try to tell people, but because the job was destroying my self worth.  I had been shown I can do better.  I thought that I didn’t need acceptance from some outside authority.  I was wrong.  Humans are social creatures and as social creatures we look for acceptance from each other.  People can be cruel though.  In the past I have been surrounded by cruel people, those that need to bring people down so they can feel better about themselves.  I have been guilty of this too.  Learned behavior is a shitty thing when it’s not positive behavior.  

 I thought being a writer would be the coolest job ever.  Having something I can point to and say that “I created that” is a great feeling.  It’s a lonely job.  I understand why the people I admire in this field have their assistants and people they constantly hang out with.  As somebody with low self esteem and always doubting myself, again learned behavior, it’s difficult to push yourself.  When you finally admit to yourself you have no idea what the fuck you are doing is a depressing and eye opening moment.  I have learned the ins and outs, studied the strategies, marketing, and the persistence it takes.  My time has been spent learning how to be a story teller and improving my craft.  At the end of the day I don’t know a damn thing.  

 I’ve been working on a few projects.  I put out my first non fiction book. I released the first book of a spin off series.  I’m constantly working of new martial and rewriting old material that hasn’t been released yet.  One of the most difficult things about doing this job is not knowing how good your story is until later.  Once a writer finishes a story and looks back on it, it’s easy to say to yourself that it’s the greatest story ever.  It’s crushing when somebody comes out from nowhere and shits all over your work of six months to a year.  I can sit here and tell myself that the job of the critic is to feel better about themselves for not doing exactly what you are doing.  It’s a nice idea but at the end of the day the review and your work are both out their as a pair for people to read.  Unfortunately people are more likely to read the short review before they will read your book.  While you wrote a book the critic spent a few minutes on their phone bitching about how they never did anything but write a review.  That’s how I try to view it anyway.  Sadly reviews, even bad reviews, end up getting credit from potential buyers when the critic admits he never finished reading the book.  

 Maybe I should stay away from the reviews all together.  It could be the smartest route to take.  I became addicted to what people had to say when After the Day was accepted by readers as a good realistic story.  It had it’s bad reviews but over all the majority of people liked it.  That’s not to say that I wasn’t affected by the bad reviews.   I had the usual “well, fuck you too,” moments and went about my day pissed until something changed.  It’s difficult to let something like that slide.  Have you ever seen a parent that is told their child is a screw up?  That’s what it is like being a writer except our children are being insulted all the time.  

 It’s difficult to learn to be positive in a shitty world.  I see the people on the internet talking about our wonderful world and how to reclaim your happiness.  The things I find enjoyment and peace from are disappearing.  I go to the lake and find beer cans floating on the shore.  Trash is left in the state land when I’m out hunting.  There have been several days when I go out into my garden and find empty gin bottles tossed over the fence.  It’s rough trying to be positive when the majority of people around you shit all over everything.  

 I’m not giving up. I can’t give up. I have no idea what the hell I would do with myself if I did.  I am quickly learning why Hemingway beat the shit out of people that wrote bad and insulting reviews of his books.  It makes sense.  Human beings can be horrible creatures.  It’s why I left my job. It’s why I’m alone. It’s why I write.  How else does somebody escape from this world?  


Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.


Greens, greens, and more greens

 With more greens showing up in the garden, including my first good year of spinach, my daily diet of greens has increased.  The radishes are almost ready to start being picked.  It’s time to bust out some of the old cookbooks and learn how to use everything I get from the garden.  I do mean everything.  

 Radish greens, beet greens, garlic greens, are all edible if you know how to prepare them.  What is the point of losing valuable nutrients if you don’t have to.  Some people talk about starving to death if there was a collapse.  What is sad is the amount of food you are surrounded by and you don’t know because it doesn’t come out of a wrapper.  Dandelion greens have become a regular part of my diet and why not.  The damn things grow everywhere and I already use the flowers for making wine.

 I wish I had the equipment to tap the maple tree in the front yard.  Maple syrup wine is one of my favorite drinks to make.  The ingredients are so simple yet the main source is expensive.  If there was a way to make my own at a lower cost there could be a new drink in town.  

 With the temperature reaching over 80 the last two days plenty of seeds are starting to pop up that have been stubborn before.  Bush beans and pole beans are pushing up in force.  

 The squirrel has systematically destroyed all of the corn I planted so far.  He literally goes in and cuts the stem and runs away.  He doesn’t eat it, he is just being an asshole.  I’m going to have to step up the onslaught of copper that rains down on him.  If he sees me in the window these days he runs.  That, however, does not stop him from coming into the yard.  I’m starting to wonder the legality of using my bow and adding him to the food in the freezer.

 I have been keeping up with my workouts.  I haven’t seen much change yet and I know it takes time.  I want to look better for the book signing coming up in June.  it’s a big day for me for several reasons and I don’t want to be that over weight, creepy looking, writer guy that nobody wants to approach.  I have so much riding on this summer and it scares the shit out of me.  


Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.


Reading List Week 2

A week later and my list of read books is not as impressive as I hoped it would be.  I read three books since my last post about my reading habits.  


 Infected by Scott Sigler

 The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

 The Mao Game by Joshua Miller


 Scott Sigler caught my attention with his free audio books available through Itunes.  Infected is the first book of his triangle trilogy.  These are supposed to be horror/ thriller novels.  Written as a cross between Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing the dynamic characters and details of the story push the novel through quick chapters.  

 As a life long Michigander the locations in the book are easy for me to picture.  The references of sports teams and football are lost on me.  I will be looking forward to starting Contagious with the opening scene starting in Grand Rapids.  

 The Polysyllabic Spree is what started this weekly adventure for me.  In the book Nick Hornby, author of High Fidelity, chronicles over a year of his life of buying books and what he ready during a month.  Unlike Hornby I have no excuse for not reading at least one book over a week’s time span.  Considering how many books I own there is no excuse there isn’t anything to read.  

 The last book I read this week is The Mao Game.  A graphic attempt at a first novel, the Mao Game follows a teenage boy through his life in a Hollywood family.  Every member from grandmother to grandson has been through some for of sexual abuse and denial was the appropriate response from everyone responsible. The boy is a junky like his mother and grandmother.  Unlike the older women he is addicted to heroin and other drugs since he doesn’t have a doctor to write prescriptions for the opium he wants.  Several scenes go into detail about the sexual abuse he is forced to endure by his father.  During the book grandma is dying.

 I can’t say this was an enjoyable read.  After placing my two stars on http://www.goodreads.com I learn from other reviews that the author was the younger brother of Sabrina the Teenage Witch back in the 90’s.  had I known that this books was some self promomtion about how back his childhood as an actor was I would never have paid the $0.10 it cost me, or the hours I spent reading.  

 Currently I am reading Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer.  It currently has almost four stars so I hope I’m not making the same mistake.  Fifty pages in and so far confusion is the only thing that keeps me going.  A group of women are sent to a remote area to explore but everything about the exploration doesn’t make any sense and nobody has a name.  All of the characters are referred to by their job titles and that is it.  The mission has no clear goal.  This is what bugs me most.  It better have a reason for the journey soon.  

 Attached is a picture of the books I picked up this week.  Some, like Chickenhawk, have repeatedly come up on Goodreads and I can’t turn down a Conan novel that I haven’t read yet.  


Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.


Post Apocalyptic Cooking

Lately the types of food that I have been cooking are on the wild side.  Venison, fish, and Cornish hen have been on my dinner plate this last week. The fish have been from the days I spent out at the lake working to fill the freezer.  The venison is from a deer one of my buddies got last fall.  As for the hen, well I bought that.

 The deer I helped track, drag out of the woods, and clean once it was at my buddy’s house.  While he took the back straps for steak and almost everything lese, he let me have the neck roast.  There must have been close to fifteen pounds of neck roast sitting in my freezer. Between turkey, fish, and venison something had to start moving out to make room for the fish I would be catching this summer.  

 I thawed out the venison.  I sliced up some of the thicker strands and cubed it to make a stew.  The larger pieces I trimmed and let it sit in some herbs and spices in the fridge overnight.  Before putting it in the stove for two hours, I packed garlic between the folds.  

 The beans for the stew had to sit in water over night.  A can of spicy cubed tomatoes was added to the stew along with fresh chopped onion and minced garlic.

 When the meals were done the smell of venison filled the house.  I now understood the comment people would make about how it’s gamey.

 My buddy who shot the deer came over and I grabbed a bottle of dandelion wine from the basement.  I don’t know what the alcohol content of dandelion wine is but I have had people compare it to moonshine.  

 In both meals the venison was tender.  My buddy went for seconds and slice some roast, then drizzled the stew on top.  

 Over 90% of the food and drink on the table was either from hunting or grown in the backyard.  If I didn’t have the spicy cubed tomatoes the meal wouldn’t have been a loss.  

 The neck roast by it’s self was enough to feed four people or more and there was plenty leftover.

 What are some ways I could have made this meal without a stove?  A Dutch oven would have been best for the roast.   Set over a fire it would have had the same result.  As for the stew cooking in the same way over a fire with a pot would have worked.  I’ve never had trouble regulating heat in a fire once the fire is established.  If the fire does become too hot make sure the cooking device can be raised or lowered above the fire to the desired temperature.

Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.