a review of a book i have not read (or how i discovered a writer)

one day a couple of years ago as i was minding my own business & browsing the world wide web i came across the website of an art director/writer/intellectual gay man (aren’t we all?) & as i was enjoying his musings on life, love & sex (the two not to be conflated) i took a look at his blogroll & clicked on a name that appealed to me for its mellifluous tonal qualities & its lilting (not redundant) short & long a’s interrupted by a soft glottal th & a couple of comely &  lovely l’s, all of which added up to:  matthew gallaway.

nothing out of the ordinary about all of this, is there?  what i found though, when i went to matthew’s blog was this fascinating, intelligent, slightly neurotic, goofy & funny, all-around-good-guy (a mensch, you know) who happened to be gay, who happened to like a lot of what i like (books, art, photography, cats [please substitute dogs for me] the nature of being unapologetically gay, the politics of society,) & one thing led to another & i soon found myself delighted by the similarities & the contrasts in our lives & on another day came to the realization that he touched me much like edmund white, whose work speaks to me viscerally (it may be my life in his “the farewell symphony” for all i know, it is that close to the bone,) & although i don’t see myself in matthew’s work the same way i do in white’s, i do feel like he’s talking to me.

but matthew (or should i use his last name?), but gallaway (there that’s better, a bit more removed, this is, after all, a review) is on the cusp of a literary adventure (sales! marketing! readings! “please sign my book, mr. gallaway,” he stuttered in embarrassment,) a book that he has said took him 10 years to write.  a goodly chunk of anyone’s life, you’ll admit, but i think when you’re reading his blog(s) (which i feel may be a bit more free-wheeling & less obsessed over than his coming book, the metropolis case,) but in any event, when you are reading his words & sentences & when the occasional paragraphical (is that a word?  well, it should be) break is inserted as a photograph of a cat, garden, wahi, mid-town, empire state building, sunset, sunlight, garden center, walk along the hudson, moss, stone paths, ferns [god, i almost forget the ferns!], i think you’ll understand what i mean when i say that i find myself swooning over his prose (& possibly jealous, but in a good way, you know the feeling, i’m sure of it.)

gallaway (oh, shit, let’s call him matthew, o.k.?  otherwise i feel like his 10th grade gym teacher), matthew, then, has this little thing called brilliance, you know the type, smart, but not condescendingly smart, he assumes you know.   the great thing is that you do know, because they way he builds a sentence & the words he chooses have led you to that understanding & you come out the other side feeling, well, feeling happy, sad, mad, weepy, laughing because he has allowed you inside his life for just the right amount of time to make you feel at home & comfortable & that to me is great writing, folks, & i for one am over-the-moon happy for him & have started a countdown until my copy of his book arrives on my doorstep!  you should order yours today, too.




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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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