Laughter and story have permeated all aspects of my life. As a young boy growing up in the small sailing village of Itchenor on the south coast of England, I loved to listen to people’s stories and share mine. But I never wrote them down.
Mrs. Sealey, my English teacher at Bishop Luffa High School, once wrote in a report of mine, “Matthew knows all the answers, but he can’t put them on paper.” So began years of after-school remedial reading and writing with Mrs. Rivers. I hated it, but it made my mum happy and enabled me to limp through school and college.
When my mother, Sylvia, died, I had no choice: I had to write. The action of pen to paper made my memories real, while removing them from inside my body. In a way, they allowed me to keep a piece of my mother with me, which rendered the grief palatable. But even then, it was impossible for me not to be drawn to the humor within the painful struggles that make us human.
And so, the first stories of Goat Lips: Tales of a Lapsed Englishman were born.
I’ve always thought that humor is important. Where else do you see such a vast body of research confirming its pros and nothing offering evidence for cons? Perhaps we should take humor seriously? Seriously!
(You can learn more about Matthew at matthewtaylor.com.)