I subscribe to Los Angeles and Pasadena Magazines. Well…more like I use their material to stalk them from a distance, study them cover to cover and brainstorm on ideas that may get me published in either periodical one day. Still, they’re both fabulous resources for all things Los Angeles (and I’m not just saying that). In the March issue of Los Angeles magazine I ran across an article about Matt Logelin, a local blogger who was about to publish his first book. It is not a book that came easy to Matt as it spawned from the worst day of his life, the day he lost his wife Liz.
That was so not a spoiler.
Let me back up.
At the top of 2008, everything was looking pretty rosy for the Logelin’s. Matt and Liz, together since the age of 18, had traveled the world, found careers and settled in Los Angeles. They were expecting their first child but ran into some complications. Complications led to the premature birth of their daughter Madeline. She was early, but healthy. Everything was looking good until very suddenly, 27 hours later, Liz Logelin died.
Two Kisses for Maddy tackles the first year Matt took on as a suddenly widowed father and the amazing outpouring of support he found from family, friends and perfect strangers that found Matt through his blog (simply named Matt, Liz and Maddy). That support eventually turned into an entire network and grew into The Liz Logelin Foundation, a non-profit organization that gives assistance to young windows, widowers and their families.
I knew that I would be picking up this book and following Matt’s blog because he deals with death the same way I do: with a lot of swearing and internet. I hate sugarcoating the shitty aspects of life, and death is easily #1 for me – especially when it claims the young. There are days you just want to knee-jerk someone in the gut because they try to wrap up these shitty things in a Tiffany’s box. It just doesn’t work. An unjust, albeit blameless hiccup of the universe needs to be called out for what it is: shitastic.
I dragged my feet picking up the book, but when I realized the book signing Matt was scheduled for at a local bookstore was a mere 7 days away I had my sister use her Amazon Prime account to order me a copy. It arrived on Monday, April 18th. Part of me wanted to rush through it before the signing on the 21st, but I also wanted to take my time and really get to know Matt and his story. I managed to stretch it out for a week.
Matt’s narration is authentic and raw, and reads like a one on one conversation you are having with him. I could tell that he writes the same was he speaks from the natural ease the narrative has. Just when I would feel tears prickling at the back of my eyes, Matt drops a “mother fucker” and I’m laughing out loud. Being able to take the edge off such a heavy, fully-loaded topic is an art form one never really seeks to learn but develops fluidly through hardships.
I have only a minor quibble about the book, though not about the contents itself but merely Matt’s statement that great art can only be created through great suffering. Having a life-threatening medical condition and subsequent depression that renders me creatively impotent, I’d have to respectfully disagree. However, I realize this is coming from a dude who enjoys listening to predominately melancholy music. No worries, Matt. We can’t all love Sun Kil Moon.
On April 21st I had the good fortune to meet Matt and Maddy at a book reading and signing. I was one of the first people to show up, which is no surprise; I’m usually hours early to a book signing. Arriving a mere 30 minutes prior, I actually thought I’d have to push a granny over for a good seat. The vast majority of the audience showed up exactly at 7:00pm, making me that weird girl who sits alone up front until there was actually no more room and people had no other choice but to take the remaining front seats. Matt welcomed Q & A, assuring the audience that there was no question too uncomfortable for him. My hand was in the air first – but instead of being that-bitch-who-throws-down-with-a-widower-about-what-makes-great-art (even if I meant it in good fun) I instead opted for my other questions, mostly pertaining to Maddy and how Liz is incorporated into her life.
Matt himself is a very down to earth friendly guy, whom I’ve more than likely seen around town, probably with Maddy in tow. Don’t you worry, Matt. Others may have given you weird looks, but when I see a dude with a small child as happy as Maddy is, I think to myself, Now here is a guy who is doing something right.
Two Kisses for Maddy may be a memoir of loss and love, but it is a testimony to the power of the human spirit and what we can accomplish in the face of tragedy. Good on you, Matt. I hope to see you around the neighborhood soon.
Matt is still on his book tour find a location near you.