Eating Authors: Matthew Hughes

2 comments Written on April 22nd, 2013 by
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Matthew Hughes

I’m writing this up on Sunday night, at about 11:00 p.m. I’ve just returned from the airport. A few hours before that I was in Atlanta, which is where I spent the weekend talking about science fiction and the Klingon language at a very small but very enjoyable convention where they did not allow me to go to bed. All in all, I think I’ve managed eight or nine hours of sleep for the weekend and really, what I should be doing right now is enjoying the comfort of my own bed as I study the inside of my eyelids.

But no, I need to write this up, because as Tom Hanks personally told me (well, okay, he was on the screen, but still), tomorrow the sun will rise. And when it does you need to be able to come here to this blog and read about Matthew Hughes. He is not your typical writer. Matt has an amazing voice that has often be likened to Jack Vance, and while I can see that, he’s also very much his own storyteller, and the world of science fiction is a better place because of it. And while I am a huge fan of his Archonate series, it wasn’t until preparing this introduction that I learned he also writes media tie-in work under the name Hugh Matthews, as well as crime fiction as Matt Hughes. Do take the time to click on some of the links below and check him out!

LMS: Welcome, Matt. I’ve been after you for an answer for several months now. What’s your most memorable meal?

MH: I’ve kept thinking about this from time to time. My memory is not all that good, a consequence I suppose of my odd upbringing. I have a tendency to live in the present and let the past evaporate. My wife is continually surprised at the things I simply don’t remember. Sometimes, when she points it out, I am, too.

So about the only meals I remember are the truly bad ones. Here’s one of those:

I was fifteen, in Grade Ten, in a suburb of Vancouver, my third school in fifteen or sixteen months. My father had moved us out there without warning from southern Ontario after a shoestring contracting business had failed, leaving him exposed to the nonnegotiable demands of some loan sharks. We’d left almost everything behind and we hadn’t exactly been thriving since the sudden relocation.

Soon after we arrived in BC, my mother had had to go back east because my sister was injured in a head-on crash, just before she was due to give birth. She was gone for months and we had, as her replacement, my father’s mother, who was probably already in the first stages of the dementia that was going to hit her full-bore a couple of years later. She’d never liked us kids; she didn’t like anyone who came between her and her offspring.

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She wouldn’t let us make our own lunches. She said we used too much butter. So came noon that day I got my paper bag from my locker and took it to the school lunchroom and opened it up. It was some kind of sandwich, probably tuna; we ate a lot of that. But when I took a bite, the bread was moldy. And not just a little moldy. There was serious greeny gray stuff all over. And it tasted lousy.

But I hadn’t had much breakfast, maybe a slice of toast and some milky, sugary tea before heading for school. At fifteen, I was growing and I was hungry.

We had a cafeteria at the school, if you had money to buy lunch. I suppose I could have gone and begged a meal. But the thing about being working poor is you don’t go begging.

So I sat there and ate the moldy sandwich and thought about how absolutely crappy my life was just about then. Which it genuinely was. Probably, if it hadn’t been so lousy on several fronts, I would have forgotten that sandwich, along with most of what was going on that year. But I suppose it represents a nadir. Not the nadir, but a serious trough among the waves And you tend to remember nadirs.

Thanks, Matt. Not all the memorable meals appearing in this series are pleasant. I appreciate you sharing this one with us. Though, now I’m wondering, what kind of bread it was…

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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2 comments “Eating Authors: Matthew Hughes”

Chatting about Klingon sounds like an awesome way to spend time:) I actually blogged about fictional languages a while back. Thanks for hipping me to Matthews Hughes, I hadn’t heard of him:)

Catch me at a con sometime, Mark, and I’ll happily bend your ear about Klingon. And in the meantime, go read some of Matt’s Archonate books!


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