My first book Damn the Ponytail! is about my wife and my two daughters. At this point, the events within its pages are history. The next book is for my daughters. "Write something for us?" they had said. As I pen this next tale - Catboat Cove (working title) - they feed me ideas and … Continue reading Is it History or is it Fiction? Yes.
A Peek into the Adventure
As a writer, I’m often asked how a story is born. The reality is, there’s no magical approach other than writing as much as possible and to have multiple ways to capture ideas - a small notebook or recording device always on-hand. Then let them grow. Build on your ideas. Mesh them together. Pull them … Continue reading A Peek into the Adventure
Our Next Adventure Begins!
Exciting News! Jim Inzero and I are collaborating again! We're working on a book together - author and illustrator. The tale follows two less-than-adventurous sisters as they befriend the ghosts of Robert Louis Stevenson and his friend Will H. Low, traverse the waters of the Manasquan River on a rickety catboat, and search for Captain … Continue reading Our Next Adventure Begins!
Show tomorrow at SOMA NewArt Gallery in Cape May, New Jersey
Tomorrow night from 6pm until 9pm, Jim Inzero and I will be showcasing our collaboration at SOMA NewArt Gallery in Cape May, NJ. It's a casual affair, with some food and drinks. All are welcome including kids. As an example, the work below was recently showcased at my book signing. I call this one Homestead … Continue reading Show tomorrow at SOMA NewArt Gallery in Cape May, New Jersey
Collaboration Coming to Life at SOMA NewArt Gallery July 16th
For the past few months, Jim Inzero and I have been collaborating, merging his artwork and my prose into a single experience. His work is emotionally moving and when I first spotted it, I couldn't help but be drawn into the scenes he depicted. From there, I crafted short passages that hopefully bring the viewer … Continue reading Collaboration Coming to Life at SOMA NewArt Gallery July 16th
A Big Thanks for a Big Day!
Sitting and staring at the blank screen at 5:30 this morning, nerves have taken over. Publishing a book during the pandemic has proven strange - the activities I expected to do a few months ago were delayed, so it feels as if nothing was published at all. Tonight is my first signing and for some … Continue reading A Big Thanks for a Big Day!
A Fusion of Art and Words
I'm excited to announce that I've been collaborating with amazing artist Jim Inzero. Soon our work will be on display at his studio on Bay Ave in downtown Point Pleasant, and our first event launch is July 16 at Soma NewArt Gallery in Cape May, New Jersey. I'll share more about the collaboration and the … Continue reading A Fusion of Art and Words
Last Wave Brews are Ordered!
Less than a week until my book signing at The Little Point Bookshop! More importantly, the beer from Last Wave Brewing Company is ordered. Point Beach Lager and A-Frame will be on-hand at the bookstore. The Little Point BookshopLast Wave Brewing Company You can get a copy at the store or buy one ahead of … Continue reading Last Wave Brews are Ordered!
The Signing is Almost Here!
First and foremost, we're about two weeks away from my first, but not last, signing. If you're in or near Point Pleasant on June 3rd at 6pm, drop by! Second, let Little Point Bookshop know you're stopping in at their event page: The Little Point Bookshop Last, help me out.
Mark Your Calendars for June 3rd!
Me inside The Little Point Bookshop Finally, I'm able to announce my first book signing. I'll be at The Little Point Bookshop in downtown Point Pleasant, NJ - the first store to carry Damn the Ponytail! - on 3 June 2022 starting at 6pm.
Breakfast at The Cottage… all on one page
Two of my current notebooks As you may know, I have a lot of notebooks - boxes of them. Every time I open a new notebook, I use the first couple of pages to jot down writing goals and ideas. Getting the entire Breakfast at The Cottage story in one place has been on my … Continue reading Breakfast at The Cottage… all on one page
Damn the Ponytail! Outtake: A Proper Icing
Damn the Ponytail! is raw. That's no accident. Going into this project I wanted the book to have an Anthony Bourdainesque feel to it, which tends to be my own writing style anyway. Raw and concise. Yes, yes, that's the complete opposite of my conversational style - I can talk for hours. In that rawness, … Continue reading Damn the Ponytail! Outtake: A Proper Icing
Celebrate the Wins!
Brittany, Lil, and Lainey gave me a framed copy of my book cover for Christmas. Writing can be lonely. You wake up early or stay up late and hole up in a corner somewhere - your laundry room or your den - and close off all communication with everyone for a while. After you rise … Continue reading Celebrate the Wins!
Damn the Ponytail! hit a Milestone
Thank you to all who've supported me. 100 sold units. That's all it takes to put an indie author into the top 5%. Because of your belief in this book, Damn the Ponytail! passed this milestone on Tuesday. Thank you, Brittany, Lil, and Lainey for being a constant muse and support system. And one more … Continue reading Damn the Ponytail! hit a Milestone
Damn the Ponytail Featured on a Why is Everyone Yelling
In late December, I was lucky enough to be a guest on Linsey Hein's podcast Why is Everyone Yelling - a series for parents. Lindsey's show is fantastic. Check it out and listen to some of her other podcasts. https://sandyboyproductions.com/2022/01/04/episode-65-matt-divirgiliis-fatherhood-from-the-eyes-of-a-dad-of-two-preemie-babies/ Buy Damn the Ponytail!
Happy Holidays – here’s a new short story!
I’m lost and hungry. Walking quickly, I point my nose upward and hope to catch a whiff of a deep fryer, the scent let off by pubs as they prepare patrons’ meals. I listen for the low hum of a crowd piled into a cafe. Nothing.
Damn the Ponytail in a Bookstore!
Hemingway famously wrote something to the tune of - you write for yourself and not for others. You don't write because you want to sell books. I largely agree with that. I'm driven by ideas and the desire to put those ideas onto paper. At the same time, it sure does feel good to sell … Continue reading Damn the Ponytail in a Bookstore!
Damn the Ponytail – Outtakes and Insights
Now that Damn the Ponytail has been out for a month, I figured I'd share a few things with you - some insight into where I wrote it and some behind the scenes into my crazy approach to writing. Even more fun - maybe - are some vignettes that didn't make the final book, either … Continue reading Damn the Ponytail – Outtakes and Insights
Damn the Ponytail is more official!
Thank you Poets & Writers for accepting Damn the Ponytail into your official directory! Check it out here: https://www.pw.org/directory/writers/matt_devirgiliis. And as always, thanks Matt Potter and Everytime Press for taking a chance on this work. https://bit.ly/Ponytailpage
My first Amazon Review
Wonderful and moving read. What a story. It is moving and warm, heartfelt and sincere and above all it speaks to parents everywhere. Every parent should read this book. I truly enjoyed it.Kindle Customer https://everytimepress.com/everytime-press-catalogue/travel-memoir/damn-the-ponytail/
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SAVE 30% on all Pure Slush, Truth Serum Press and Everytime Press paperbacks.Use the code SAVE30Offer ends 30th November. https://everytimepress.com/everytime-press-catalogue/travel-memoir/damn-the-ponytail/ https://everytimepress.com/
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Finally, Damn the Ponytail is here!
Damn the Ponytail: Coming in October
Deadlines are meant to be broken, or so the saying goes. Since this is my first book, I was probably naive to think the process between final draft and published proof moves quickly. It doesn't. A lot of sweat goes into this phase and thanks to Matt Potter - the publisher/editor who agreed to work … Continue reading Damn the Ponytail: Coming in October
“Damn the Ponytail” – My New Book Launching in June
Three years ago, while working on a short story, I wrote down some goals. Short-term - cut coffee consumption down from ten-cups-a-day to eight-cups-a-day. Long-term - get a book published before turning 40. On 11 December 2019, I sat at my desk in my little room at the Elliot Park Hotel in Minneapolis and jotted … Continue reading “Damn the Ponytail” – My New Book Launching in June
Breakfast at The Cottage: Our Final Meal
We shook harder and then Norman pulled me in and hugged me. “I’ll see you soon,” he said.
Breakfast at The Cottage: The Big Pitch
“Me? I’m done, Matt.” At least for now. But it’s not about doubt for me. It’s about fuel. I need to refill the tank. But I don’t doubt my skills.”
Breakfast at The Cottage: Getting on the Calendar
“Yeah. Bigger. We’re going to create a bunch of ancillary CDs for Harcourt’s high school history books. Do you like a challenge?” I leaned forward showing my interest.
Breakfast at The Cottage: Beginning the End
of all the wisdom Norman shared, openly or just by example, the one lesson that has stayed with me is this - everyone has a right to be heard, to be represented both by law and by story, regardless of how much we may disagree with their point of view or their beliefs. If we never stop to listen, we will never have the opportunity to find out where we do agree.
Breakfast at The Cottage: Tenacity, Tenacity, Tenacity
I picked up the book and flipped open the cover. “I have to read this,” I said. “Norman persisted. He wrote this book and he’s ancient. He doesn’t stop.” I flipped the page and saw a note and smiled…
Breakfast at The Cottage: Catch Up and New Challenge
Norman leaned forward and reached into a thin briefcase. He pulled out a manilla envelop and lay it in front of me. "The Gamblers", I said, reading the black writing scrolled across the front. "What’s this?"
Breakfast at The Cottage: A Moral Dilemma
I’m going deep with this one, I know. But it is relevant and perhaps my first attempt at entering the current narrative. It’s also relevant because when my daughters catch a glimpse of the news or overhear my wife and I or others talking about current events, they inevitably ask the fundamental questions that adults skip over.
Breakfast at The Cottage: Redline Mayhem
But I’m not a writer… you may be thinking. I’m not a storyteller. That’s crap. We’re all both.
Breakfast at The Cottage: First Day, First Script
And that’s where I sat for the next three weeks. Holed up like a mole in the video cave. But damn I was intent on finding the best footage for those scripts.
Breakfast at The Cottage: Judo Chop
“I study, too,” she said smiling. Nancy leaned forward and opened up. She held a blackbelt in Tiger Schulman’s and was studying for her second degree.
Breakfast at The Cottage: Interview Curveball
Then Norman said something that has stuck with me since - “You’re interviewing each other. They want to know if you are a good fit for them. But you should be asking questions to gauge if you really want to work there.”
Breakfast at The Cottage: A Continued Pause
At this point, you are either a little like my normal self - barely looking into Norman and letting his personality and humanness unfold in front of you. Or you are like my working self - immediately researching the guy to find out who he is. If you’re the latter, then you know his accomplishments. He had written at least two books - Life’s Snapshots and The Gamblers - and had written opinion pieces for various papers including the New York Times.
Breakfast at The Cottage: The Norman Pause
Fully under a sold, used boat, my attention was on the hull and then… A pair of brown, polished loafers slid across the floor and stopped next to me.
Breakfast at The Cottage: A Small Victory
"What if you don't like that kind of writing? What if you're no good at it?" "Nonsense," said Norman as he walked in the door. "He'll learn and adapt. Good morning, too." His silent gait let him slip into the diner undetected.
Breakfast at The Cottage: Between Breakfasts
So there I sat in my room, surrounded by yellow legal pads and index cards, trying to figure out what the hell I was going to hand over to Norman. Fixing a resume proved difficult enough, now I had to share something more personal. I had to turn in my work.
Breakfast at The Cottage: Doubt Over Easy
“Eisenhower.” He said. Norman responded to my question like it was no big deal. "Eisenhower?" “Eisenhower.”
Breakfast at The Cottage: Our First Meal
“You’ll find I don’t shut up with my ideas,” he said. “I’ve been coming here for thirty-years. Place hasn’t changed.” “We haven’t, but you’ve turned into a grumpy, old geezer,” said the woman from behind the counter. Don’t look offended, hun. We love him like family.”
Breakfast at The Cottage: The Right (Old) Guy
Broke and dreamy, I had convinced myself I could become a writer. But I actually had no clue what the hell I was doing. So I scraped the barnacle off of rich people’s boats and waited tables so that I could use tips to feed myself. Then a single act changed my career’s trajectory.
Young and idealistic. Broke and in debt. I had just graduated and hoped to land my dream job - writing for a Discovery Channel show. Instead, I hustled at a local marina to stay afloat. My $10-an-hour job scraping barnacle and painting boat bottoms covered rent for my townhouse and my student loan payments. Every … Continue reading Meeting Norman