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If you know me, you know I love to write and share ideas. When you subscribe, you help me meet my goals as a writer and a person. Currently, I am working toward a whole different career than what I was only a few short weeks ago. This is because I am driven by a desire to communicate via words. I’m particular about them, too. I keep my writing simple and clear. I try not to step around what I am trying to say, I just say it. This is a freedom I have while freelancing as a columnist here.

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About Me

I’m Matthew Kenneth Gray (Matt to all my friends including you) and if you’ve found me here by mistake, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do!

I was born in Watsonville, CA to Barbara and Ken Gray, who owned Gray’s Hallmark in the Watsonville Square mall next to Payless. While the store lasted 15.5 years, during that time I grew to love and appreciate art and great writing. I even inquired about writing for Hallmark Cards and my Grandma Unruh set up a meeting with a Hallmark artist friend she had known for many years.

At Watsonville High School, I loved writing for Catztales and became Opinion Editor as a Senior there. I also was involved in a Creative Writing class taught by Jim Weir where, along with my work in Catztales, I was published in “The Pippin,” a literary journal. I contributed to the newspaper as a poet and I found myself excited with my byline on the pages the student body read.

With my aspirations of being a songwriter (ahem, lyric writer), I have participated in all kinds of cool things like Open Mics and Songscreenings. I have also written many songs with some of my closest friends. Recently, I’ve written with two new men who I admire equally - Wanz (Thrift Shop was his breakthrough performance with Macklemore), and Ryan Bennett Price, who has been getting a lot of recognition for his writing and performance. Before I met them, I went to the ASCAP Expo, where a chance to meet over lunch with Lisa Aschmann, a peer originally from Santa Cruz, CA was more of a priority than seeing Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas talk about songwriting.

Yes, that’s me with around 5K friends on Facebook and about 20K connections on LinkedIn. I match with so many people because I wanted to open up to experiencing others and their lives. I was tired of not connecting with people. So I connected with people. I’ve been sorting out what kinds of things I want to write about in my head but also in countless notebooks and scraps of paper in my house.

I have been on a journey through attending schools and colleges, through many work environments, and with a family of my own in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois I have come to realize that there is only so much time, and part of that time, I wanted to spend writing to participate and share my journey with anyone who cares to read it. This is that time. This is my way.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you continue with me because it’s a fun ride, this writing stuff. Maybe some of it will matter to some of you and that’s the goal. It can’t matter to everyone but perhaps it will live much longer than I will.



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Bloomington-Normal, IL lifestyle-oriented column featuring Restaurants, Local Arts/Entertainment Coverage, and more.


Covering Local Art/Artists, Entertainment/Dining/Shopping Culture in Redbird Country (Central Illinois).