About Matt Briggs

Matt Briggs lives in the "in fill" between Seattle and Tacoma in the Pacific Northwest. He is the author of several novels and collection of stories. His novel, Shoot the Buffalo, was awarded an American Book Award by the Before Columbus Foundation in 2006.

Author Archive | Matt Briggs

Burn Strunk

Internet, Suburgian.com, 2017

Burn Strunk is a series of posts where I plan to revisit the rules in the classic style book, The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. The tiny yellow book has endured for more than a hundred years; the book has proven to be as immune to progress as the common cold. Because of the brevity, clarity, and seemingly sensible authority of EB White, the book is often presented as the rules of writing. If you believe that a sentence is thought made tangible, this series of posts is an attempt resist Professor Strunk’s mind control.

You can find the series here.


Comments { 0 }

Upcoming Readings from Frog in My Throat

Frog in the Throat, Dr. Cicero Books, 2017

A collection of 38 very short stories will be released this fall by Dr. Cicero Books called Frog in the Throat.

By turns playful and profound, Matt Briggs’ Frog in the Throat is a wondrous creature indeed. These very short stories about husbands and wives, misguided giants, failed bullies, beauty and menace, shadows and mold move seamlessly from the quotidian to the rattlingly fantastical, all the while feeling piercingly real. They are also about the act of writing itself—the willful and urgent disruption of a disrupted age. — Dawn Raffel, author of In the Year of Long Division and Further Adventures in the Restless Universe

Redmond, October 27, 2017
The Redmond Association of the Spoken Word on Friday Oct 27 at 7:00 p.m.

West Seattle, November 22, 2017
Poetry Bridge on Wednesday , Nov 23 at 7:00 p.m.

If you are interested in having me read, please contact me.

Comments { 0 }

Talk with Vadim Tabakman and Matt Briggs at InspireX 2017

Workflow as Microservice

Use the Nintex Platform as a Microservices Platform

Use the Nintex Platform as a Microservices Platform
Vadim Tabakman and Mat Briggs, Nintex
Tuesday 2/14 at 10:45 a.m.

InspireX | February 13-15, 2017 | The Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, New Orleans, LA

Description
Want to develop for the Nintex Platform? In this session, we explore using a microservice pattern to create solutions that can leverage your investment in the Nintex Platform and legacy workflows. We will look at how you might implement hybrid solutions, third-party APIs, and how to rapidly deploy and stand up your own REST services to address edge case requirements. We will also cover custom actions and inline functions to extend Nintex Workflow.

Objective
As a result of this session, attendees will learn about the Nintex Workflow for Sharepoint External Start, using third-party APIs in your workflow, and creating your own API with tools such as Windows Azure’s Severless functions. You can create a set of loosely coupled, very specific task oriented workflows and processes to deliver your solution. In addition, you can leverage processes designed in Nintex Workflow for use in other services in your system.

Vadim Tabakaman
Vadim is currently a Technical Evangelist for Nintex. Nintex makes automated workflow and document generation software. He began working as a developer in the gaming industry working on mainframe VOS OS, dealing with Slot machine serials communication protocols, and creating test-tools and line monitoring software with Microsoft Windows 2000. He has worked on software for electronic forms and in the security industry.

Matt Briggs
Matt is a Programmer Writer at Nintex. He has been a programmer writer, technical writer, and analyst at companies such as Microsoft, Expedia, Disney, Iron Mountain, and Nordstrom. He’s worked on data retention, ultrasound machines, medical imaging software, and the ecommerce system of a department store. Matt has also published eight works of fiction including The Remains or River Names which just appeared in translation in Italy published by ad est dell’equatore (translated by Fiorenzo Iuliano). A new work of fiction, A Frog In My Throat, will be published laster this year by Dr. Cicero Books.

Comments { 0 }

Doesn’t Look Like Anything To Me

Snoqualmie Pass

In the snow, it is the same forward as it is back.

In the late winter at the Snoqualmie Pass, I walked into the snowdrifts under the fir trees. A truck on the freeway sounded its horn, and under that the rush of tires on the frozen concrete whirred and groaned. The crust of snow shellacked with a rain mostly held. When my boot broke the surface, my boot sole plunged into powder, filling my sock with shards of ice and a spray of snow. The snow melted and soaked my socks. The ice shards melted slowly as I pulled my boot back up to the crusted surface and kept moving across the ice.

I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I had wanted to go out into the snow and had this image of walking until I came to a creek that was free from ice out in the middle of the current. The flowing water would be black. And around it the white snow and blue icicles hanging from the trees would make it feel as though I had come to a place, somewhere out in the forest, but as I slowly made my way across the ice crush between the trees, the entire forest began to look the same. There was the sound of the freeway behind me, receding, until I could only hear the occasional flump of a tree releasing its snow load or I could hear the whistle of a marmot or the chatter of birds eating whatever they could find. A camp robber had been following me the half mile or mile I traveled into the forest.

A misty fog or clouds depending on how you wanted to look at it had descended to the tree tops and obscured the cliffs and mountain tops that would provide some sense of where I was. I could see how easily I could get lost. I kept breaking through the ice and left a trail back to where I came, otherwise, forward and back were the same sequence of heaps of snow and ice, trees with ice clinging to the bark. To head, back was the same as moving forward. Eventually, I arrived at a creek with free-flowing water in the channel. The water was black in the white landscape. I turned to head back but didn’t know where to return. To head back was the same as moving forward.

Comments { 0 }

A Time to Eat: On Making a Living as a Writer

A pleasant simple habitual and tyrannical and authorised and educated and resumed and articulate separation. This is not tardy.

A pleasant simple habitual and tyrannical and authorized and educated and resumed and articulate separation. This is not tardy.

Slate had a review of a new book called Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living with has some great observations and information about writers such as Cheryl Strayed and the nuts and bolts of how much they earn from publishing their books.

I spent my twenties in writing programs. A small press published my first book in 1999, and have published eight books with a ninth coming out later this year. I spent my thirties teaching creative writing in a continuing education context (University of Washington Extension, Richard Hugo House, The Writing Center in Bethesda) or as a volunteer, and then spoke at the Associated Writing Program (AWP) on panels over a couple of years (2012-2015).

I learned that the writing industry (when it comes to prose) is predicated on – like acting – the starry-eyed concept that you too can MAKE IT as a writer. This means if you have the skills, you will pay the bills with publishing books. Conversely if you do not have the skills, you will not pay the bills.) Sitting at the book fair table at AWP  I could overhear the gaggle of graduate students strolling past the small press table where I sat talking about agents, book advances, about getting out of school and really getting down to writing once they got a book contract. Some of these students had paid a lot of money for the training to be a novelist. Many programs cost more than 50,000 a year. They were looking at coming out of a two year program in debt more than 100K. They were going to be need a pretty generous advance on their first novel.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 0 }

No Outlet

No Outlet

Back of a stop sign at Saltwater State Park in Des Moines, Washington in the winter of 2017.

I pass this sign when I walk from my house to the beach. It is a stop sign on the way from my house toward the beach. I have never stopped walking when I passed this stop sign. On the way back from the beach, I pass the sign and enter the region that is here declared as no outlet, a set of dead ends and cut-de-sacs, and I walk a trail that leads into the forest. I pass along this trail through the forest and have a choice of where I would like to exit. I can pass along behind a row of houses along a muddy track and come out onto a paved cul-de-sac in a development of houses built in the mid-1960s. Or, I can walk along a road that ends in a gate that has never been open, and then walk alongside the road on a shoulder that is not really meant to hold pedestrians. Blackberries hang from the maple trees and a fence. Or, I can walk up to a set of bridges that cross over the canyons where the paves roads end and then the creek cuts through narrow gullies that finger out into the subdivisions built along Pacific Highway South.

There is clearly an outlet at this point even though the sign declares to anyone paying attention that there isn’t one. I routinely ignore the warning labels and laws with their clearly stated does and don’ts and I don’t know at what point in growing up I learned then and at what point I learned that I should not follow them. Continue Reading →

Comments { 0 }

The Fence Maker by Matt Briggs in Necessary Fiction

The Fence Maker began to punch up the tall fences before 1980, we are plenty sure. The fences stood twelve feet tall. The height was as regular as a regulation.

 — Necessary Fiction

Comments { 0 }

Resist the Hivemind, thoughts on the Jack Straw Writers Program

2007 Jack Straw Writers

Nine years ago I was pleased to work with the following group of writers at the Jack Straw Writer’s Program: Doug Nufer, Anna Maria Hong, Susan Landgraf, Cheryl Strayed, Charles Potts, Corrina Wycoff Kathryn Trueblood, Laurie Blauner, Vis-a-Vis Society(Sierra Nelson and Rachel Kessler), Willie Smith, Howard W. Robertson, and Molly Tenenbaum.

In 2007, I was a curator for the Jack Straw Writer’s Program, a program created by Rebecca Brown and Joan Rabinowitz, and last night went to a reading at Jack Straw and it was kind of comforting (considering) to hear and see many local writer’s able to work, publish, and exist in the Pacific Northwest. I wrote the following essay in response to the question about curating the series and that every writer I was able to listen to them then, and they remain writers I listen to now even I haven’t been in touch with them for a long time. You can find audio of that year and following years at Jack Straw.

Resist the Hivemind

from the Raven Chronicles new issue “Celebrating 20 Years of the Jack Straw Writers Program, 1997-2016

On Facebook, I often read appeals to “Hivemind.” They write, ”Hivemind, can you tell me…” They do it without apology, as if all of our individual capacities as thinkers are reduced to a kind of communal processing capacity. We are the mental equivalent of ants. Writers resist this conception of thought. Writers who eschew cliché, doggerel, and sentimentality strike out toward the strange wilderness of what they think. When they are deep into what they really think and how they think their alien thoughts, their written or spoken work provokes me as a person. I can recognize myself in them, but also recognize someone who is not me. A book or a poem inevitably provides relief from the incessant pressure of my own presence.

A community somehow levels the progressive nature of the written word. It joins us into a structure with conventional standards of decorum and the watchful guidance of our fellow, polite, thinking ants in the Hivemind.

In late 2006, around the time that Facebook was opened to everyone over the age of 13, I was asked to be a curator for the Jack Straw Writers’ program. This allowed me the chance to listen to and engage with a collection of writers who could offer access to their interior thoughts. I felt myself drawn toward writers (or in the case of the Vis a Vis Society, a pair of writers) who adhered directly to that. Willie Smith embodies this urge. Willie will be the first to flog his writing with the communal standards of the Hivemind. And yet, year after year, he is incapable of bottling up his urges, confessions, and lurid suburban Cold War tantrums. I have had coffee or drinks with some of these writers, but I don’t claim to know them. We are not part of a physical community. Yet, we are a gathering of individuals who had cultivated, and continue to cultivate, a method of capturing our inner voice. I was pleased to hear how they read their work in 2007 and hear them speak aloud their inner voices. Nearly ten years later with Facebook used by 13% of the world’s population, they are still thankfully engaged in their work of writing as singular voices and not as part of the Hivemind.

Comments { 0 }

Genre of Silence by Matt Briggs at Connotation Press

From Robert Clark Young, Connotation Press‘s Nonfiction Editor:

Matt Briggs Genre of Silence

Genre of Silence, an essay, Connotation Press, 9/1/2016

“While Connotation Press is far from the first magazine in the history of the publishing world to run photos with a story, or even the first online magazine to do so, one cool thing about our website is that we can put up all manner of multimedia projects just with a click. The photos in Matt Briggs’ “Genre of Silence” do a beautiful job of illustrating—in the best sense of the word—the story, much of which has to do with his father. This piece covers a lot of ground and is an absolute joy to read—and view.”

You can find my essay at Connotation Press.

Comments { 0 }

curd majesty

Internet, SoundCloud, 2016

Most of the human sounds that we hear have evolved as communication signals that transfer useful information from one individual to others of the same cultural group. Some sounds, such as the alarm calls made when a person swoops at a predator, have obvious effects on other animals as well. They irritate the predator, and, at the same time, attract other kinds of humans that join in the effort to drive the predator away. Curd Majesty comes from the banks of the Green River bringing with them the sweet melodies and essential anti-predator noises.

You can find field recordings on SoundCould.

Comments { 0 }