Gilbert Speaks to Humorist and Author, Matt Goldberg

15 Jan

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A few months ago, I was asked to participate in an “Author’s Event” at a local library. The event featured several authors from the South Jersey Writers’ Group and was hosted by Author Gail Priest. This event enabled me to meet the very talented humorist and author, Matt Goldberg. When Matt asked me if I would like to read one of his books, Hot Ice Cream, I said yes. I think it was the delightful cover that made me want to read this little gem.

Hot Ice Cream

“Out of the mouths of babes…” What can our children teach us? Their innocent take on our daily lives may seem simplistic to us, but in reality, these kids are way smarter than most adults. Hot Ice Cream is a loving and entertaining discussion of the everyday slices of life between a father and his young son. How much more enjoyable would our lives become if we’d only look at life through a child’s eyes. Once I began reading the book, I could not put it down. This book is a great gift for anyone who has children or is expecting a child….and now my interview with author Matt Goldberg.

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Gilbert: Hi Matt. I absolutely loved your book. Can you tell my readers a little bit about yourself and maybe a little bit about Toastmasters, a group you have been active with?

Matt Goldberg: Thanks for asking, Marie.

I consider myself to be an inspirational humorist – in my writing, speaking and coaching/training. In actuality, I’m a very serious and sentimental, warm-hearted person, who also has a hyperactive and sharp sense of humor that is irreverent, but not sarcastic. Otherwise, I’m somewhat normal: a husband and dad…more on that later, I guess…who is an incurable sports fan and insomniac, and one who cares about spreading smiles, laughs, and just a little wisdom and inspiration.

As a humorist, don’t ask me to tell jokes (I don’t remember canned jokes too well), but my humor is often spontaneous, and even when I write or speak about more serious topics, it is sometimes hard for me to suppress my humorous instincts, so I often lead with that. To this point, I’ve dabbled in stand-up – with some success – and also enjoy bringing uplifting and quasi-edgy humor to events as a versatile speaker and MC.

Toastmasters International was founded in 1924, and I’ve been an active member of Voorhees Toastmasters Club for 9 years. Toastmasters is not all about giving toasts and getting drunk; in fact, it’s not really about either of those. It is about oral communication and leadership. No matter where you are as a speaker – from the most frightened to the most confident, would-be professional speakers – regular practice in a structured program within a group of people who want you to succeed is very empowering. Since joining, I’ve improved my speaking, evaluating, mentoring and leadership skills in a variety of ways. If anyone wants more information about Toastmasters, I’ll be happy to speak with them.

Gilbert: Tell us a bit about your sports writing and where we can find the articles. Do you use humor with your articles about sports? Where can people find your sports articles?

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Matt Goldberg: I’ve written an eclectic mix of sports articles for a number of sources, some ongoing and some in a recent, previous life – as in the cases of Bleacher Report and an online site called “jewocity” for which I created “Bagels and Jocks” – a column which examined the Jewish sports world. Yes, there is a Jewish sports world. I write periodically for philly2philly.com, and was part of a group of writers that produced “A Snowball’s Chance: Philly Fires Back against the National Media.” I also blog occasionally about sports as part of my www.tipofthegoldberg.com site.

While I bleed red for the Phillies and green for the Eagles…a lot of bleeding…and similarly for other teams and other favorite players, I try not to take it too seriously, and even when I do, I concurrently find humorous angles in all of this.

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Gilbert: You’ve written several books: Could you give us a short synopsis of what they are about and where to find them.

Matt Goldberg: Thank you, and for now, all of my books can be found on amazon, and soon again, via my website. For personalized/signed copies and other author and fundraiser events, the best way is to contact me via matt@tipofthegoldberg.com. Okay, here goes, from least to most recent, along with my top-of-the-head descriptions:

    • So So Wisdom: The Misplaced Teachings of So So Gai – just your average, satiric look at a fictitious 19th Century Chinese philosopher and overeater, that is really more of a creation of self-deprecation. It’s breezy, humorous, hopefully inoffensive and great as a bathroom reader.
    • Mixed Emotions: Poetry for the Open-Minded – I don’t have much to add to that title, but will say it’s a highly eclectic set of poetry from youth through immaturity.
    • Wordapodia, Volume One: An Encyclopedia of Real, Fake Words – Word play on steroids? 250-plus created words and phrases with definitions, sample scenarios, background, interviews, quizzes, etc.
    • All That Twitters is Not Goldberg: Truthful Humor from a Vindicated Columnist – a compilation of serious, comedic, irreverent and resonant essays
    • A Snowball’s Chance: Philly Fires Back Against the National Media – Described above, this was a collaborative effort (with Joe Vallee, Billy Vargus and Ryan Downs) …aided by expert opinions of a number of Philly athletes and media members ….that serves to both defend and celebrate the oft-maligned Philadelphia sports fan.
  • Hot Ice Cream: Inspiring Life Lessons from Our Children – This is a series of anecdotes that feature the accidental and intentionally amusing and witty sayings and doings of my young son, Benny. My hope is that these anecdotes – from just out of the womb through age 6 – will resonate with readers, and remind them of their own sons/daughters, nephews/nieces and grandkids.

Gilbert: Hot Ice Cream is a more personal story about your beautiful son. What inspired you to write this book and will there be more books about Benny?

Matt Goldberg: It is personal, but I hope (and I have received feedback) that it is also universal. Capturing that juxtaposition is a balancing act, as I loosely chronicled some of his many sayings/doings that my wife Ruby and I found to be amusing, yet I also wanted Benny (as unique as he is) to stand for all children of a certain age.

The book started as a series of Facebook posts, and I was encouraged to compile them as a book. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this because of two dilemmas. Number One: Was it fair to “expose” Benny and our home to millions…would you believe thousands…of people? And secondly, would this just be a glorified “brag” book with nothing new to say? I don’t want to put anything out there that is simply generic, and I need for it to have some original idea behind it.

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I think that I satisfied the second dilemma by thinking a little deeper about these light moments. As a speaker, and also in the book, I explore why it’s important for parents to observe what I call The Three Is: Interact, Inquire and Inspire. I’ll leave it there for now, but each one of these leads to further explorations, and there are some legitimate life lessons throughout the book. As for the first dilemma, I discussed this internally and also with my wife, and don’t think that I crossed too far into the “shadowlands.”

Gilbert: How does Benny feel about Hot Ice Cream?

Matt Goldberg: I think that he enjoyed, and enjoys, it, and frankly, we’d all enjoy it more if it achieved the kind of success sales-wise that I envisioned. We still kid each other about some of his sayings, and our mutual dialogue. Just prior to completion…when he was six-and-a-half (I think, by age 9, we lose out “halves.”)… I wrote down one of his sayings that I thought was book-worthy. He turned to me, and said, “Dad, that’s not going to be in the book, is it?” I may have lied in response. Poetic license?

As for future writings about Benny, I did (and still) foresee Hot Ice Cream to be the vehicle in which I curate other people’s anecdotes and give it a humorous, yet purposeful structure. I’m kind of stuck in neutral, maybe in park, on that one. I did also write a little about him in “All That Twitters is Not Goldberg” and he sometimes makes his way into my speeches. I still haven’t completely solved the dilemma about how much to reveal, not that there are any dark secrets. It’s one of my many dualities: a somewhat private person who, at times, feels the need to be very honest and vulnerable.

Gilbert: What are you working on now?

Matt Goldberg: Mostly my wife’s nerves. I’d like to tell you that I am working on the next Hot Ice Cream, Wordapodia, So So Gai or sports book, but I’m not. I’m vaguely working on a book about public speaking, but I want my thoughts and philosophies to be fresh enough to put out there. I have been doing some professional book editing, and have spent some time honing and developing new speeches.

Gilbert: Which do you enjoy more: speaking or writing?

Matt Goldberg: The introvert in me enjoys writing more, although I do seek that connection when I write. The extrovert in me prefers speaking and bringing people together that way. So, let’s say speaking. No, writing. No “spriting.” Or is it “wreaking.” Maybe, I just enjoy wreaking. Wreaking havoc. But in a nice way.

Gilbert: What advice would you give someone who is interested in writing?

Matt Goldberg: My first advice is to simply do it…WRITE…keep exercising those muscles! Be yourself, and develop confidence in your own ideas, and your own style(s). It is also helpful to keep reading, which reminds me to get lost again in a good book or two. Writing isn’t always lucrative, and if you’re a perfectionist, the process can be torturous. But, it doesn’t have to be the latter, and it can even be the former. (Unfortunately, I’m saying that from second and third-hand experience. For now.) Most of all, enjoy the process and take comfort in the truth that nobody can strip you of your own thoughts, ideas and words.

Gilbert: Thank you so much, Matt, for this interview and for your book, Hot Ice Cream. I am looking forward to meeting Benny one day. Matt Goldberg can be found on Facebook, Twitter and on his website. He also welcomes contact via his email: matt@tipofthegoldberg.com

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2 Responses to “Gilbert Speaks to Humorist and Author, Matt Goldberg”

  1. mattgold44 January 15, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    Many thanks for the interview, Marie. Great questions (and I daresay, pretty good answers)!

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