Poet draws on personal experience

Family stories were the inspiration for Matt Bains’ creative writing skills

By Ashley Emert

Photo by Andrea Huls
Matt Bains has been writing stories since seventh grade. He usually finds inspiration in people, different memories and random images that pop into his head. “Some people, like Faulkner, are genius enough to just have ideas of what to write,” he said. “I look to other people for that inspiration.”

Inspiration for a poem can sometimes come from the strangest of places. For Matt Bains, this interesting muse came in the form of a stable worker shoveling horse manure.

The senior based his poem, “The Horse Stable,” on that experience, and it was published in the spring 2006 edition of the Flagler Review. This year, he is the Senior Editor of the literary journal.

Bains said he usually finds inspiration in people and random flashes of memories. One of his stories was about a father who was trying to make his kids happy by setting up a tent for them.

“The whole story came from an image that just popped into my head,” he said.

From the time he was young, Bains remembers his family telling stories.

“It was sort of like our ‘family time,'” he said. He first started writing stories down when he was in seventh grade, but didn’t take it seriously until the end of high school.

The first story that he remembers writing was from middle school and it was about a knight. “It was a really fantastical story,” he said. “Now everything is painfully realistic, and it’s about the characters and what they’re going to do.”

In addition to creative writing, Bains also writes for Art and Design, a new local magazine about the St. Augustine art world. “I like the interview process. It’s something different,” said Bains. “In a way, writing a profile is still like writing a story because you’re telling this person’s life story.”

The writer feels like all of the literature classes he has taken have contributed to his ability to write his original work. He said, “Everything that’s been introduced to me, I take something from it.” Even if Flagler had a creative writing major, he said that he would double-major in English because “reading literature adds so much to it.”

Bains said that after he graduates in the spring, he plans on taking some time off of scholarly pursuits and wants to travel. He would like to find inspiration in other places and people. After that, he would like to go to graduate school and get his master’s degree in fine arts.

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