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Combs & Underland Down The Rabbit Hole With...

Hayley Matto πŸ’™

By Proud ViM ProductionsPublished 2 months ago β€’ Updated 2 months ago β€’ 17 min read
Dallee and Canva cobbled

A returner to Vocal, Hayley is a the kind of writer whose pens shoots bullets of truth straight into the soul. Evoctive and beautiful, her words never fail to capture hearts. Currently a student of Enlish and Creative writing, in between her studies she works as a bartender and in an office - making sure to sneak in plenty of snuggles with her beloved feline family, CHARLIE BEAN. Not to mention her new role as a Voices in Minor mod! You can also check out her Instagram account here.

Hayley Matto

(Usual chit chat- We won't bore you with the hellos)

Underland: So let’s start with writing then- how did that journey start for you?

Hayley Matto: Writing was something I fell into by accident, more or less, actually. I like lots of high school kids who took refuge in my English teachers' classrooms for most lunch breaks, haha, and my love for writing started there! I started my college journey back in 2015, actually studying Sociology, but it didn't take long for me to realize that my little side hobby of writing was actually way more interesting to me... and I've been hooked ever since!

MC: Who is your favorite writer?

Hayley Matto: Oooh that's a tough one! I think one of my favorites is Melissa Broder. I read her book So Sad Today in 2017 and it really got my gears going about how writing can be 'ugly' sometimes. Raw is a better word I think, sharing the real stuff is what brings us all together. It's often the most uncomfortable stuff that resonates and connects us the best! Another good one by her is Milk Fed. I think it came out in 2021. As far as poetry goes, I almost hate to say it- Charles Bukowski is an interesting one. He most definitely is controversial (especially some of his pieces on women and past lovers) but he was a genuine writer and definitely pushed the boundaries of being honest and authentic in his work.

Underland: I haven't read anything by him and he's been on my list forever! Need to sort myself out! Is there a writer you feel that you are most like?

Hayley Matto: Oh, I don't think I have really ever thought about that one. To be honest, I'm not sure. My style is very prose-heavy. As much as I appreciate the structure and rules poetry can have, I'm definitely more of a loose stream of consciousness kinda gal.

Underland: Same! So you've said you are a poetry 'nerd.' When/how did poetry first come into your life, and who are you loving RN?

Hayley Matto: One of my first college experiences, (once I decided writing was the path for me), I joined an extracurricular editing team! I worked with them for a semester editing other students' works for a student magazine. It spanned from story stories and poetry all the way into painting and other media. I was part of the poetry team, and it was just so inspiring to read all my fellow peers' work! I moved shortly after that semester to Oregon, and the supervisor for the project reached out and asked that I write for the magazine anonymously. I sent in five pieces and of them, three made the cut. It was so fun knowing my works were going through the same tests I had been a part of for many others. And right before publication my supervisor switched my name back and shocked all my editor friends that I worked alongside. I think that definitely launched me hard into sticking with poetry and falling more and more in love with the process. My pen name was 'Penny Blossom' for no particular reason other than it was the first to come to mind haha! I don't think I have any well-known poetry authors I'm reading at the moment; my attention has been set on the ViM group and Vocal in general lately. But I'd love to give a shoutout to Em Keel's (Sleepy Drafts) and Poppy ThePoet; those ladies are killer!! I enjoy both their styles so much.

Underland: So, where are you from originally?

Hayley Matto: Tiny town of Gilroy, California. Fun fact: it's the garlic capital of the world! We definitely have no vampires here, haha! But once I hit 18, I moved around a lot!!

Underland: I love garlic! So your studying English- Who's on the syllabus?

Hayley Matto: This week, we have Mary Shelley's Frankenstein! And recently, we just read Anna Laetitia Barbaurd's poem The Rights of Woman. Which if I am remembering correctly was written in 1773... but it's a powerful one I definitely recommend!

Underland: Niiiice. Love Frankenstein- force my kids to read it even now- I like literature that crosses over curriculum boundaries- its great one for capturing the 'science' kids as well as the lit lot! Shelley's done me a lot of favours! You're relatively new to Vocal so what prompted the decision to sign up?

Hayley Matto: I love that!! Great way to get kids interested; there are stories out there for every growing mind!! A little embarrassing… I actually joined vocal back in 2021; I put out maybe 13 pieces back then. It was a stuck-in-COVID lockdown desperation to connect with people thing. But I think my approach was all wrong. I posted entries that were old, not that there's anything wrong with sharing old material! But it wasn't connecting in the sense that it was all things from my past. I got discouraged and distracted as life kicked back up again. But most recently, I went through a major breakup and another big move back to my hometown. I hadn't lived here in nearly eight years. And so I decided to hop back onto vocal to see what was brewing in the world of fellow creatives and to post my healing/processing journey in hopes it stuck with others. I'm all about that human connection, and really think it's important to share the tough stuff. We are all a lot less alone then sometimes it feels, and relating through writing is such a good reminder of that!

Underland: I quit Vocal on a weekly basis for the first 3 months 🀣 Now it's just monthly! So why a moderator on ViM?

Hayley Matto: I have had an incredibly hard time adjusting back to being in my hometown, and the breakup was one of seven years, known them for twelve... and so in lue of my last answer- Vocal has really been serving as an outlet and an escape! I started noticing names of some of the members often popping up, Caroline Craven, Poppy, Em, both you and Mother and was delighted not just by all of your writings but the way you all interacted with everyone else. The community looked so inviting and kind! And once I joined I knew I wanted to be part of the amazing crew that created this wonderful community! Sort of a pay it back for all the joy it's brought me in this tough time, and to continue making a safe place for others! ❀

MC: I'm glad you asked for the mod position. ❀ You've been a great asset to the team

Hayley Matto: Dawhh, thank you!! I'm so grateful to be on board!

MC: What story on vocal of yours do you most suggest others to read?

Hayley Matto: ohhh that's another tough one.. I think I have to go with Glass Ceiling

MC: What would you like them to take away from the story?

Hayley Matto: It was my first piece once I came back onto Vocal in years, and the one that made me realize maybe I have a story to tell that will hit home for others. I wrote it after a really angry walk one day, and posting it was kind of a 'screw it' moment! But after seeing people relate to it and share their stories and feelings with me because of it, it really made me so so so excited and motivated to keep at writing, not just for school or work, but for myself and to connect with others!!

Underland: That is the joy of writing, at the heart of it, for sure! So, what do you plan on doing after you graduate?

Hayley Matto: That's a great question, and one I've been asking myself often. πŸ˜… I would love to get published (but I think we all know that struggle all too well). But finding a job that allows for creativity would be great, or one in the world of editing/writing. I may continue my studies, I have an interst in Psychology as well, and find that it lends itself quite often to the writing world. Or may try and travel! (I've lived up and down California, Oregon, and Texas, but would really love to, at the very least, visit more places/meet more people.) I'm really all over the place with what’s next if you can't tell, haha.

Underland: I got a Celta straight out of uni and went to South Korea...maybe if you're not entirely sure, best decision I ever made. I mean if you want to travel and the pay is great but just the experience.

Hayley Matto: That's awesome!! I'll definitely have to check something like that out. My best friend did something similar and is having the time of her life in Paris right now. Haha

Underland: Have you visited them?

Hayley Matto: I have not, but it's also somewhere deep down on my todo list. I have been all around the US, but never out of it!! It would be amazing to go visit my bestie!

Underland: When you're not writing/reading/studying...what are you up to?

Hayley Matto: Outside of writing, I work part-time at an office job, and sometimes bartending... trying my best to side hustle if you know what I mean. (Don't tell my boss, but we are dipping into my break time here at the office job today shhhh!) I also am in school three days out of the week. But I try my best to keep a notebook or my phone close, jotting down inspo whenever and wherever it strikes, never knowing where the next story or poem will come from!

MC: Your favorite pet?

Hayley Matto: CHARLIE BEAN! She is my whole world, this little one. I have had her for 8 years now, she's moved with me everywhere. If soul pets are a thing, she is definitely mine!!

Charlie Bean

One of my fav's of her in "Chaos Mode" for the laughs haha

Charlie Bean- Chaos!

Underland: Aw, she's gorgeous! How'd you get the name?

Hayley Matto: I got her when she was 4 months old, and the shelter had named her Cheri (shay-ree) and it sounded too formal for her tiny cuteness. And I have always liked names that could be rather gender-neutral, masculine, or feminine. So Charlie was chosen! Through the years Bean has stuck to, I'm not entirely sure why or how (perhaps related to toe beans) but she responds to it just the same as Charlie nowadays. (here may be a better pic for the article, but totally can use any and all)

MC: She's beautiful

Hayley Matto: Thank you, she's so spoiled. Are either of you cat people?

MC: I have two cats myself, and four dogs. Or should I say they have me.

Underland: Yeah..I have three, Mowgli, Akela, and Poe (as in Edgar Allen) Could not live without my paws

Hayley Matto: Me either, fur babies are everything!

Underland: True that! I legit cannot sleep if Aki's not snuggled next to me which is why I HATE going away these days! If you were to give advice to the younger you, what would you tell yourself at say 14?

Hayley Matto: To not be so afraid of being myself. I know that's pretty cliche. But I was so worried about being me that I think I stopped myself from a lot of opportunities. It's okay to go against the grain and flow sometimes, and don't be afraid to speak up. Being a wallflower does lead to some pretty great stories, sure... ha but so does ambition and going after adventure. I'd want little me to realize that a lot sooner!

Underland: Love that! And so true. But I think women generally are 'victims' of the 'madwoman' in the attic syndrome. We can't be multi-faceted/ Or I mean we can but ambition is 'frowned' upon. I look up to the women, whether I agree or disagree with their perspective, who have been like, yeah...screw that. Sorry #rant

Hayley Matto: Don't be sorry!! I totally agree!!

MC: Got to respect someone who stands for their beliefs

Underland: Who do you look up to generally?

Hayley Matto: Really racking my brain on this one. Maybe sort of random or odd choices, but the first two ladies that come to mind are Lana Del Rey & Jennette McCurdy. Not sure if either of you has heard of or read I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jannette McCurdy, but it's a good one. I have read it and am slowly listening to the audio version now. But she's someone near my age range and I've absolutely loved all the content coming from her. She's raw, and intense, and beyond honest in all that she produces. And I think that is just super brave and badass. She definitely holds qualities in her work that I would love to find on my own. She recently just put out and finished a podcast series called Hard Feelings, definitely worth the list if either of you are podcast people! Lana, on the other hand- I have always resonated with her music. She's another amazing example of a woman just telling her truth in very poetic songs. She's gotten a lot of hate through the years for how shameless she is in her music. But I think it's amazing!

Underland: Love Lana Del Ray, Summertime Sadness is a 'go-to' but not heard of Jannette- will definitely go snooping!

MC: Music. Who do you listen to?

Hayley Matto: Noah Kahan has been a super recent fav! Folk/Indie is my typical go-to, but I love a little bit of it all. Some other honorable mentions are Hozier, The 1975, Pheobe Bridgers, Lana Del Rey, and Olivia Rodrigo. I'm also a HUGE Crime Junkie. I listen every week to the Crime Junkie Podcast from Audio Chuck. Really anything Audio Chuck puts out is great!

Underland: Movies?

Hayley Matto: In no particular order but all favorites: Beach Bum by Harmony Korine, Magnolia by Paul Thomas Anderson, Fantastic Mr. Fox by Wes Anderson... and I'm sure I'm bound to get some eye-rolls here but I'm a sucker for any Adam Sandler movies, 50 First Dates, Big Daddy, all those silly feel-good ones!

Underland: Love it! So you're single now? Right? How's that going?

Hayley Matto: Haha yes Single as a Pringle! It's been rough... to put it lightly. Not in a plugging my own writing way- but most pieces that I have written since coming back to vocal have revolved around waking up from a breakup. This was a worst-case scenario, never saw it coming ending for him and me. And as I have been single, distanced, and maintained no contact I have really begun to process a lot of the really awful terrible things that happened in that relationship. 27 Club is one of my most favorite pieces I think I have ever created, I think mostly because it was so incredibly healing to write. Some positives that have come up from being single though, have been my writing, and a newfound appreciation for myself. I'm currently 26, and while I was with my ex for seven years I have known him and had been entangled with his life since I was 14. I spent a lot of those years navigating his mental health struggles and ignoring my own. Being single has allowed me to start to find myself again. Identify with whoever the heck Hayley is!

Underland: As hard as that may be I think it's one of those 'In the long run' kind of things. I loved 27 Club - it resonated so deeply, just the sacrifices we make for what we believe is love . What have you learned to love as part of being single?

Hayley Matto: My stress is my own. It's terribly hard to love someone so completely that their worries become your worries. Their well-being can begin to feel like your responsibility. Single life is teaching me to put myself first again. I know I'm a chronic People-Pleaser, I got it from my dad ha. It's been nice to realize I just need to take care of myself. Am I great at doing that? Not even a little, but I am working on it. And that's definitely something I was not even close to doing in that relationship.

Underland: Completely get that! What do you do to unwind? Like a 'Hayley' night in?

MC: Or out for that matter.

Hayley Matto: I love me some Earl Grey tea haha, I always end my day with a cup of that and typically some kinda silly show, I'm a board game nerd haha and love watching DND streams or podcasts, I'm also a fan of Good Mythical Morning on youtube, they are loads of fun, wouldn't be surprised to find members of ViM are secretly Mythical Beast's themselves. (Fans of GMM). As I mentioned before I bartend! If I'm with the right group of pals I love a good night on the town, karaoke watching with a good cocktail in hand is always fun!

Underland: Go to cocktail?

Hayley Matto: I'd put money on my own Lemon Drop 😏 and that's often a go-to. A good espresso martini hits the spot too! And not a cocktail- but I'm a sucker for Sours! They can be hard to find but I'm always on the hunt for a good sour beer.

MC: Go to snack food/party food?

Hayley Matto: Taquitos... in any form, mini tacos... sign me up for either! haha and not really a food but Dr. Pepper, that soda has my heart. I try not to drink it often but a treat every once in a while hits the spot!

Underland: I'm questioned out! Is there anything you'd like to add?

Hayley Matto: I don't think so... other than the BIGGEST THANK YOU to the both of you. It's been an absolute pleasure talking with both of you. I didn't think it was possible to feel any more loved and part of this community but you both have done it!! Thank you so much for you're time today, it was a blast and definitely made my office day go by a little faster. πŸ˜‰

Underland: AW we've loved it- It was really great getting to know you a little bit more and so glad you are part of the team! x

Hayley Matto: I forgot to mention for the intro if you wanted to add my writing insta is Thoughts.By.She- it has all the same stuff as vocal just also a segment on books i've read and reviews (maybe one day I will stop being lazy and add that onto my vocal page too πŸ˜‚) But if you wanted to add that, that could be cool for any fellow book worms.

Underland: Definitely will!!

MC: Thank you for doing the interview with us, Hayley. I really appreciate it. Enjoy the rest of your day. I'm going to bounce out of the rabbit hole. Talk to you later on in the mod chat.

Hayley Matto: Thank you both so so so so so very much!! Have a lovely evening/morning or whatever time it is for you both! ❀ This was a pleasure!! See you guys in the main chat πŸ’• to celebrate some more ViM wins!!

We had an absolute blast getting to know Hayley- we hope you did too!


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Note: Queer Vocal Voices is only accepting members of the LGBTQ+ community at the moment, we will open up to allies in time!

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Comments (5)

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  • ROCK 2 months ago

    I loved learning more about you Hayley; of your favourite mentions, I picked up a couple goodies for my book group. Also, I made my daughter read Charles Bukowski at eighteen to get her to open up and see that there are writer's other than the Swedish school systems "English pics" which are generally long, dried out classic lit. that freaked her out. She has one book in her new studio apartment, " Quotes by Charles Bukowski." I think she latches on to his cynicism, I know I do. You are so young and talented. Your Charlie Bean is purrfectly adorable as well! Keep writing as you do! ROCK

  • Awww, Charlie Bean has my heart! Soooo adorable! πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯° Also, Glass Ceiling was the first piece of Hayley's that I read and was the first one to read it as well. That's when I subscribed to her! I hoped more people would read it and was so happy when it got a Top Story! I know Jennette McCurdy from iCarly and I heard about that book but I've not read it yet. She blew up and went viral for that book! I've only ever listened to one of ger songs but I can't recall the title now πŸ˜… Omgggg I loveeeeee true crime as well! I listen to Rotten Mango podcast by Stephanie Soo! Also, so sorry for your breakup. Sending you lots of love and hugs ❀️ Loved this interview!

  • Great interview, nice to see real creators interacting

  • sleepy drafts2 months ago

    This was *such* a delight to read!!! I loved learning more about you, Hayley. πŸ’— This was a simply wonderful interview. Your piece, '27 Club' is still one of my favourites. πŸ’— Also, thank you so much for the shout out!! Hayley, I am so sorry you went through such a horrible break up, but dang am I happy it lead you back here. πŸ’—πŸ’“

  • Hayley Matto2 months ago

    This was an absolute blast!! A big thank you to the ViM community, Celia & Mother Combs for this opportunity! πŸ’—

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