By Ann Mayhew ‘13Staff Writer
Liz Logelin graduated Scripps College in 2000 ready to start life with her high school sweetheart, Matt Logelin. Eight years later, 27 hours after the delivery of their daughter Madeline, tragedy struck the Logelins: Liz died from a pulmonary embolism. Devastated, Matt focused on raising his daughter and coping with his grief. He had been maintaining a blog to keep friends and family updated on the delivery process, and after the death of his wife he continued updating as a means to keep this connection and to cope with his grief.
On April 18 Logelin visited Scripps College to read and answer questions about Two Kisses for Maddy, the memoir that grew out of his blogs. The book tells of Logelin’s life with Liz, Liz’s death and the first couple of years raising Madeline. Before Monday’s reading, Ann Mayhew (’13) contacted Logelin at his Los Angeles home for a telephone interview.
Ann Mayhew: How did you make the move from a blog to a book?
Matt Logelin: That was extremely, extremely difficult. I’d had very little writing experience in the past. And so to take stories I had written about on the blog and be able to transform them in the way I had written them in the book was extremely difficult for me. I really had to go back into my mind as much I could and think of the details. I had to go back and look at the photographs and piece all of that together. I felt like I was doing research on my own life.
AM: Could you elaborate on the feeling of how Madeline got you through your grief? I imagine that, for some people in a similar situation, they would have an opposite reaction.
ML: I think you’re right; there are people who have the opposite reaction. For me, I didn’t see any other choice. Madeline was my choice. When Liz died I was just completely destroyed. I didn’t know what I was going to do. But I knew that because I had a daughter, and I had my own life, I knew that life had to continue on in some way. There had to be some way that we could continue on and try to find happiness. And the only happiness I had at the moment was Madeline.
AM: Have you ever felt odd about the fact that your blog has gotten so many strangers involved with your life?
ML: I think that, if somebody had told what was going to result from all of this—if somebody had said, ‘You’re going to write a blog and in a couple of months you’re going to have all these people reading it, and within a year you’ll be on Oprah, and then you’ll be writing a book and all that,’ I would have shut the blog down for sure.
But, it’s this important idea of community that popped up. The fear that I originally [carried] disappeared quickly because I realized that these people cared. They were reaching out in the only way they knew how. I either had to embrace it or run away from it completely, so I just embraced it. Now, some of my best friends I have in the world are people I met through the blog. It’s really incredible.
AM: How do you feel about your visit to Scripps College? Have you been back to Scripps since Liz went here?
ML: I’ve been back just once. I was there last year. Some of her friends were there for her 10-year reunion and I went with Maddy. I really, really wanted to go.
One of my first memories of going to Scripps is of Liz picking me outside [Honnold Gate]. I remember being dropped off by the Super Shuttle on Columbia Avenue at that archway. She was in Clark in the first year, and I remember that because she had a triple. And I walked through that same archway and holding Maddy’s hand, and it was a really surreal thing for me. Just 14 years before, Liz waiting for me out on the corner.
Every time I would come into town, Liz would always cut roses for me and put them in her room in a little vase. It was incredible to watch Madeline walk through the Rose Garden. Somebody cut a rose off of one of the bushes and gave it to her; I have this great photo of her just walking around with this rose. And I just thought, ‘I miss Liz so much in this moment.’ At the same time, it so nice to be there. I’m really thankful for that opportunity.
I’m doing a lot of readings, but the one I’m most excited about, the one I’m most nervous about, the one that I’m anticipating and looking forward to the most is the reading at Scripps. It’s just an incredible honor for me to be able to come back to the place where Liz went to school. Someday when I can tell Madeline about it, it’s just one of those things that I know I’m going to be thankful for the rest of my life. Nothing could be better than this. I’m just really happy that you guys are going to have me out there.
Matt Logelin’s visit to Scripps was the second in a nationwide book tour. Two Kisses for Maddy was released on April 14. Logelin has tentative plans to write a second book, about his international travels with Maddy while working on his first book.