Matthew Spangler: American Playwright Exploring the Immigrant Experience

“Matthew Spangler’s body of work is distinguished for the deep humanity and ethical sensibility he brings to life on stage and through his incisive scholarship. His work moves across boundaries of nationality, race, and culture to create narratives of compassion and empathy transcending difference.”

Matthew Spangler is a playwright, director, and professor of performance studies at San José State University in the San Francisco Bay Area.

His adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner received five San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Awards: Best Original Script, Best Overall Production, as well as awards for Lighting Design, Scenic Design, and Sound Design (produced by the San Jose Repertory Theatre; directed by David Ira Goldstein). Described as "a haunting tale of friendship which spans cultures and continents" The Kite Runner follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption. "Afghanistan is a divided country on the verge of war and two childhood friends are about to be torn apart. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Kabul and the skies are full of the excitement and joy of a kite flying tournament. But neither Hassan or Amir can foresee the terrible incident which will shatter their lives forever."

Hosseini’s original book has sold 31.5million copies worldwide and has been translated into 60 different languages. Now an A-Level set text, the show will appeal to students and those familiar with the story, as well as those discovering the powerful narrative for the first time.

His other plays include Tortilla Curtain, adapted from the novel by T.C. Boyle, which received an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award and was a finalist for the San Diego Theatre Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Play.

Matthew Spangler receives the Leslie Irene Coger Award for Live Performance from the National Communication Association (2017)

Emy diGrappa (00:00):

Hello, my name is Emy diGrappa. Each week, we bring you stories, asking our guests the question, "Why?" We learn about passion, purpose, and the human experience. Brought to you by Wyoming Humanities with the generous support of the Wyoming Community Foundation, this is What's Your Why.

                 Today, we are talking to Matthew Spangler. Matthew is a playwright, director, and professor of Performance Studies at San Jose State University in the San Francisco Bay Area. Welcome, Matthew.

Matthew Spangler (00:50):

Great, thank you. I'm honored to be here.

Emy diGrappa (00:52):

You're wel- honored to have you. And I've been reading your bio, and, it's, like, oh my gosh, does this man sleep at night? That's what I wanted to ask you (laughs). 'Cause you've done so much and so many diverse things. But the first thing I want to ask so that we can get to know you on a personal level is where did you grow up?

Matthew Spangler (01:14):

Well, I grew up in Casper. Um, my dad also is born and raised in Wyoming and my grandma, uh, was born in Wheatland and grew up on a farm there so my family goes back several generations, uh, in the state.

Emy diGrappa (01:29):

Okay, what did your dad do for a living?

Matthew Spangler (01:31):

He was a judge. Uh, his dad was also a judge so my granddad. Um, and I think they hoped I would go to law school, you know, when I was in high school. I think that was sort of my dad's vague hope was that I would be the third generation of judges in the family. Uh, but I didn't do that. Uh...

Emy diGrappa (01:49):

Well, yeah.

Matthew Spangler (01:49):

Uh, well, I did something different but...

Emy diGrappa (01:52):

Well, how many brothers and sisters do you have?

Matthew Spangler (01:55):

I have two. Two younger brothers.

Emy diGrappa (01:56):

Oh okay. So three boys in the family. Are any of them judges?

Matthew Spangler (02:00):


Emy diGrappa (02:01):


Matthew Spangler (02:01):

Uh, no. One's in the army. Uh, he's a major in the army. Uh, and the other one does light design for theater and corporate events.

Emy diGrappa (02:09):

Oh, okay. So you, the two of you actually went the artistic route.

Matthew Spangler (02:14):

Yeah, I suppose so. Yeah, two of us went into the arts and the middle one went into the military.

Emy diGrappa (02:19):

Oh, that's, that's interesting. Especially when, uh, your dad had a different vision for you for your life (laughs). Well, what, what drew you to the arts?

Matthew Spangler (02:28):

Well, you know, I had some incredible, uh, teachers, at, in Casper. As you know in the introduction here, I live in California now and I am a professor at San Jose State and then I'm a playwright outside the university. And I wouldn't have done any of those things if it wasn't for some just terrific teachers I had, um, in high school. Uh, in, at Natrona County High School in Casper.

                 Shoot I had, a AP English Teacher Tom Ring, who was just amazing. And a French and Russian teacher who's still there, Scott Underbrink, still teaches French and Russian at NC. But if it weren't for those folks and other teachers too, I had a great orchestra teacher Paul Fox but I mentioned these people because they just kind of introduced me to a world of thinking and literature and reading, um, and, uh, just kind of never left that. So I, I attribute it to the folks that I knew in high school as teachers.

Emy diGrappa (03:22):

So what was your journey out of Wyoming? Because I read in your bio that you first went t-to get your BS at Northwestern University, right?

Matthew Spangler (03:33):

Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Yeah, Northwestern as you may know is a little bit North of Chicago. And, uh, so when I left Wyoming, I wanted to... Or I should say when I graduated high school, you know, like a lot of kids I wanted something different. I wanted to experience a different way of life. Um, so I was looking for maybe a university in an urban setting, um, I was looking at Northwestern, Georgetown, schools like that. And I wanted to study theater, and, uh, Northwestern has, had then, and still has a very good theater program. So, when I got admitted there, uh, I was, you know, decided to take the chance and jump and see what life would be like in Chicago.

Emy diGrappa (04:11):

And so have you, uh, worked in theater yourself? Because your degrees are in Performance Studies, but have you worked on the stage?

Matthew Spangler (04:20):

Yeah, yeah, of course. You know, a lot of us who work in theater now, I do mostly playwriting, but almost all of us started as actors. You know, with your 17, 18, 19, 20, and into your 20s, almost everybody working in theater starts out as an actor because that's your first thing. You love it, you know, uh, and then as you get a little bit older you start to see who's really good at what and, you know, there were other people who were better actors than I am. Uh, and I ended up doing more directing and writing, um, which is what I do now.

Emy diGrappa (04:49):

What I found, um, as I've talked to quite a few people in theater and performance, and, and, learned, you know, about their, their lives. A lot of actors on the stage are actually introverts. Like, they come alive on the stage. Is that true?

Matthew Spangler (05:10):

Well, I think that probably is true. There's the stereotype of the theater person who's all extroverted and, you know, out there and whatever. But absolutely, I think for the, you know, if they're not introverts, then they feel more comfortable on stage playing the role of somebody else than, you know, they might be playing themselves in a social situation, you know.

                 Uh, yeah, and th- what, what, great comfort that is to step up on stage and get to be a different person. And you can really do no wrong when you're playing on stage as long as you say your lines, you know? (laughs) As long as you say the right line at the right time and don't trip on the furniture, you can do no wrong in a theater play. Because whatever choice you make, well, that's who the character is, you know. But in normal life, gosh, you can go wrong all over the place in social situations. So the stage can be a, a kind of, remarkably liberating place, uh, for a lot of people.

Emy diGrappa (06:07):

I, I think that's very true. And I've been professional dancer, so that's what I know about performance. But I think it would be so hard to be on a stage and memorize lines. What was the first play (laughs) that you remember that you w- were... really felt like you were at home on the stage?

Matthew Spangler (06:30):

Oh wow. Well I don't know. I mean I did theater throughout my time in high school in Casper and, you know, I remember doing my first play in grade school in Casper. I don't know, I've always felt comfortable in theater and it's such a, a remarkably collaborative art form, theater is. Because, you know, you've got the director and the cast and designers. You know, costume designer, set designer, music designer, sound designer, so you've got all these people working together on a production. And for people who like creating and that kind of very collaborative environment, theater can be super fun and satisfying.

                 So I think for me it was about that kind of collaborative creation. But then the other thing with theater is you have an opening date, you know, so you have to be ready by whatever the date is. February 19th, let's say that's your opening date. No matter what, you've got an audience that's coming in on February 19th to see the show. And you've gotta be ready for them. Um, and so that's also particular. You know, a novelist can live with their novel for years and years and years and they can revise it and, and, you know, send it out when they think it's truly ready.

                 Theater doesn't work that way. Gosh, February 19th rolls around and no matter what you've got, you've got to stand up on the stage and perform for an audience. And I suppose I find that very energizing about that art form. Music is that way too, I suppose. You know, if you're in music you've got a concert date and you have to be ready for it. Uh, but those live performance forums, um, are great for that because it's always risky and you don't know if you're gonna get it put together in time. (laughs) You know?

Emy diGrappa (06:30):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matthew Spangler (08:11):

But it's a lot of fun for that.

Emy diGrappa (08:12):

And why script writing? What, what made you think that that was something that you were gonna jump into? Wh- what is your passion about that?

Matthew Spangler (08:23):

Well, I left undergraduate in Chicago and I went to Ireland to for a Master's degree. I studied at a school there called Trinity College which is in the center of Dublin. And in those days, Dublin had a lot of immigrants that were moving in. Uh, refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants from all over the world were coming to Dublin to be part of their high-tech industry, uh, which was growing in Ireland at the time. And I just found in the Master's degree program that I was in, which was also theater, that a lot of my friends were immigrants from various place. And I, I spent with them and I sort of saw Irish life through their eyes.

                 And then we started doing theater together about immigrant experiences and what does it mean to be a person of color living in Ireland. And then I sort of brought some of that back, uh, to the United States where I did my PhD at North Carolina in Chapel Hill. And so for me I think it, it kind of came about, and a lot of my plays now are about immigrant experiences. And I think that's why. It was something that started for me 20, 25 years ago when I was in school and I just found that a lot of my friends were people who were immigrating in and then we were creating art about their experiences of living in this place. Um, and I've sort of never left that.

                 So why writing? Well I don't, I don't know. I suppose as a writer you kind of get to decide what the project is and that's fun. You know, an actor has to audition for a 100 pieces and you get cast in one and then that's the one that you have to do. But a writer actually gets to decide because you, you decide what you want to write about. Um, and a lot of my plays are adaptations. I adapt, um, books of writers, often. Not always, but often I adapt a, a writer's book for the stage.

                 My most produced play's an adaptation of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini who, uh, some listeners of this might know the book, it's a very popular book. But Khaled himself came to the United States as a refugee from Afghanistan and the book is also about a father and son who come to California, uh, from Kabul, Afghanistan. Uh, and so that's my most produced play. But it's fairly typical of the sort of work that I would do is to work with somebody like Khaled and, and turn the book into a play. You know, and then see that be performed.

Emy diGrappa (10:32):

So what, what are the challenges because I can see, like you were saying earlier, about someone who writes a novel and can take a lot of time developing character and developing the whole, you know, scene about, you know, painting that picture in someone's mind. And in theater, you, you have this moment, you know, where you have to give that description, develop that character very quickly. What, what do you find the most challenging about that?

Matthew Spangler (11:01):

Yeah, I think the most challenging (laughs) thing about theater is to just hold the audience's attention. Like, you, whatever's on stage has to hold the attention of the audience, and if it doesn't, well, that's, that's deadly. They get bored (laughs). They might leave (laughs). Worst case scenario, people start walking out of your show. If there's an intermission and you look over the audience and notice that it's somewhat smaller than it was before the intermission, uh, you know, that just crushes your soul a little bit, uh, as you're into the second act.

                 And I think that's the, the biggest challenge of theater, is holding an audience's attention. At the same time, being true to the themes, uh, and subject matter that you want to be true to. You know, so you can't just get up there and put on Christmas lights and do a dance and hold the audience's attention, like, you- you're also trying to be true to whatever's the story you're trying to tell. So you're trying to be true to this, like, really, whatever important story that you wanna share with an audience. And at the same time, hold their attention for two hours. You know, that's hard.

Emy diGrappa (12:09):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). I agree. And, and I would say, you know, because you adapted The Kite Runner to the stage. And that person is still alive, you know, right? They're still alive and they're probably critical, you know. Because they wrote a book and they have, you know, opinions about what you're doing. So how does that work?

Matthew Spangler (12:34):

Well, everybody's different, absolutely. Every writer's different in how they relate to their works and they relate to an adaptation of it, you know. Khaled Hosseini is just about the most generous and kind person you can possibly imagine. Um, we would get together to meet. We both live close to each other here in the San Francisco Bay Area. And so we would meet at a Starbucks and I would bring drafts of the script and we'd read them together. And (laughs) he would say things like, "Now, you're the expert on playwriting so I don't know if I wanna suggest this, but what would you think about changing this or that?" And I'm like, "What, you're Khaled Hosseini. You wrote The Kite Runner. Of course we'll change this or that." You know? (laughs) But he was always so deferential to me as a writer of theater that, you know, it, it was almost embarrassing, uh, how kind he is.

                 But everybody's different, you know, that's what it was like working with him. It was a really great experience because of his generosity and his kindness. You know, other writers on the other end of the spectrum are maybe less interested. They might say, "Oh, I re- really don't have time to read the script. Just tell me when opening night is and if I can be at the theater I will." (laughs) That's the other end of the spectrum is a writer who's like, "I'm working on other projects now. Great that you want to adapt my book but I don't have time to work with you on it. Just let me know when the show opens". So somewhere along those two spectrums is where most people are as writers when they see their work adapted, yeah.

Emy diGrappa (14:01):

So when you read the book, 'cause you read the book and then, you, you just could envision this in your mind. You could see how this was going to be something, the story wor- worth telling on, on the stage.

Matthew Spangler (14:15):

Yeah, absolutely. So in terms of my own journey, I mentioned I went to Ireland and did a Master's degree and, and came back with a real interest in immigration and the arts, uh, which I pursued in, uh, a PhD program at North Carolina Chapel Hill. And then I was hired as a professor here, at San Jose State in California. So I moved out here, then. And I read Kite Runner within the first, what, month or two of living here. You know, 'cause I was trying to read some books that are set locally. I was thinking about books I would want to teach in my classes that my students might want to be interested in. So I was reading a literature set in the San Francisco Bay Area.

                 And I read Kite Runner, uh, had recently been, might've been, been published a year before. I read it about a year after it was published. And yeah, it's a great story. Gosh, I mean, it's, it's a first person narrative, it's got highs and lows. It's got humor. And so Khaled and I had a mutual friend, another professor at San Jose State. And through this guy I emailed Khaled Hosseini and said, you know, introduced myself and said, "What do you think about a play based on your book?" Uh, and it kind of went from there.

Emy diGrappa (15:19):

That's like the dream story right? (laughs)

Matthew Spangler (15:20):


Emy diGrappa (15:21):

That's like, and then, for it to receive so many awards and accolades. I've been reading about that. And I would love to see the theater piece, it sounds beautiful. One thing that was really coming to mind when you were talking earlier about refugees and immigrants and the times we live in right now, it almost sounds like a lot's changed but nothing's changed. (laughs) It's a very interesting, you know, to hear you talk about it. And, what are, what are your feelings about that?

Matthew Spangler (15:56):

Yeah, well I teach courses about refugees and asylum seeking and how those, uh, communities are represented in the arts. Um, so in my day job, so to speak, at the university, that's what I would be teaching. So I think about that a lot, of course, you know. I mean, gosh, what can you say? We've got, um, 80 million people in the world who are displaced which means that they've been forced out of their home due to some sort of political violence. That's about one in 100 people on the planet are in that situation, which is very high.

                 It's the highest that number's ever been in human history. You know, and so, since the 50's, we've had this refugee agreement throughout the world, um, that allows refugees to apply, and if they get termed- determined to fit the category of fleeing from political persecution, then they can be resettled in a host country like the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland, you know. And the US, I would point out, is the world's refugee resettlement leader. We've resettled more refugees in this country than any other country in the world, um, since the 1980's we've resettled about three million people, uh, which is more than anywhere else.

                 You know, so what we're seeing in recent years is, uh, the kind of, from some parts of the United States, the sort of anti-refugee sentiment that we saw, certainly in the previous administration, and what we see in certain corners of the US population, is unusual historically. Like, we've been a refugee resettlement home for many, many years, uh, for people around the world. And so the anti-refugee, uh, sentiment is, uh, somewhat new.

                 Now, of course, we've had anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States for, ever since the country was founded. You know, the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 1880s. We have a long history in this country (laughs) of being anti-immigrant. Uh, but being anti-refugee specifically is relatively new, uh, in the United States. You know, in the 80s, we were proudly settling people from Afghanistan, Vietnam, uh, and other countries. Um, and so, that's somewhat of a new sentiment, uh, to my mind.

Emy diGrappa (18:06):

So how do, how do you make that distinction between refugees and immigrants? If someone was to ask you that question, what is the difference?

Matthew Spangler (18:14):

Absolutely. Well I'd say, uh, not all refugees see themselves as immigrants. So a lot of refugees will say to you, "I'm not an immigrant and you need to understand that." And what they mean when they say that... and not every refugee says that. But some of them do. And what they mean by that is, an immigrant, uh, we would think of as somebody who chooses to move. Uh, somebody who says, "Oh, I want to go to this other place and live there. Because I think it'll be better. I think it'll be whatever. I've got a job there, I might make more money there."

                 Whereas refugees have moved because they were forced to move. And th- they didn't want to move (laughs). Like, if they had the choice, they wouldn't have moved. They would stay in their home. Uh, but their home got bombed. Aleppo got destroyed and they couldn't live there anymore. And which of us wouldn't do whatever we could for our children? I've got a 10 year old child- uh, son, you know, and if my town here in the San Francisco Bay Area was being bombed, I wouldn't stay here. I would do anything I could to save his life and protect him, and I would jump on a boat and go somewhere. Uh, and I wouldn't want to do it. But I would be forced to do it. And that's what's particular to the refugee experience is that they didn't choose to leave, they were forced out. And all things being equal, they wouldn't have left. So it's a very particular type of immigrant.

Emy diGrappa (19:37):

Right, and I, and I think that's really interesting because a lot of immigrants see themselves in that way. That they're moving because there is no food, there is no job, there is no way to support their families. They have to move, maybe it's not for, you know, the same reasons as a refugee. For political perse- persecution, or whatever, but they're still leaving because they can't stay.

Matthew Spangler (20:06):

Yeah, that's absolutely right. I mean the vast majority of people, whether they're refugees or immigrants or whatever, would choose to stay in their home, you know, their home region, uh, if they could. But for whatever reason that home has become n- not livable, you know. And, uh, with climate change over the next, uh, however many years, uh, that's gonna produce even more migrations of people who can no longer live in a particular place because maybe the climate has changed. It's become literally too hot to live in that place anymore. Or the water has dried up and there's literally no more water in this place. And so people will have to move. Uh, and I think we'll see over the coming years, people moving for climate reasons.

                 Which will be complicated. Because as a legal matter, those people wouldn't be considered refugees if you're leaving because of a climate disaster. That does not fit the legal definition of a refugee. So you can't get refugee status if you're leaving for a climate reason. Um, you know, so that's gonna be a thing, right? Do we go back and revisit as a global community, the definition of refugee, to accommodate people who are fleeing for climate.

                 We probably won't do that, um, I don't imagine the global community's gonna rethink the definition of a refugee to make it broader and more inclusive (laughs) than it currently is. Um, so what you're gonna see is a lot of people moving who don't, won't get that sort of refugee status. The other reason you can't get ref- is if you're leaving for economic reasons. You know, if you're leaving because your economy is bad. Well that doesn't earn you refugee status, either. You have to be fleeing persecution due to one of five very narrow, um, and specific reasons, having to do with race, religion, nationality, and political opinion. Uh, but if you don't fit those categories, you technically can't get refugee status.

Emy diGrappa (21:59):

That's really interesting. And one of, one of the, um, plays you're working on right now is called The Tortilla Curtain, is that correct?

Matthew Spangler (22:07):

That's one of my older plays, that's right. I wrote that about 10 years ago. More than that, my goodness. I wrote Tortilla Curtain 12 years ago, uh, it's based on a book, uh, by T.C. Boyle, of the same name. And it's about, that book is about two people from Mexico who come to Los Angeles and try to create a life for themselves.

Emy diGrappa (22:27):

And so that's, that's more of an immigrant. That's someone who migrates here to make a life in the United States.

Matthew Spangler (22:33):

That's a very good point. Yeah, those folks in the book Tortilla Curtain would not likely get refugee status 'cause they probably couldn't prove that they were persecuted in their home. They're moving for economic reasons. Um, and that wouldn't get you refugee status for that. But I, I am working on a project now that's about Syrian refugees. I'm co-writing with, uh, an actor and author in London. And so the two of us meet about twice a week, um, we meet on Zoom and we write scenes and revise them and so we're writing a piece about Syrian refugees going to England.

Emy diGrappa (23:12):

That's gonna be interesting.

Matthew Spangler (23:13):

Yeah, working with him has been incredible. Gosh. You know, because of the time difference we do it at 6AM at my time. Uh, which is early for me, I'm not usually on the computer and working at six in the morning. Means getting up at five so I can have breakfast and get a cup of coffee and be ready for six. Um, but that's 2PM, uh, London time, so we don't wanna move it back too much because then it's too late for him.

Emy diGrappa (23:37):

All right. Well, there's so many interesting stories, uh, about people in all walks of life. And how they, you know, just how, you know, you ended up in Ireland because you chose to go study there. But then a lot of the people that you got to know were refugees. And it sounds like that became part of your heart story. Because, you got to know them on a personal level. And I think a lot of times, it's that personal connection. It's not about laws it's... Well, yes it is about laws. But I mean, when people feel empathy, and really have a heart to tell a story, it's about that personal connection.

Matthew Spangler (24:20):

Yeah, I suppose that's right, you know. We, uh, those of us in arts and academia probably study and, and focus on the things we do for very personal reasons. We met somebody or we have a friend who's this way or we experienced something ourselves, um, you know. And I suppose, uh, as long as we're talking about refugees, another I w- would say is that there's such a diverse community, you know, refugees are everybody. They're lawyers, they're teachers, they're doctors, they're politicians, right? Everybody is affected when a war happens in a place and you have to leave. And so they're not, you know, there are all sorts of people that end up becoming refugees is the point I'm making, and, um, uh, it's a pretty diverse, uh, group of people.

Emy diGrappa (25:04):

My final question is that, why the arts? How does the arts tell a controversial story and make an impact?

Matthew Spangler (25:13):

Yeah, well, it's kinda what you said a moment ago about empathy. You know the arts, if, if they do anything, they create moments of empathy. Uh, especially the performing arts and theater in particular. It's about coming into a theater. You sit there with a bunch of other live bodies in a space and you watch other live people on a stage tell you a story. And that is just set up to be an empathetic environment in, just in its very structure, theater is set up for telling stories about people who are maybe marginalized or lonely or dam- wounded, hurt in some ways. And, you know, the story then becomes this sort of public thing that people connect with and empathize with. And so, that's what the arts are all about. Sort of putting a human face on (laughs) the news stories or the numbers or the things that see in these cold, hard facts. You know, the arts are all about putting a human face on that and making it a source of empathy, life, love, all those things.

Emy diGrappa (26:11):

Well, I know I said that that was my last question, but it's not. Because, when I heard you talk, I wanted to know, when you've watched professional theater, and the things that have moved you, what, what have, what theater pieces have been your biggest inspiration?

Matthew Spangler (26:29):

Well, so many things, you know. I'll just mention, um, two of them quickly. I saw a piece in Scotland about 15 years ago that has really stuck with me. It was by a Polish company called Theater of the Goat. And it the piece was an adaptation of The Chronicles of Gilgamesh. And I'm not kidding you, it was an hour long, and it was all moment, no spoken language, hardly at all. It was all movement and physicality and dance. And there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Like, everybody was weeping.

                 How does dance and movement and music get an audience to cry? Like, that is amazing (laughs). Right? Like, you can say, "Oh, a moving story will get people to cry." Of course, it will. But how do you get people to cry because what you've created is just so incredibly perfect and beautiful, that people are, like, weeping in the audience? I can't tell you how they did it. But I know that as a theater practitioner, watching that, I've, uh, I think back to that piece all the time because it was truly the sort of magic, um, of live performance.

Emy diGrappa (27:36):

Right, and you said, "I wanna do that." (laughs)

Matthew Spangler (27:40):

Well, yeah, I mean if you can try to capture that in your, you've captured something pretty important. You know, it's like, lightning in a bottle, if you can get that into your, uh, theater piece, you've got a, a really special piece. You know, Hamilton does that. That was the other piece I'm gonna say. I mean, so many people are mo- uh, influenced by Hamilton because it's such a beautiful and great piece of theater. Yeah, for folks who have not seen that, uh, piece, it captures lightning in a bottle. I mean, there's a reason why that's probably the most famous piece of theater in the last however 100 years in this country, uh, because it is really great.

Emy diGrappa (28:15):

Well, it's been great talking to you, Matthew.

Matthew Spangler (28:18):

Well, thank you. As I said, I'm honored to be here. Thank you very much.

Emy diGrappa (28:21):

Yeah, well, it has been inspiring to me to talk to you, and know that you have this heart passion and you're making it work. And a lot of times, people have a heart passion but they don't know how to make it work. But you have figured that out, and so good for you.

Matthew Spangler (28:39):

It takes a long time. Uh, if there are any young people listening to this, I would say it can take a, it can take a long time. And just, just stick with it. Keep doing it. Next thing you know, uh, you will be the person who does that thing.

Emy diGrappa (28:51):

Right, and y- you've made a living, you've earned awards, you've obviously worked really hard to where you are today, so congratulations.

Matthew Spangler (29:00):

Thank you, honored to be here.

Emy diGrappa (29:01):

All right, take care.

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