By day he is a Dallas police officer. By night, he’s a Midlothian Talk celebrity and horror fiction writer. He can make you cry out of laughter and scream in horror.
For two years, Matt Rushing has written hilarious, witty recaps on the Midlothian Talk Facebook page. Though many people know him as the famous recapper, few know the author inside of him as it serves as one of the reasons he began writing the recaps in the first place.
Rushing has always wanted to be a horror fiction writer, so in 2016, when he won a short story contest through Amazon and his novella, "Dead Dogs," was published, he began writing short stories every day. When people told him about the Midlothian Talk Facebook page, he decided to join the page in hopes of advertising his book, not realizing the page held a “no advertising” policy. When admins deleted the post, Rushing began to scroll through the discussion page, which led the imaginary light bulb to go off in his head.
“Working in south Dallas, I’ve seen how hard it is for a lot of people to live — lower income, stuff like that,” Rushing said. “I would read every day about people just bitching and moaning, just complaining about the most trivial shit.”
One day after this realization, Rushing decided to post a round-up of everything he read on the page that day.
“I just trashed everybody,” he stated. “I was making fun of everyone who was complaining about this stuff, but I did it in a way that was just the most over-the-top satirical I could possibly get.”
The post received a lot of positive feedback, so he began to write them every day until he realized how overwhelming it became and shifted to a Monday through Friday schedule. Eventually one of the admins who founded the page, Robert Kidder, asked Rushing if he would be interested in being an admin to the group due to the positive light he brought.
“So basically, I made fun of everyone in the group – every single day – and then, they made me a cop of the group,” Rushing laughed.
His process behind the recaps is a full operation, as he wakes up mid-morning, takes a shower and does his business, which is where all the magic happens.
“While I’m doing my business, I’m looking through the phone and I just immediately start on whoever complains first,” he relayed.
Initially, he would make a list of hashtags including a short description of the complaint and recall the list later in the day to write the actual paragraphs. However, that method became tedious, so now he immediately writes the paragraph once he sees the complaint. He tries to pick about five topics, posting them all at once around 8:30 or 9 p.m.
“I have tons of people that try to make the recap on purpose,” Rushing mentioned. “Seriously, I’ll have three or four people a day do something about, ‘What kind of bug is this?’ hoping that I would see it and make fun of it.”
He added with a chuckle, “It has to be sincere. It ruins it. It’s not a real complaint; it’s a fake complaint!”
Looking back on his recaps, Rushing expressed he has thought about writing a book with a compilation of all the best recaps, hopefully sometime this summer. He and his friend, Matt Morris, who practices photography, have discussed the possibility of making a calendar combining their two talents. For example, the calendar would feature a photograph of a field of bluebonnets with a quote from one of the recaps underneath. Then, they could use the calendars to raise money for a cause.
“Obviously, I have a job, so it’s not about the money,” Rushing affirmed. “It would just be really neat to do.”
On top of that, Rushing even has a separate page called Matt’s Midlothian Insane Asylum, which is a closed group featuring his dark humor that is most definitely not for the faint of heart.
“A lot of it had to do with the fact that people wanted me to be myself and not really be censored and stuff,” he explained. “It basically turned into a meme page, but I had created it in a way so that people on Midlothian Talk could go over here and vent.”
PROMOTING A POSITIVE REPUTATION
Along with the members who come to his separate page to vent, it also includes members of the Midlothian Talk page who were kicked out. Rushing, luckily, has not been pressed to kick out many people, mostly due to the fact that he has an extremely laid back nature. This characteristic has aided in promoting a positive reputation for cops like him.
“A lot of the cops that come out now and get this persona of being aggressive and over-the-top, I think a lot of it stems from being in the military,” he said. “You have to be [forceful] sometimes to some degree, but I’m so laid back because I feel like I grew up in a community. I didn’t serve the military. I kind of came from that college background.”
He added, “People don’t need to be talked down to and stuff like that… I want people to know I’m trying to be present with all the negativity about cops and stuff. I’m trying to show people that we’re not all that way. You can ask me questions and stuff like that.”
Rushing has worked as a cop for 10 years after seeing a billboard advertising to become a cop in Dallas. Fortunately, the job and the experiences that come with it contribute to his writing.
“I draw inspiration from everything,” he explained. “[...] Everything that I write is something creepy that happened to me in real life. I’m a cop so I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff.”
A KNACK FOR WRITING
Rushing has always possessed a heart for writing. He wrote dozens of short stories growing up with the support of his family, especially his dad.
“My dad was just as creative as I was… He would make up dad-style poems. Just stupid stuff that’s funny about squirrels getting run over,” Rushing remembered. “He always encouraged me to write.”
Rushing continued through high school with that same passion for writing. During his junior year of high school, he began writing freelance for the Midlothian Mirror. Though becoming a journalist was not his goal, the opportunity still provided a way for him to get his foot in the door. Later on, Rushing attended the University of Texas at Arlington and received a major in history with a minor in English. During his collegiate years, Rushing enrolled in many classes that further impressed his love for writing.
“They had some assignments in one of the classes, and I was really descriptive about a cemetery that my grandmother’s buried in,” he explained. “[My professor] took me aside and said, ‘[...]You need to drop out of school and start writing novels.’ And I was like, ‘I got affirmation from a doctor of literature who tells me I need to drop out of school and write books!’”
Rushing has had multiple short stories published through a subsidiary of Amazon called Blueroom Publishing. He plans to self-publish his next short story book, "Unnecessary Tales of Horrible Things," this Halloween.
One of the main inspirations behind his writing is attributed to the famous writer, Stephen King.
“I want to be Stephen King. It’s my goal,” he said. “[...] He’s one of the most prolific writers to ever put pen to paper.”
Thanks to the king of horror, Rushing loves writing solely because there are no boundaries to stop him.
“Even as a little kid, my favorite thing in the world – other than my crash dummies, my Batman figurines and my army men – was a gel pen and just a blank notepad, and that was it,” he remembered. “[...] You can be in any room, you can be outside under a tree, you can be on a roof and just sit there and start writing, and no one can stop you.”
Rushing reflects on how writing his horror fiction pieces and writing recaps for Midlothian Talk differs, yet also helps him expand on his skills.
“[Midlothian Talk recaps] inspire me to keep writing and try different stuff other than horror,” he said. “It’s a very particular group of people that like horror, so it’s hard to reach a wide audience. I’m trying to branch more into comedy, and this affirms that I can write comedy.”
A father, a husband, a son, a cop, a writer and a recapper – Rushing harnesses all of these identities to encourage him further to be a positive light in this community. He knows the reason he started writing recaps in the first place and looks to the people around him with a sense of joy.
“Honestly, it’s not about me. I write other stuff anyway; I get my kicks there,” he explained. “I love this town and the fact that the people of this town love me making them laugh; there’s no greater gift on earth. It makes me genuinely happy.”
He added, “That’s why I do it. Otherwise, I would have stopped a long time ago because, man, it gets old.”