I'm pleased to present Philip Fullman to our readers. As you'll see, a few of us met Philip during our early critique years in Dallas and we're the luckier for it. Philip has two new poetry collections out. His writing is wry, sensitive, and sometimes bawdy--an honest take on life, love and pop culture.
Okay, I’ll admit I’m nervous. I feel a little like the lone boy sitting at the girl’s lunch table. I promise to be on my best behavior, this means no swearing, even when appropriate.
I met Elizabeth, Joan, and Pamela in a critique group, the Lesser North Texas Writers Association. They were, as they are now, writing women’s fiction. There were several different genres represented. I was the lone poet. It took a while for me to become comfortable with the moniker, but the more poetry I read I began to see how my writing fell into that category. Still, I refer to myself as a writer rather than as a poet. Sounds a little less pretentious.
Not only were we writing in different styles, but in different voices. Obviously. I always appreciated hearing a woman’s perspective on what I wrote, I think in some way for them it was like pulling back the curtain and seeing the wizard. Another man in the group told me once that I wrote about the things that men would never want to admit to, that underneath it all, the bluster was vulnerability. I didn’t set out to do that; I just write what comes into my head. My Muse is really good at working with what I give her.
Another admission, I’m envious of the ladies' ability to craft elaborate tales, with multiple characters over hundreds of pages. I think the longest piece I ever wrote was eight pages, and that’s only because I don’t write all the way across the page. I’m not sure why I started doing that, probably because I thought that was how a poem was supposed to look.
The first time I ever wrote a poem was 1989. It was for a girl, of course. I met her while visiting a friend in San Antonio. She was the first woman who ever took my breath; maybe they call it falling because when you hit the air gets knocked out of you. I somehow convinced my parents to let me go back and visit her. Sitting in my room after a wonderful three days with her, I was sorely missing her. Long distance calls cost a fortune, so that was out. I felt like I would burst if I didn’t talk with her. So, I wrote her a poem. It was an awful poem full of clichés, and ham-handed metaphors. But when I sat my pen down, I felt much better. Ever since then I’ve picked up my pen and paper when I’m not able to say the words. I’d like to think that I’m a better writer now; I don’t hide behind metaphors or try to be clever. If I met her yesterday I would say:
The kiss was going to be memorable. Moonlight was pushing through the tree leaves casting spotted shadows on us both, and then there was the spotlight illuminating the cow statue. You don’t see that in movies. But there it was, bright as could be, behind us and to the left. So even if our first kiss had not been our last, even if it wasn’t the type of kiss you hope every kiss will be, even if it wasn’t a kiss that you’ll search a hundred pair of lips to find again, it was going to be a memorable kiss.
I believe that in fiction, story dictates the action, but in poetry action dictates the story, which makes the writer more vulnerable. I have struggled with the thought that it is egotistical for me to write something personal, share it and basically say “you should read this.” But then I remembered something I wrote in a poem called Counterpoint. A well-known poet was asked why he didn’t write about his personal life; he replied, “No one is interested in hearing about someone else’s personal life.” I disagreed. So, I put together a couple of collections of my writing for people like myself.
Tales from the Bottom of the Glass is a collection of poems about relationships in all stages.
Maybe a Poem, Maybe a Song, Maybe a Short Story is a collection of stories about writing, my Muses, an general observations. In tone, it’s quite different.
During my time in the critique group, Elizabeth, Joan and Pamela were very encouraging. I don’t remember which one of them said, “I don’t understand it, but I think I like it.” That was all I needed to hear.
Thanks for stopping by Philip! Readers you can find his book on Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.