Interview with Philip Fullman

What's the story behind your books?
Well, they're very different from each other. Tales is all about relationships in different stages. I read a collection of poems by Peter McWilliams in which he chronicles a relationship from first date to break up, and really enjoyed following the couples evolution. Though Tales isn't about just one person I did try to follow the stages. Maybe a Song doesn't really have a central theme, it's a collection of random thoughts, musings and ideas. Much lighter in tone. Funnier. There are several poems in the book about the writing process and muses. Hence the cover. I've always thought of my muse as a redhead.
So are all the stories in Tales from the Bottom of the Glass true?
Many of them are. In a lot of ways they're a first hand account of my relationships over the past 20 plus years. Even the poems that aren't about my personal experiences, I referenced emotions from my experiences, and tried to apply them to those situations. So there is an emotional truth to them. Hopefully that is something with which the reader can connect.
What was the most difficult part of doing the books?
Honestly, the decision to do them at all. I've always written, and had long pondered the idea of putting together a collection of stories. But, when it came down to it the idea seemed very egotistical.
What changed your mind?
I don't know that I have. It is still difficult for me to discuss my books with people, it feels like I'm trying to sign them up for some multi-level marketing scheme. But, obviously, I did it anyway. I was watching Kevin Smith, Burn in Hell, towards the end he talked about his father's death and the impact that had on him, which I totally related to. He went on talk about the importance of art, and of encouraging artist. The one thing that really struck me was when he mentioned people will ask why, why would you want to do that? And that the answer should be "why not?" That did more to inspire me than any self-help book, or motivational speaker ever could. So I said why not, and published. Thanks Kevin.
When did you first start writing? Do you remember your first story?
I started putting pen to paper in high school. But ever since I was a kid I've been creating stories in my head. There's a poem in Maybe a Song called A Trip to Blockbuster Turns into a Poem that is about some of the stories I would come up with when I was growing up. The first poem I ever wrote was in 1989. It was for a girl, of course.
What is your writing process?
My muse leans over, and whispers in my ear. Hopefully I have pen and paper close by, if not I frantically run around trying to find something to write with before the moment is gone. There is a poem in Tales that I scribbled down at a stop light, on the back of a receipt. My muse has most interesting timing. For that reason I try to always have pen and notebook handy.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's the process itself. Watching the idea fill the page with words, my pen trying to keep up with my thoughts. That's part of why I still write long hand, I'm not a fast typist. That and I feel disconnected from my words, I'm very tactile. I find writing to be a rush. A release. I've compared it to sex, which, if you think about sex as a creative process kinda makes sense. I don't know, I'm probably alone on that one.
Who are some of your favorite writers?
Hmm. Well, Charles Bukowski is my favorite poet. The first time I read one of his poems I felt like I got punched in the stomach. I love writing that can do that. I also enjoy Billy Collins. Let's see, I mentioned Peter McWilliams. David Sedaris, I read Holidays on Ice every year. Jonathan Tropper, Christopher Moore. But I'd have to say The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is the best book I've ever read. The story he is able to tell, and the emotions he evokes in just a few pages, with only a few words is amazing.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I've really enjoyed working with Smashwords. When I made the decision to self-publish one of my concerns was the format limitations. Obviously you want anyone who is interested to be able to access your books. By offering my books in multiple formats Smashwords has allowed my to reach more readers, and potential readers. I've had people ask, "well is it in whatever format? I have a whatever reader." By marketing my books through Smashwords I've been able to say "Yes it is. Want me to autograph your e-reader?"
What are you working on next?
I have a script that I pull out and work on every now and then. It's a full version of the short story that appears in Maybe a Song. I'm looking into doing audio versions of both my books. A friend of mine put the idea in my head of doing a short film based on one of my poems, so I'm looking into doing that. Really, it's all up to my muse.
Published 2013-09-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Maybe a Song, Maybe a Poem, Maybe a Short Story
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 8,650. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Maybe a Song, Maybe a Poem, Maybe a Short Story, is Philip Fullman’s second collection of stories and like the title says has a little of everything.
Tales from the Bottom of the Glass
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 3,520. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Philip Fullman’s Tales from the Bottom of the Glass is a collection of poems that originally appeared on wet bar napkins, match books, and any other scrap of paper he could get his hands on while he worked his way down to the bottom of another glass. The stories are personal, but the experiences are universal.