It’s the end of the month, hasn’t that come around quickly? It’s starting to feel quite spring-like here, not sure how it is where you are, and we are all looking forward to the easing of lockdown, slowly, slowly! So, with an air of optimism for better times ahead, I am joined for Friday Night Drinks by author… Richard Fulco.
Welcome, Richard and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?
Well Julie, I’m a boring person, so you’re going to be sorry that you asked me to get a drink. I’m sipping a cold glass of water with a slice of lemon. However, since we’re having virtual drinks, and I won’t be waking up with a hangover, I’ll pour myself a tall glass of whiskey. How’s that? I plan to get virtually drunk.
Virtually drunk is the only way to go. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
I’d take you to a concert where we can shout over pounding drums, wailing guitars and smoking amplifiers. We might not be able to hear each other that well, and we’d have to communicate by facial expressions and body language, but the music would be worth it. I miss live music. Don’t you? Before the pandemic, I had tickets for the Black Crowes and the Go Go’s.
If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
Since my latest novel is set during The Summer of Love, I’d ask music producer Tom Wilson and singer Janis Joplin, who are both characters in the book, to join us for drinks. I’d pick Mr. Wilson’s brain about producing Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel and the first Velvet Underground record. As for Janis, I’d love to hear her story about her performance with Big Brother and the Holding Company at the Monterey Pop Festival.
I’m revising another draft of my latest novel WE ARE ALL TOGETHER. Facebook has reminded me that I’ve been working on it for six years. I’ve also been writing poetry, which is something I haven’t committed to in more than six years.
What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
Writing and publishing my first novel, THERE IS NO END TO THIS SLOPE.
What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!
I’d like to continue writing novels and reach a wider pool of readers who might appreciate my storytelling. Is that ambitious enough?
What do you have planned that you are really excited about?
WE ARE ALL TOGETHER will be published by Wampus Multimedia soon.
I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
Do I have to use the term ‘bucket list”? Well, as I write this, we’re still amidst a raging pandemic, so my favourite place is either on my couch or on a hiking trail. When the pandemic breaks, I promised my kids that I’d take them to Niagara Falls. I’ve never been there. We’re going to go over the falls in a barrel.
Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.
I enjoy soft rock from the 1970s: Elton John, The Carpenters, Jim Croce, Bread, Orleans, Gordon Lightfoot. America. I love it all. Such great melodies.
Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
Jeff Tweedy’s HOW TO WRITE ONE SONG. Even if you’re not interested in songwriting, Mr. Tweedy writes brilliantly about the creative process. He also includes writing exercises that might help jumpstart your writing.
One of the century’s most feted singer-songwriters, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, digs deep into his own creative process to share his unique perspective about song-writing and offers a warm, accessible guide to writing your first song.
There are few artistic acts more mysterious than writing a song. But what if a shift in perspective – and some practical guidance – could overcome that mystery? Anyone wanting to experience more creativity and mindfulness will be inspired to do just that after reading How to Write One Song.
Why one song? The difference between one song and many songs isn’t a charming semantic trick – it’s an important distinction that can simplify a notoriously confusing art form. The idea of becoming a capital-S Songwriter can seem daunting, but when approached as a focused, self-contained practice, the mystery and fear subsides and songwriting becomes an exciting pursuit.
How to Write One Song brings readers into this intimate process – lyrics, music and how they come together. It’s equally about the importance of making creativity part of your everyday life and of experiencing the hope, inspiration and joy available to anyone who is willing to get started.
So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
In the first place, don’t drink too much, but if you can’t control yourself then be sure to stay hydrated. Accompany every drink or shot with a glass of water. Be sure to take two aspirin before going to bed. But don’t call me in the morning.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
Sleep. Sleep and sleep. I’m kidding. A perfect weekend will include: reading, writing, napping, long walks, a couple of morning runs, a bike ride, movies and scrumptious food.
Thank you so much for joining me this evening, it has been fun chatting.
Richard’s first book is There Is No End to This Slope and you can buy a copy here. His second book will be published soon.
John Lenza, an aspiring writer from Brooklyn, hasn’t completed a novel, a play, or any other publishable work. His obsession with his part in the death of his best friend Stephanie in high school undermines his confidence and self-esteem. His struggle to reconcile his lingering guilt with the possibilities of the present sets the tone for Richard Fulco’s emotionally charged debut novel, There Is No End to This Slope.
By day, John sells textbooks to New York City schools. Like a 21st century Willy Loman, he drifts through life, letting things happen to him rather than taking charge of his life. On a sales call he meets his future wife, Emma Rue, an impulsive semi-alcoholic. At a “writerly” coffee shop near his new digs in Park Slope he meets Teeny, an overweight gay man, who mines John’s life for his own creative material. A homeless man, Richard, becomes a voice of reason, while Pete the landlord worries about whether John is truly taking “special” care of those beautiful wood floors in the apartment.
At one point John describes himself as intelligent, perhaps too intelligent to do anything. He and many of the other characters find it difficult to navigate the day-to-day while nurturing a sensitive and creative spirit. Should John be tortured by something that happened so long ago? Or is he using an old trauma to sidestep his creative responsibility and potential?
Through deeply wrought characters and scenes, Richard Fulco touches on a fundamental issue that drives great artists to self-destruct. But when John has wrung all he can out of his pained self, it may be the mundane certainties of life that ultimately save him.
Richard Fulco’s first novel, There Is No End to This Slope was published in 2014. His second novel, We Are All Together, will be published by Wampus Multimedia soon. Richard received an MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College where he was the recipient of a MacArthur Scholarship. His plays have either been presented or developed at The New York International Fringe Festival, The Playwrights’ Center, The Flea, Here Arts Center, Chicago Dramatists and The Dramatists Guild. Richard’s one-act play Swedish Fish was published by Heuer Publishing and his stories, poetry, interviews and reviews have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Failbetter, Across the Margin, Fiction Writers Review and American Songwriter (among others). Richard is a member of the Pen American Center where he is also a mentor in the Prison Writing Mentorship Program.