At 79, Philip M. Fishman has a dual role since his wife's stroke ten years ago. The main one is as a caregiver; but when he is not busy with her, he is a writer.
He loves to blog on Face Book; but he has also self-published four books. The first was a memoir of a brief teaching career after retirement, titled, Teacher's Gotta Dance. The second was a rebuttal to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. His title is A Really Inconvenient Truth- The Case Against the Theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming. For that book, he relied on his scientific background as well as a lot of research. His third was a near future political novel, titled, Secession- A Republic Reborn. Several sub-plots include the subject of his previous book as well as some innovative approaches to dealing with Islamic terrorism, our drug problem, immigration, and tax reform. His latest is his most controversial of all, titled, Aren't the Emperor's New Clothes Grand. It's a
satirical critique of our President and is a take-off of Hans Cristian Andersen's fable, The Emperor's New Clothes. The reference is to Trump's cult-like following, which seemingly ignores all his lies and broken promises. Fishman gives an iron-clad guarantee that if you like Trump; you will hate his book.
Thanks for this interview, Phil. Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?
Certainly. Probably, most of the authors on your page have been at it a long time; but I'm a late bloomer. After a long successful career in sales and marketing, I first tried consulting; but that was not very fulfilling (or rewarding). I was sixty-five at the time; when our daughter suggested I try teaching. At first, I thought I was too old; but I thought I would give it a go. I decided to get my feet wet first before jumping in and began substitute teaching high school chemistry and math, since my degree was in chemistry. As I got more comfortable, I started subbing in German and then in various other subjects. The one subject I refused to substitute for was physical science after a disastrous session, which I discuss in my first book, Teacher's Gotta Dance, a memoir of my brief teaching career. Otherwise, I had no problems and was really enjoying myself. At that point, I was ready to get serious and enrolled at UAB Birmingham for graduate work in the School of Education. At the age of sixty-six, I was old enough to be grandfather to most of my classmates, and father to my professors. Nevertheless, I felt comfortable and did very well in class work. Eight months later, with 21 credit hours, I was ready to take the plunge and become an actual teacher. In Alabama, under The No Child Left Behind Act, an individual with an undergraduate degree who was enrolled in an education graduate program could begin teaching (provided, of course, that the person would be hired). I was soon to learn that last part was easier said than done. I began taking interviews for teaching high school chemistry in early August; but despite my educational background, all A's in my graduate studies, and what I thought were excellent interviews, I was batting zero. Two or three days after interviews, I would call to find out if a decision had been made; and the responses were so similar that they could be the lyrics of a sad song that I could sing by heart. “Sir, I am sorry, but that opening has already been filled. However, with your resume, you should have no problem in finding a suitable position.” By this time, it was late August, and most of the schools were into their second week. I was frustrated and angry, and ready to give it all up; but in one final act of desperation; I called my advisor who was also the professor of the first course I had taken, “Teaching Methods”. We were at lunch when I asked him, “Why didn't you or someone tell me that no one would hire someone as old as me?' He told me that my search had been too narrow; that I needed to consider middle school science and math. I was sure it was too late; but I made a few inquiries at nearby middle schools. Lo and behold, one day later, I got a call from a principal asking me if I could come in for an interview the next morning. The rest of the story is in the book, I alluded to above, after my wife's stroke. Since then, I have written and self-published three more. First, was a rebuttal to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. My title is A Really Inconvenient Truth- The Case Against the Theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming. My next, which is my favorite, is a near future political novel, titled, Secession- A Republic Reborn. My latest is a satirical critique of our President. I am hoping he sees a copy, since I think he would give me more publicity than I could buy..
When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?
My wife and I are huge Auburn fans; so from September to early January we are watching college football. Until my wife's stroke ten years ago, we were big travelers. Now, we stay pretty close to home. She watches TV in the daytime; At night, my TV fare is mostly politics unless a good old movie is on. Fortunately, our daughter and so-in-law live close; so we are frequently over there.
Congratulations on your new book! Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?
In Hans Christian Andersen's tale, The Emperor's New Clothes, two unscrupulous tailors appeal to the emperor's vanity by offering to make him a suit of clothes that would be woven of such fine fiber that it would be invisible to all those who were unworthy of seeing it. (And, I guess so light in weight that the wearer would not be able to feel it.) When the proud emperor paraded out in his birthday suit; his subjects exclaimed how grand the emperor's new clothes were. All except a young child who stated the obvious.
The tone of the story suggests that the people were not deceived; but only went along with the ruse. What is notclear is if Trump's followers are likewise undeceived at his
obvious equivocating, and are consciously apologizing for him; or if they have somehow succumbed to a type of mass hypnosis.
It may be akin to mass hysteria, which is well understood. When someone shouts “Fire” in a theater; whether true or not, otherwise rational people, almost spontaneously, begin to act irrationally. Typically, many more people are injured and killed than if people evacuated the premises in an orderly manner.
A book written by a German psychiatrist in 19331 is eerily prescient of what appears to be going on today with respect to Trump's cult. Trump stated during the campaign that he
Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?
No. I think it may have been the easiest. One might say that Donald Trump was my co-author.
Can you tell us about your journey?
The journey started back in June 2015, when he declared that he was running for President. At that time most people, including me, gave him no chance to be nominated, let alone elected. But, until August of that year during the first Republican Presidential debate; I had not firmly decided to write a book. What clinched it was Trump's refusal to pledge support for the eventual nominee. I was angry at Trump; but probably more so at the Republican National Committee for letting themselves be intimidated and not banning him from future debates. If he had been banned; I think he would have then run as an independent and most likely lost. What I think horrified the committee was the thought that a great many Republicans would have joined him in defeat. So, with the other sixteen candidates cannibalizing each other's support, it was easy sailing to the nomination. In the meantime, my co-author was making sure that I was no lacking for material. After the election, I continued to take notes; but at the same time was organizing them. Finally, in mid-May of 2018, the book was published.
If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?
It's a satirical critique of a man I view as a real danger to our Republic.
What makes your book stand out from the rest?
A humorous book that is dead serious.
If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?
Perhaps, Halloween. That may surprise some people since it is satire; but despite the humor, there is a serious message; and it is scary.
Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?
Since I am a political junkie, I will give you a political answer. I hadn't planned on it; but one never knows how things might turn out.
What’s next for you?
I've started a book, tentatively titled, Does God Exist? -A Debate with an Atheist.