MARGO PHILLIPS’ INTERVIEW
How autobiographical is BoomerAngst?
Margo Phillips: 100%.
The book is set in 1998. More that a decade has passed since then. Have you thought about writing a sequel?
Margo Phillips: Yes. I wrote four more volumes in ‘98 and ‘99.
During the writing of Volume 6, something happens that is so unexpected and shocking that Jamie abruptly stops writing in her "journal". What happens after that has yet to be written. I plan on finishing it soon. Since the story will no longer be written in diary form, I may take a sweeping view of events, wrap up the "BoomerAngst" series in Volume 6 or 7, and then begin a new project.
Do you agree that the boomerang implied in the title BoomerAngst implies as much about payback time for the denial and contradictions of a certain generation as it does resilience, as you say?
Margo Phillips: Yes-- and I am speaking only about me and my friends. As young hippies and flower children, artists and musicians, we had no idea how harsh the world would become for us as we headed into adulthood. We were idealistic and yet also quite naïve. And yes, some of us resisted becoming adults-- fearing we would "sell out" and "lose ourselves". Some of us adjusted faster than others. Some of us, including myself, struggled as we continued to seek a balance between idealism and the stark realities of the Real World. I suppose that is where the "payback time for the denial and contradictions" comes in. However, rather than looking at "payback" as some sort of punishment, I tend to view at it more as karmic lessons that we came here to experience and learn from and then share with our children, friends and others. Thus, there are no regrets.
Apart from Bukowski, who else has influenced you in you writing?
Margo Phillips: I read my first real novel in elementary school-- Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I always loved reading-- growing up on Winnie The Pooh, Nancy Drew, Mark Twain, followed by my mother’s Edgar Allen Poe and UFO collections. During high school, I was introduced to the Lost Generation by a young, cutting-edge English teacher. My favorite authors were F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Then came college and it was all about Jack Kerouac, Allen Watts, Paramahansa Yogananda and Buckminster Fuller. During the time I was a Buddhist-- from 1968 - 1994, my reading consisted entirely of Buddhist teachings. During the mid-90’s, I read lots of metaphysical material, including Gary Zukav’s "Seat of the Soul", Christine Pinkerton’s "Women Who Run With The Wolves" and "Bringers of the Dawn" by Barbara Marciniak. I discovered Charles Bukowski while I was writing BoomerAngst.
Overall, I would say my brother and his lifelong friend, who was also my one-time paramour-- both with the cynical wit, self-deprecating humor and intelligence of Bukowski-- shaped my style, along with large amounts of vodka and the fact that I was finally done pretending life was great-- admitting that my efforts to be a "winner" had failed. This admission brought me a new honesty. I was finally free to speak my mind-- no longer fearing judgment or public scrutiny.
No longer concerned with editing my thoughts, words and feelings, writing became a sort of meta-psycho-surfboard upon which I could ride the unpredictable waves of life, leading me to a new liberation. Surf’s up!
What final reactions did you get to BoomerAngst?
Margo Phillips: The handful of people who have read it are all friends so I’m not sure how objective they are. Still, they are bright, articulate, professional people—critical thinkers who agreed to comply with my request for their honest opinions, no matter how brutal. I was not looking for compliments. As it turns out, feedback has been unexpectedly positive.