The following excerpts are from an interview that was conducted by Marilyn Scott from TeleVu Mag. Sadly, the piece was never presented.
Mar: For this week’s TeleVu Mag’s Review I interviewed published author Stanley G. Phillips, Jr.
Stan: And, please don’t forget to add future Screen and Television writer to your open (laughs). Here’s hoping anyway.
Mar: That’s important to you, more than being an novelist? Even before during our pre-interview your answers to my questions primarily pertained to the magic of films.
Stan: Other than Reign of Valor and to a lesser extent Cry of Liberty all my stories were first screenplays then became novels.
Mar: And why is that?
Stan: Well, simply I’ve found one media helps the other to expand their boarders. But, I find screenplays more enjoyable to write for that’s how an idea is born.
Mar: I can’t place your accent. Where were you raised?
Stan: Yeah…it’s sort of nondescript…it’s actually kind of sad really…I mean how can a person live without an accent? It’s almost seems impossible.
Mar: I’m confused…
Stan: It’s actually very simple to understand…while growing up I lived in so many places across America and Canada…I never got a chance to get a accent. However, strangely enough from time to time certain words will pop in into my conversation from some region I lived.
Mar: Is this the first time you’ve been interviewed?
Stan: First, and hopefully not my last. I love talking to people…even with people I don’t even know I’ll start a conversation…I pick up strays all the time.
Mar: How many schools did you attend.
Stan: I attended over twenty schools. It was very difficult. I never really got the chance to settle before we were off.
Mar: How’s that possible?
Stan: What…so many schools? There’s a lot that goes into that.
Mar: What was your shortest stay in any one school?
Stan: I attended a school in Fargo, North Dakota, for one day.
Stan: Beautiful…but, of course we got out of there before the snow began to fall.
Mar: And, what your family moved south for the winter?
Stan: Hardly, we moved to a trailer park in St. Cloud, Minnesota and stayed there for the winter.
Mar: Do you ever get writer’s block?
Stan: No, I never have.
Mar: How’s that?
Stan: I don’t take myself seriously…in that, I don’t make myself so important.
Mar: Looking over some of your works it’s truly remarkable the range of genres you cover. The ideas for your stories, where do they come from?
Stan: Often they come from being alone with my thoughts. Even early on, I pretty much knew some of the stories I wanted to write and what I wanted to convey in them. Up to now, I’ve been very true to my beliefs.
Mar: How’s that?
Stan: Everyone I’ve known, almost everyone that is, has had some hand into making me who I am and how I write. I’m reminded of a summer’s hike along the Spur in Bay Shore, Long Island.
Mar: You were alone that day?
Stan: For a while, yes. When I started out I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts. During the time I was alone, I would from time to time come up with an idea and stop long enough to jot down a title and a brief description of the storyline.
Stan: About a mile from the mall, I met a man who was the spitting image of an old James Baskett, the man that played Uncle Remus in the “Song of the South”.
Mar: What did you do?
Stan: Well, I wanted to continue writing. But, not wanting to be rude I kept pace with Uncle Remus and to this day I’m glad that I had.
Mar: What did you and Uncle Remus talk about?
Stan: I mostly listened and nodded from time to time.
Mar: What did he talk about then?
Stan: He confirmed everything that I believe in to this very day…regarding the quality of life and how it was changing and not for the good…how people are always in a rush and not having time to enjoy one another, or what was going on around them…like nature and life itself…forgiveness…understanding…
Mar: So, everything you set off to do that day were just a prelude to meeting Uncle Remus?
Stan: Yeah, yeah…but, I did write a few of those stories, besides others. But, it’s funny how story ideas come about. For me they sort of pop into my mind as if by magic…even the settings, action, and dialogue are sort of given to me as if on a silver platter.
Mar: And, through a long walk on some road on Long Island.
Stan: I remember the time I came up with the various chapter’s of “Helping Hands”.
Mar: Along some deserted road?
Stan: (grins) No…I was on an airplane that looked like it was going to crash…people were crying. Smoke was coming up through the floor boards.
Stan: The small prop plane I was in was preparing to land at Logan…for what seemed for an eternity with us just circling the field. It was raining pretty hard…the plane, me and the rest of the passengers were being jostled. Instead of climbing above the storm, I guess under the circumstances the pilot thought it best to begin the approach. Many of the passengers were crying…smoke was coming through the floorboards.
Mar: You must have been terrified.
Stan: No, I was pretty calm actually. Somehow, I knew it wasn’t my time to go.
Mar: You weren’t afraid?
Stan: No…I became very-very calm. Something told me as clear as anything you have said…that nothing was going to happen to the plane, or anyone aboard it. Despite all the moaning, sobbing, and seeing the smoke rising up into the compartment…despite the all the jostling by the storm I began jotting down notes for a new book that I promised and had put off writing.
Mar: That’s remarkable. But, yet what you’re telling me doesn’t always hold true. I mean just because you have something to complete, doesn’t mean you’ll get the chance to finish it…if you know what I mean?
Stan: Well, in this case I felt secure with the knowledge that I’d get the chance to finish the book. I get these words of knowledge…in this case it calmed me.
Mar: I don’t…
Stan: You see…I had been avoiding writing this book for a number of years. Now, I was given a wake up call. I was given a very precious gift…whether it was that book, or anything I have written since, or will write…I was being told to be careful not throw away a gift that God has given me.
Mar: And, this was while you and everyone else on that plane was in danger of dying?
Stan: Yes…while I was busy jotting down the notes I was telling the Lord that I was ready to write that book for him.
Mar: (laughs) And, you finished it.
Stan: Yeah…sorry to say it took me another six months to begin working on the book in earnest. Somehow, that near to death experience wasn’t enough. It took another near death episode and a stay in the hospital to make me stop what I was doing and finally write Helping Hands.
Stay Tuned for part 2 of TeleVu Magazine