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Chatting with Uncommon Thinker and Best-Selling Author, Robert Fulghum, Part Three

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And the same thing with movies I like movies but don't go very much because I still would rather read. Right now I'm reading a book on the Mormon Temples of America. I'm not a Mormon but I've always been curious about that architecture. So, I've got this big, thick new book. I've got a book on astronomy. I've got a book on handguns, pistols and rifles. Not because I'm a NRA member or have ever shot a pistol in my life. But a few people in my valley, one of them is a retired law enforcement officer, and they were talking about pistols the other day. And I thought, "I don't know anything except prejudicial things about pistols, so I'm reading about pistols. And, then I've got a book on theater; I'm looking through Carl Sandberg's poems looking for something. I've got a book If Ignorance is Bliss, Why Aren't More People Happy? Here's a book I'm reading: Dona Flor and her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado. I usually have got six or eight books in four or five piles going on at any one time. Reading is my passion and pleasure.

Do you want to know everything?

What's lovely is that knowledge is infinite. And I'm just terribly curious. I should be very honest and say that just because I'm not hooked up to the Web, that doesn't mean that my two assistants and my companion are not. So, if I really want to know something that would be on Wikipedia or whatnot, I can tell them, "Take a look at this and give me the interesting stuff." So, it's not that I don't use it. [But] I'd rather read a book about it than to look it up.

That's the beauty of delegating.

Yeah, staff - that's the secret. That's how cats look at the world. They are creatures with staff.

How right you are. You're also a painter, sculptor and musician. Let's talk about the music first. You've been part of a band;are you still?

Rock Bottom Remainders

I've played in two or three bands in my life. But the one that got all the press was the Rock Bottom Remainders, which was a group of writers Stephen King, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, people like that. And a publishers' representative escort in San Francisco found out that we were musicians and it was her idea that we should put this band together and we would raise money for good causes and, in the meantime, have a lot of fun. And so we did it and it was like the fact that a number of people who could ride horseback decided that they'd get together and have a polo team for an afternoon. It was a lot of fun but it was a misapprehension to think that we were qualified to play polo. Nevertheless, everybody played well enough. I was in it for four or five concerts. And I can tell you outrageous stories.

And then, I didn't want to put the time that was required into it. I don't play that well; I play mandocello, that's not big in rock and roll. Stephen was in a terrible automobile accident and dropped out. But over time, other people have cycled through it. Matt Groening sang backup in the thing for a while. So it was a really special sort of thing. I no longer play with them because I don't like all the travel that's involved. It still has a life of its own. It goes on. There's a recording and a book made out of it. Not a small amount of money went to charity.

I drew and painted all of my life, taught drawing and painting for 20 years. I'm not successful enough in that to want to make a career out of it but I have an art studio and paint and give it away. My companion, on the other hand, is a very, very serious, very successful artist who paints almost entirely in the world of dance - tango, that whole world - and so she's kind of crowded me out of my studio. It's nice to have that ongoing and successful and be around it. If you can't be successful, it's nice being there where success is happening. So, that's fun. And sculpting is something I do, a lot of small things. This again is not a career deal; it's what I enjoy doing. It just satisfies a need; it's like a hobby. It's what pleases you and it keeps me off the streets and working.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
 

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