Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Philip Gulley

I am currently reading my second Philip Gulley book, PORCH TALK, and I am delighted by the little gems I am finding. Gulley is a storyteller of small-town American life. Very reminiscent of Garrison Keillor. However, Gulley's books definitely have a Christian bent to them. He writes both fiction and non-fiction. (I recently finished the first book in his Harmony fiction series) The chapters are short. Usually just a few pages. However, I save them for reading just before bedtime because they usually leave a smile on my face. Gulley's common sense approach to life and his "love letters" to small-town life are both charming and meaningful.

I just finished a chapter on gratitude and this part especially resonated with me:

"I'm grateful my father warned against arrogance. I meet adults who think they're big shots and they are insufferable.

I'm grateful my mother taught me to question religious claims. A lot of damage is done when we invest religious leaders with great power. A little skepticism in matters religious never hurts. Ditto for politics.

I'm grateful my parents taught me to measure people by how they treated those who served them. Beware of people who treat waiters and waitresses poorly. They'll treat you that way too.

I'm grateful my parents urged me to get a paper route when I was eleven. The job taught me responsibility and not to despise the poor who were usually more generous with their tips than my wealthy customers.

I'm grateful my parents had me. I once told them I didn't ask to be born but now I'm glad they didn't wait for my permission. Life has its difficult moments but it also holds deep joys such as springtime and children and the day after Christmas."

I have been utterly charmed by Gulley's works. While his books are definitely Christian in nature, they would not be off-putting to non-Christians. The books make me feel wistful about a way of life that seems to be slipping away and that I would love to see us all regain.

There is truly a lot to be grateful for and Gulley's books are a good reminder.


Gary said...

Gulley's reflection on "asking" to be born has some resonance with me. I'm too old for such nonsense, but I still blame my parents for things I have never been able to shake off. His is an excellent reminder to take responsibility for your own stuff and to be grateful that you've been given at least one more day to work it out. Maybe you'll even grow a little.

SerenityWriter said...

Thanks, Amy, for commenting on Phil Gulley's writing. I'm glad you are enjoying his work. When I worked at a Borders store, I recommended his books constantly and we could never keep them in stock. One of the proudest days of my writing career was when I got a personal endorsement from Phil for one of my books. So far, the endorsement has not helped in getting a contract with a major house, so I just keep publishing through my own company. But, I still believe Phil's endorsement will open a door somewhere. Keep reading the Harmony books, but don't miss Phil's books on grace and love, co-written with Jim Mulholland. They will make you think. You might not agree with everything they have to say, but you will ponder their words. Regards, Frank.

Amy said...

Thank you, Serenity! I will definitely check out those other Gulley books.