A writer of philisophical, strongly optimistic books, with great titles. Such as:
  • All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts On Common Things,
  • It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It,
  • Maybe (Maybe Not): Second Thoughts From A Secret Life,
  • Uh-Oh: Some Observations From Both Sides Of The Refridgerator Door,
  • From Beginning To End: The Rituals Of Our Lives,

and two compilations -
  • Love Stories, and
  • Words I Wish I Wrote.

Fulghum's writings are mostly anecdotal, drawing on his past experience of being a former minister, former school teacher, former IBM salesman, and grandparent (among many other things). Oddly, at the Harold Washing Library in Chicago, you can find his books in the self-help section -- next to Ann Landers. Fulghum is open minded and always growing, as is expressed in his books and evidenced by a chronological reading of his works. His son also wrote a book titled Like Father, Like Son, which from the part of the book I have read appears not to apply to writing ability.

Kindergarten... was originally written as a short essay later in his life to refute his college-age pledge of allegiance to heavy thinkers and over-complicated philosopies. It quickly spread through word of mouth and news-paper clippings of the essay began to appear on refridgerator doors everywhere.

His books are seemingly targeted towards slightly below/middle-age adults. However, I have fond memories of Ken The Chen and I taking turns reading aloud the copies of his books we found in a used bookstore to each other -- in the Dunkin' Donuts after school (in the 8th grade). I was 12 then, but his books were more to me then than they ever can be at any future time in my life.
Perhaps because it was the first time?

"We are not the stony dry ground over which the wind blows and the rivers run.
No, we are part of that energy which gives the wind motion and drives the river to the sea."
--Robert Fulghum

You're already wondering, like I did for years. So I'll tell you right now, so we can move on to more important things. It's pronounced "full-jum."

His parents named him Robert Edward Lee Fulghum (because his daddy was a Civil War buff), but he is officially Robert Lee Fulghum (because the birth certificate would only allow three names). He was born June 4, 1937 and grew up in Waco, TX but has moved 27 times in the last 50 years, according to his writings. Mr. Fulghum has been a kindergarten teacher, a conductor, an art teacher, a computer salesperson, a military chaplain, a Unitarian minister, a cowboy, a counselor, an author, and a philosopher. He also lives on a houseboat, drives through Texas just for country-fried steak, and plays mando-cello and guitar for the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band with Stephen King, Dave Barry and Matt Groening. Do people get any cooler?

Robert Fulghum's non-fiction books are mostly inspirational, philosophical, and amusing. They focus on personal anecdotes, everyday situations, and some anthropological stories/facts. Fulghum develops an overall theme for each book, then fills it with material that is easy to read and enjoy. There may be no magnificent prose--he'll be the first to tell you he's no Faulkner--but he is an excellent storyteller. Fulghum maintains that he writes for children as much as adults. You can find his books (all bestsellers) in the self-help section of any local bookstore.1

Now, you may have gotten through this and decided you'll never read one of the books I listed above, thank you very much, but that's not your style. I can appreciate that; but just to get you some of the wisdom (cause you'll need it some day), I'll share Fulghum's Recommendations (somewhere, as he says, between Murphy’s Law and The Ten Commandments):

  1. Buy lemonade from any kid who is selling.
  2. Anytime you can vote on anything, vote.
  3. Attend the twenty-fifth reunion of your high school class.
  4. Choose having time over having money.
  5. Always take the scenic route.
  6. Give at least something to any beggar who asks.
  7. And give money to all street musicians.
  8. Always be someone's valentine.
  9. When the circus comes to town, be there.

1In case you're wondering, his books are in the self-help section because they are motivational, and people need motivation to help themselves do anything.
2True Love and Words I Wish I Wrote are part of a trilogy of books Mr. Fulghum is writing for charity. All proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity and the Human Rights Watch. The third and final book in the series is due out in the near future and is expected to be his first work of fiction.
3The information listed in this write-up comes from my head and the books on my desk, all of which are listed above in chronological order.

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