Interview with the college newspaper the CNM Chronicle. Below is the article taken from their website, with a correction to the spelling of my name. To view the article on their website go here: Traveling into the Abyss, by Nick Christan, CNM Chronicle, November 22, 2011
“Volatalistic Phil,” is the pen name of a CNM student who recently released his first book, “My Mind’s Abyss.” “It’s a fiction book that I wrote with the intent to possibly inspire change, or to have people examine their own lives towards enlightenment,” said the author.
As a recovering alcoholic, Volatalistic Phil said a lot of his inspiration for the book came from the time prior to his sobriety.
Writing a book like this, according to Volatalistic Phil, was the best way for him to convey his message.
“I look at it as a message in time,” said Volatalistic Phil. “As long as this planet is still around, or there is some form of print of this available, then that message can carry throughout time.”
He said the novel follows a person throughout portions of their life. The book starts with an abusive childhood, and evolves into their young adulthood, highlighting their travels in life, according to Volatalistic Phil. There are even periods with significant time shifts or schizophrenic dimensions, Volatalistic Phil said.
“There are some big gaps,” said Volatalistic Phil. “This is the first of two books. In the second book there will be things covered and the fog will be lifted.”
The second book will be called “Relapse,” according to the author. The book, which is still being written, is planned by Volatalistic Phil to be ready for February. He said he is currently working on a book of short stories in addition to “Relapse.”
The book of about 50 short stories will have ranging topics, and should be released next month, said the author.
The process of Volatalistic Phil
Writing the book was tough in the beginning, Volatalistic Phil said. When he first sat down to write, he said he did it with a pencil and paper.
“It came that way, and I wrote a chapter,” Volatalistic Phil said. “After I examined it for a while, I just thought about it and let things brew.”
After a period of time, it got to the point where he could no longer write by hand, Volatalistic Phil said.
“The images and thoughts were coming to me too fast,” said Volatalistic Phil. “I can type a lot faster than I can hand write.”
It was challenging, according to Volatalistic Phil; the editing task was a time swallowing process he said.
“You change one thing, you’ve got to change five things,” said Volatalistic Phil. “It was trying; there were a lot of times in that process where I would work 16 hours a day. I would fuel up by coffee and a bowl of soup if I could get it in.”
He wouldn’t sleep much during the editing process, Volatalistic Phil said. The trials of writing, in addition to school, made the book an extensive process according to the author. He said it took a month for him to write.
Finding a publisher was harder than he expected, said Volatalistic Phil. He said he pursued a lot of the legacy publishers, but the majority of them denied him, citing company policies of not accepting unsolicited work.
After seeing a lot of closed doors, the CNM student-turned-author said he decided to self-publish the novel. It was the quickest way for him to get what he wanted to say out there, said Volatalistic Phil.
The book can be purchased at Amazon.com in either paperback or e-book, at Barnes & Noble, and through Google as an e-reader. He said CNM students, faculty and staff can go to createspace.com/3704308 and put in the code AGB6DK5R for a two dollar discount on the book.
Life at CNM
Volatalistic Phil said he has been at CNM for two years and is a General Studies/English major. He said he is taking philosophy courses because he had an interest in becoming an attorney or politician and was told philosophy is good training for either of those fields.
But, during his time studying philosophy, he said he developed more of an interest in writing.
“I always put it off to ‘when I get a Bachelors, then I’ll decide if I pursue law school,’” said Volatalistic Phil. “But doing it this way would allow me to have a philosophy degree, which I think would be important to be a good writer.”
Volatalistic Phil said he likes CNM; the smaller class sizes and the staff are the plusses to the college according to the author.
“We’ve got a lot of highly educated people with doctorate degrees and I just think ‘wow, I’m having somebody that has a doctorate degree that’s teaching me at a really really low price,’” said Volatalistic Phil.
One teacher that has had an effect on him is Rebecca Aronson, according to the author. He said when he was deciding to put the book together he was lost and didn’t know what he was doing. He mentions Aronson in the acknowledgement section of “My Mind’s Abyss” because she was very open to what and how he wanted to write, according to Volatalistic Phil.
“She helped nurture the writing process and not tell me how to write,” said Volatalistic Phil. “She allowed me to be creative with it, which is a complete change in this new English class I’m taking; which is why I went back to her.”
Volatalistic Phil said he asked Aronson about setting up a book: he said he wanted to know how to set up paragraphs, how to convey transitions in time, and other questions.
“She provided me with guidance,” said Volatalistic Phil. “She pretty much gave me a basic outline: ‘add a couple paragraphs or you might not want to do that or you may want to use italics for this.’
“She told me ‘there are no set rules, write how you want to write,’” said Volatalistic Phil.
He also cited a philosophy instructor Dr. William Murrell, political science instructor Richard Fox, and Mrs. Gonzales as professors who affected him.
After he is done at CNM, Volatalistic Phil said he plans to transfer to the University of New Mexico to pursue the English/Philosophy program.
Family, Future, and writing under a pen name
Born and raised for the most part in Albuquerque, Volatalistic Phil said he currently lives in Bosque Farms. He said he likes going to CNM and never considered going to UNM’s Valencia Campus. He said he really likes the environment and “couldn’t picture going anywhere else.”
The 26-year-old said he went to several high schools, but graduated from Deming high. He said his mother and father are very supportive of his writing.
Volatalistic Phil said there are many things he would like to accomplish in his writing career, one of which was turning one of his books into a film.
“People could maybe enjoy it, if they’re not that keen on reading,” Volatalistic Phil said. In addition to having a film made, writing a bestseller was one of the goals of the young scribe. The financial reward wasn’t the biggest draw, according to Volatalistic Phil. He said he was more concerned with people enjoying what he wrote.
“I would love to leave a mark on history or time,” said Volatalistic Phil. “I would love to have somebody, years after I’m decomposing, even if no one ever knows about me and maybe it’s a small niche, know you existed.”
After he writes the second book, Volatalistic Phil said he is focusing the book after that on a post-apocalyptic world with some of the same concepts from his prior novels.
“If you read one book, and you read another: you’re going to catch on little tid-bits. You may see little character references or certain phrasings of things,” said the author.
Not willing to classify himself as purely a novelist, Volatalistic Phil said he considers himself a “tickle-my-fancy” writer.
“I want to try different things, if something comes along, then I’ll be interested in it,” Volatalistic Phil said. “I would like to experiment some with poetry, just because of how powerful it is, that’s why I’m writing this new book, the short stories.”
The pen name was important to Volatalistic Phil because he said it makes his work mysterious and takes the focus off of him.
“I feel almost like a different person when I’m writing,” said the author. “It’s not so much about me as it is about the writing.”
Bringing a pen name into life was another thing that he said was interesting to him. He talked about the different uses of pen names and he said he was intrigued by the stage name quality of pen names.
“I took volatile and I took nihilistic and combined them together,” said the author. “It may be representative of my writing style.”