Charlotte Readers Podcast: Linda Phillips

Linda Phillips

“Crazy” Poetry and Books

In today’s episode, we meet Linda Phillips, an author who writes poetry and novels in verse.

Linda is the author of Crazy,an award-winning Young Adult novel in verse about a young girl who truly believes that her mother belongs in a nut house. The story is inspired by Linda’s own life, when she struggled to come to terms with her own mother’s bipolar disorder.

Charlotte Readers Podcast is sponsored by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Learn More About This Episode
Learn More About This Episode

In today’s episode, we meet Linda Phillips, an author who writes poetry and novels in verse.

Linda is the author of Crazy,an award-winning Young Adult novel in verse about a young girl who truly believes that her mother belongs in a nut house. The story is inspired by Linda’s own life, when she struggled to come to terms with her own mother’s bipolar disorder.

Linda also reads from and discusses her recent book, Behind These Hands,about how the life of a teenage piano prodigy is upended when her two younger brothers are diagnosed with a rare disease. She finishes the show on a lighter note with an award-winning poem for cat lovers called Two-Legged and Four.

Linda shares how she tackles tough issues in young adult literature and how she advocates for better mental health through the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Linda starts the episode with the poem Oceanography, which was published in The Texas Review and highlights her experiences with her mother’s struggle with mental illness. Here’s part of the poem:

“The water.

Icy shock treatments.

Surely Mother prefers this to the state ward;

milligrams of fishy salty therapy.

And for me

a cautious day along the edge,

because only Daddy knows

where the best agates beach.

 

But the sunset,

the sunset is the whole purpose,

the only relevant point of the mission,

the day having built to a crescendo

a tribal urge to gather in one final ritual of unity.

Exploding down the horizon, the epiphany of color

pierces the windshield of our weathered green Chevy.”

Linda’s debut novel, Crazy, earned numerous accolades, including Foreword Reviews lndieFab Book of the Year Finalist, the short-list for SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and an Honor book for the Paterson Prize for Books.

Here is a section of what she reads on the show from Crazy:

“I ran out the side door after school—

thank heavens home ec was last period—

thinking my cheeks were so hot

they must be leaving a trail of smoke.

I stopped by the canal,

swarming with hungry pelicans

and screeching gulls,

and I wondered,

just wondered and wondered

for I don’t know how long,

what it would feel like

not to sit and dangle my feet through the slats

and daydream and watch

like I usually do

but instead to climb up on the railing

and let myself just slip off and down

and down

and down.

I decided against it because,

of course,

I’m not the crazy one

in our family.”

Linda finds passion in creating realistic fiction in verse, to offer hope to teens and their families who face mental or physical health challenges and her novels have a poetic touch.

She is on the board of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-Charlotte and the co-facilitator of Providence Place, a drop-in center for persons with mental health issues.

Linda’s own teenage experience with a mother suffering severe depression led her to write her award-winning novel, Crazy. Linda lives in Charlotte and when she’s not writing, she says she loves to sit on the screened porch with her husband to watch the grass grow.

Join us for Linda’s readings on the show.

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