“I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't feel ‘different’. Sometimes different meant special, sometimes it meant weird. And there were times when it meant unique, odd, brave, crazy, funny, unusual, extraordinary, alien, unwanted or abnormal.”
from Different: What Makes Me Think I’m So Special? by Paul Phillips
“Different...” is a memoir I’ve been working on for the past several years. I believe that it is important, especially for minorities who have been written out of or marginalized by history, to put our stories down on paper. As it stands right now, the book is divided into two parts: “Growing Up Sissy” and“Coming Out Queer.” I finally feel that I have a completed first draft ready to send to and work with an editor toward the goal of publishing it myself in both e-book and printed versions. To accomplish this, I need to raise $10,000. My budget breakdown is listed below.
A true-life fairy tale of triumph over adversity, Different is an often humorous, sometimes painful look at the early life (from birth in 1954 to age 27) of one little sissy who grew up to become an outspoken gay activist and openly gay recording artist, and who was also the co-founder (with Lynn Shepodd) of Santa Fe (NM) Gay Pride and the founder of the first Wheaton College Gay and Lesbian Alumni group, the first such group ever formed by any alumnae of any Evangelical Christian school in the country. In the mid-1970’s, while living in Bloomington, IN, I was also a lead complainant in the first anti-gay discrimination case ever to make it to a hearing in front of a local Human Rights Commission anywhere in the United States.
From receiving and cherishing my first doll at age 5 (Betsy Wetsy!) to becoming a 9-year-old New Jersey state baton twirling champion and on to being a cheerleader in high school, I never quite seemed to be able to grasp the concept of being male in America. You’ll read about what it was like to be a young princess-in-training growing up in a conservative Baptist minister’s family in New Jersey and even more conservative West Virginia, then attending and coming out at Wheaton College, and eventually meeting Ron Romanovsky, with whom I performed and toured throughout the United States and Canada for 17 years in the 1980’s and 90’s.
You will also learn a lot about my amazing mother, my primary role model, without whom I might never have survived my youth. The self-confidence she instilled in me and the unconditional love she gave me would carry me through the endless taunting and bullying I experienced in the aggressively heterosexist, unflinchingly conformist world in which I grew up.
Here’s what some of my first readers have said:
“It was so engaging I didn't want to put it down. You're a great storyteller! And you've had a really interesting life.”
– Anonymous first reader #1
“Oh god, not another one of your stories!”
– Ron Romanovsky, former partner and still best friend
“I can’t wait to read your memoir - love the title, and the excerpt you sent is beautiful prose - the style is very touching.”
-Anonymous first reader #2
“I laughed, I cried, and, because I’m into it, I peed myself!”
– Anonymous first reader #3
“Congratulations! I finished reading your book. That’s not how I remember it at all.”
– Mark Phillips, Paul’s brother
All donations will be greatly appreciated, no matter how large or how small.
Donations of $50 or more will receive a copy of the book.
Donations of $100 or more will receive an autographed copy of the book as well as a letter of appreciation.
Donations of $500 or more will receive an autographed copy and a letter as well as being acknowledged at the end of the book (either first and last name, or first name only if you prefer).
Donations of $1000 or more will receive two autographed copies, a letter, an acknowledgement in the book, and a copy of the e-book PLUS a vintage vinyl Romanovsky and Phillips album.
Donations of $5000 or more will receive all of the above rewards, a place in heaven, and my first-born child! (I can dream, can’t I?!)
BUDGET for DIFFERENT*
Copy, development, content editing $3500
Cover design/Layout $500
Photo processing and preparation $700
Copyright, ISBN registration, etc. $300
Miscellaneous expenses $500
*Costs are estimated based on research and current prices and are subject to minor changes and fluctuations.