Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...

updated 08/30/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/30/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

>Robert Fulghum

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

FORGET THE NOBEL PRIZE, PHOOEY on the Pulitzer: Best-selling author Robert Fulghum, 51, is content with what he calls "the refrigerator-door prize"—meaning that his fans often post his upbeat, down-to-earth essays on their refrigerators. "I'm pleased," says Fulghum, "because you can really tell what's important to people by looking at their refrigerator doors."

Fulghum, the father of four and grandfather of four, lives (with second wife Lynn Edwards, 45) on a houseboat in Seattle and a ranch in Utah. Part of the appeal of his dispatches on daily life, he says, can be credited to his informal "chatting with a friend over coffee" writing style. "I even spend my own money to have an editor make sure I don't get high-minded and use fancy metaphors," he says. "After all, I'm not in the wine business. I'm in the business of beer and orange juice."

Though his instincts are commercial, his tolerance for trekking across the country' to peddle his wares was always limited—until last year, when he came up with the notion of touring to raise money for an array of charities. "It's called the 22 cities, 22 causes, One Good Reason tour, and my goal is to raise a total of $I million by 1994," says Fulghum. "Actually, I'm going to 40 cities, but we kept the number 22 in honor of the brave Sarajevo cellist—Vedran Smailovic—I write about at the end of my book. He combated the destruction of war by playing for 22 days in front of a bombed-out bakery."

Between a busy schedule of writing and book tours, Fulghum, an accomplished artist and musician (he plays the mandoloncello), performs in a rock band with fellow writers Stephen King (rhythm guitar), Barbara Kingsolver (keyboards), Amy Tan (vocals), Dave Barry (lead guitar) and Ridley Pearson (bass). Called the Rock Bottom Remainders, the band toured the East Coast last year. Next winter—what else?—they'll publish a book about their adventures.

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