She has a new book of poetry, “Life’s Jules,” that, though supposed to be in her hands since before last Christmas, she can finally thumb through and admire.
In the beginning
The book of poems contains 24 works by Stricklin, some dating all the way back to 1982, but she’s been writing way before then.
“I started writing in sixth grade,” Stricklin recalled. “It was for an assignment in the class.
“I just came up with a poem, and it was so easy. I started writing then and haven’t stopped since.”
Stricklin is a quiet, seemingly reserved woman. She talks with a low and precise country twang and can always be seen wearing a cap and dark glasses wherever she goes.
But if you get to talking to her about her life’s work, she’s bound to talk your ear off in short, steady sentences.
“Every poem in this book can relate to somebody in their life in a different way,” Stricklin said. “And I didn’t realize it was like that until I was ready to send it off.”
But she wasn’t always so keen on releasing her work publicly. Writing for years (mainly for herself), Stricklin eventually began reading them out loud at local writer and poetry meetings.
“At first, these were put away and were never going to be published.
“But my friends kept after me, so I sat down amongst all my poetry that I had taken out, and I chose these, because they all seemed to be in a special category.”
The author’s talents come about like most writers. They live life and keep themselves open for anything, sometimes coming upon inspiration in the most subtle of ways.
“Sometimes, I’ll be there, and part of a poem will snap in to my head, and I’ll have to go sit down and write it.
“And with others, I’ll just get flashes of (inspiration), and I go and write them down, and if at that point in time I’m busy or something and if it doesn’t flow, I’ll just set it aside and go back to it later.
“If I have to fight for the words, I’ll put it aside. I’m not going to get mad at it.
“But I need to get me a little tape recorder, because when I’m going down the road and one hits and it’s a good one, I’m pulling over and getting a piece of paper.
“One of these days a cop’s going to pull up beside me and ask me what I’m doing.
“I don’t know if they’d believe me.”
And though she’s always willing to help out aspiring writers, she hasn’t gotten much of a chance to collaborate with other writers from the area until recently.
“I’m doing that right now. It’s my first time to do it.
“This lady came up to me with only two stanzas, and she couldn’t figure out where to take it. She read them to me, and I told her to write them down and I would help her.
“So far, so good,” she said with a huge laugh. “It is so fun.”
When asked about her favorite personal poem she’s ever written, she smiles and quickly answers.
“My Little Girl.”
The work is in the new collection of poems, and she is more than excited to recite the first stanza.
“She has her holey jeans on.
Mr. Tangles all in her hair.
Mickey’s on her T-shirt.
Her little feet are bare.”
“I walk around, and I can’t get rid of the first stanza, because it stuck in my head, and it’s exactly they way I’ve been wanting to write poetry all my life, and I finally did it.
“And I was so in shock. I just wrote it down and just stood there and looked at it.
“I had to walk away from it, because I didn’t want to ruin it.
“Just that one stanza knocked my socks off.
“I’ve got probably close to 1,550 poems and that one is the only one I can remember.”
What’s next for author
Though her book is finally in her hands, she’s already figuring she’s going to have to re-order another batch fairly soon.
“I’ve got a friend who knows quite a few people who want copies.
“And as I went down my list, I was like, ‘Definitely have to reorder.’ I’ve got to; there’s no way around it.”
Yet, that hasn’t stopped her from starting on her next collection of poems.
“Compared to the first one, it’s going to be supersized.
“I’m in the process, because there’s a lot of poems that pop in to my head, and I have to really think about them before I publish them.”
If you haven’t ever heard of Stricklin or her new book, there’s a likely reason.
She’s careful and quiet about everything she does, thinking out every bit in every part of whatever she’s trying to do.
“I’m still in the very, very beginning of it. And I’m not sure what to do with it now.
“Somebody told me just put it on the Internet through Facebook and all that, and I’ll get a bunch of people interested.
“Well, I don’t know about that. Because with this I have to think everything out. I can’t just put it out there and say ‘OK, there it is’ like a normal poem.
“This is my baby.”
You can request a copy of “Life’s Jules” by calling Julie D. Stricklin at (361) 597-0526.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.