David Myles Robinson
The day before John F. Kennedy was assassinated I turned thirteen years old. My family had recently moved to Pasadena, CA, and my new junior high school was wonderfully diverse. I vividly recall hearing the news of the shooting as I walked to gym class where one white student shouted above our silent shock words to the effect of how great it was that Kennedy had been murdered. Those of us who had been within earshot of the boy immediately turned on him (verbally, not physically, although emotions were hot and raw and had the boy not promptly left the area, hopefully in shame, the situation could easily have escalated). We were white, black, Asian, and Hispanic kids, coalesced in pain and outrage.
In any event, Kennedy’s death, and my naïve shock at how someone could rejoice in murder, made a huge impact on me. Although I hadn’t done much in the way of writing (other than school papers) before that day, I went home and penned a long poem about America’s collective loss. My parents read and loved it and, unbeknownst to me, gave a copy to our Methodist minister. That Sunday I was shocked to hear the minister read my poem from the pulpit to the overflowing congregation. Today, I don’t remember whether I was more embarrassed than proud or more proud than embarrassed. I also have no idea what happened to that poem.
What I do know is that the sense of expression through writing was an epiphany for my young self. I hadn’t written it for anyone but me, but the process of putting my innermost feelings into words—words which I would probably have bungled had I tried to express them orally—was exhilarating. Later that semester I wrote my first short story and I’ve pretty much been writing ever since.
I recently saw the movie, Paterson, which is about a bus driver (played by Adam Driver) in Paterson, NJ who writes poetry. There is a great deal of subtle depth to the movie, but the one great takeaway for me was the fact that Paterson wrote his poems for himself. He resisted his wife’s attempts to have him make copies. He wrote in his head while driving his bus; he wrote in his notebook on breaks and at lunch. He simply had to write. That is how I feel. I’m pleased to have published three novels with a fourth coming out early next year, but there is one immutable truth, which is that I would write no matter what.
I simply gotta write.
David Myles Robinson
As will become readily apparent, my blogs will not just be about my books or even writing in general. They will be about whatever suits my fancy--and yes, I'm sorry, but that may include politics from time to time. We live in an interestingly tempestuous time and as a writer I find it impossible to ignore the worldwide psycho-drama (and, at times, psycho-comedy) being played out before us on a virtual daily basis.