Posted by Madhu B. Wangu on January 11, 2014
As we grow older our writing process may slow down. Our short-term memory may not be as sharp. Spelling may elude us at times. But we are constantly aware if we want to complete a book of our dreams we must write daily. We cannot procrastinate. And when we finish a piece and see our work in print what an exhilarating experience that is! James Robinson, this month’s guest writer shares his experience of starting to write rather late in life in his piece, “Defining Moments and Lesson Learnt.” (See Writing & Meditation Page)
You are never too old to start practicing mindful writing. Those moments when your heart is overflowing with feelings and thoughts simply bring out your notebook or laptop and begin. Write as long as you can keep your pencil or fingers moving. Following this discipline, James succeeded in his writing practice and also found a group of like-minded writers. He has spent a year with the Mindful Writers Group where he met mentors and forged friendships.
As an older person James has more time to dedicate to the practice of writing and meditation. He has a wealth of life experience to draw from. For inspiration he extracts ideas from his family, his travels and his reading.
James Robinson, Jr. was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1952. His father was a Presbyterian minister and a civil-rights activist in the sixties. His mother started an after-school program in 1972 in the third floor of an old plumbing warehouse that has expanded into a pre-school program in Manchester, Pittsburgh.
As an only child James began writing poetry at age 12. One of his first efforts was a poem entitled Black is Me. It explored the nature of the color black and ended with a definitive connection with the author. Written in early 60s, the content of his poem was ahead of its time. The poem celebrated “Black is Beautiful” several years prior to when African Americans began embracing the color black and referring themselves in this manner. At age 15-16 he worked as a copyboy at the Pittsburgh Press/Post Gazette and as an intern at KDKA TV while in high school. He studied under Pittsburgh novelist Gladys Schmitt as a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University’s writing program. Later he joined its fiction and arts curriculum.
It was from 1994 that Robinson’s writing career began in earnest. His first attempt at serious writing was Fighting the Effects of Gravity: A Bittersweet Journey Into Middle Life. The book turned out to be a fifteen-year project that jumpstarted his writing career. Gravity is both autobiographical in nature and his treatise on the perils of midlife. The book was an Indie Excellence Finalist. Robinson has since written a second non-fiction book, Death of a Shrinking Violet. It consists of thirteen humorous essays that deal with everyday life situations. He has also written two novellas Book of Samuel, Johnson Family Chronicles, Book I and The Long Goodbye — Johnson Family Chronicles, Book II. Book of Samuel is a Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner in Short Story Fiction. Currently he is working on Book III of the Johnson Family Chronicles.
Robinson lives in Pittsburgh with his wife Deborah, his three children and four grandchildren.
Check the following links to his books: