I’ve said before that I read all types of work. I’m a book addict, and I love being able to draw people’s attention to titles that they might not seek out otherwise. So it gives me a thrill to be able to not just fangirl over speculative titles and things in the fantasy and horror genre, but all types of fiction. Death of a Shrinking Violet by James Robinson, Jr. is a collection of humorous essays. Books like this are awesome for life lessons and a pick me up, and the author has been gracious enough to provide us with a guest post for today! But first, a little bit about his latest book…
James Robinson, Jr. has experienced a lot in his sixty years of living. He documents many of his life experiences in his new book: Death of a Shrinking Violet: A Collection of Essays For Our Time. Death of a Shrinking Violet—which consists of thirteen humorous essays covering a variety of topics—has nothing to with death or the sadness associated with a shrinking violet. Written by award winning essayist and satirist James Robinson, Jr., it celebrates all of the daily moments and collective events that we all share; all of the things we have in common as living, breathing members of the human race. As you read, you’ll find yourself saying: “That happened to me,” or “Oh, that’s so funny!” But mostly, you’ll nod and say: “I know exactly what you mean.”
Get ready to smile, laugh, and cry; Death of a Shrinking Violet is about you and me.
I have a novella entitled “Book of Samuel” coming out soon so I’m familiar with both the non-fiction/essay and fiction process. I can definitely say that the experiences are very different. The material I use for my essays deals with real-life material so I’m constantly on the lookout for some piece of material that I can latch onto and develop in to an essay.
All of my essays are humorous. My essays usually start with a germ of material or a topic. In “Death of a Shrinking Violet” for instance, I got the idea to write an essay about Sam’s Club after dozens of visits to the stores. After giving some thought to the idea, sitting down and sketching it up (doing some brainstorming with pencil and paper in hand). Very little research is usually required; my experience is all I need.
In the essay, “Where’s your Coat?” I realized that it really bugged me that some people didn’t where coats even in bitter cold weather. What’s the problem with these people? How can you wear a t-shirt in the winter? People never did this when I was young. Is this some sort of new phenomenon?
My other book, “Fighting the Effects of Gravity” is also essay like in nature but centers around one subject – that of midlife. It contains a host of anecdotes about my life and my experiences with growing older and struggling with my mortality and, in many ways, could be considered my memoir.
If a writer really wants to get into this genre and write in the honest and way that I do they should know that they are discussing their lives and the lives of their friends and families with their readers. They certainly don’t have to name names but my parents, my wife, and kids are frequently my favorite subjects because I’ve lived with them so long. However, and now that they’ve been referenced seen themselves used in my essays they are wise to me and are often unwilling to provide me with any tidbits.
“Don’t say anything to him,” they say. “He might put it in his next book.”
James Robinson, Jr. retired from the working world at the age of fifty eight to pursue his passion to be a writer in 2010. He is the award winning author of the humorous memoir Fighting the Effects of Gravity: A Bittersweet Journey Into Middle Life. Robinson resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with Deborah, his wife of thirty-six years. He has three adult children and four grandchildren.
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