Thursday, December 06, 2007

My Other Life -- Robin

Some of you may not know this, but I lead a secret double life. (No, not that kind of double life. And definitely not that!) The truth is, when I’m not writing goofy stories for kids, I’m a social worker. My job is to get services, like speech or occupational therapy, for children with disabilities (cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation, etc…).

It’s a challenging job. A meaningful job. A serious job with not a lot of laughs. So most people I work with don’t realize that I spend half of my day with them being serious, and the other half writing goofy stories and doing goofy things such as this, and this, and one time I even did this.

So recently, when my “serious” job and my “goofy writing” job collided, it was…weird. I was about to start a meeting (along with various therapists, behaviorists, and other social worker-types) with the parents of a young boy with autism. Just before I started, the mother said, “Robin, I didn’t realize you were a children’s book writer, too.”

I was shocked! How did she find out!? I looked down to see if I was wearing a t-shirt that said, Don’t You Realize I’m a Children’s Book Writer, Too? But I wasn’t. I just had on my regular social-worker-brown jacket.

“How did you know?” I asked.

She said she read this article in the newspaper about my friend. “I think his name is Jay,” she said.

So there I was, in the middle of a bunch of serious clinical people explaining about my other life of writing goofy stories and hanging out with Jay and Eve. Luckily, the mother gave me a big smile and said, “That is so cool.”

Most of the other people were smiling at me, too. But one of the social workers just tilted her head at me and had a scrunched up, painful look on her face. She didn’t say a word, but I could tell exactly what she was thinking. We’re social workers. We’re not silly people.

But for me, being serious and silly is the perfect combination.

- Robin


Mac McCool said...

Robin, I didn't realize either you had that "other" life! Your two occupations heal and bring comfort to children's hearts -- not that unrelated. And I'm definitely for injecting healthy doses of silliness in grown-up seriousness!

Anonymous said...

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Or something like that. Not that writing is all play, but I'm sure you get my drift. Rejoice in your multilayered self. Lamy

jenni said...

I found your site from Tomie dePaola's site and have enjoyed listening in. I am an SLP in public school, but I have dreams of writing for children. Thank you for sharing about your "serious job" and your silliness too! Jenni

Disco Mermaids said...

Mac, I love how you connected the two professions. I hadn't thought of it quite that way. Thanks!

Lamy, you know my "other" part of my multi-layered self...the one who loves pomegranate martinis. ;-)

And Jenni, I'm so glad you popped over here from Tomie's site. (We love Tomie!) Being a speech therapist in the public schools should give you lots of material for your future children's books!


Joey said...

Silliness is one of my favorite words.

Leslie Muir said...

Cool, Robin. I also lead the double life: pediatric O.T. by day and kid's author by night (or whenever I get the chance).

Social workers rock! I love you guys!

LindaBudz said...

Maybe she was thinking, "Man, I wish I were one-tenth as cool as Robin. Children's writers are the coolest people in the world."

Doesn't everyone think that?