Home > Guest Blogs > GUEST BLOG: Catherine Robinson

GUEST BLOG: Catherine Robinson

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Almost six years ago, I stood in front of a classroom and talked to my students about the importance of community involvement. I focused on recycling efforts, boycotts, and letter-writing campaigns in the news that needed young volunteers. My kids seemed eager to get out in the world, apply what they’ve learned, and make a difference.

One of my favorite students wanted to know what I was doing to help.

Stumped for a moment, I then referred to my own stories from the late 1980s and early 1990s, regaling the class with tales of anti-apartheid, animal-rights, and other progressive campaigns. They rolled their eyes and a few yawned.

“What have you done lately?” they asked.

I mentioned my five year-old twin sons, explaining that motherhood is a full-time job. I spoke about my dedication as a high school social studies teacher and devoted wife. Then I mentioned a good book I was reading. What was I supposed to do, I wondered, spend precious free time chained to a nuclear power plant in order to impress my students?

But they were right. If I was asking them to make the world a better place, shouldn’t I practice what I was preaching?

Then it hit me. I could write. I’d had some success writing op-eds for local papers and my letters were routinely published in magazines that raised my ire. Writing was a way of contributing to my community and could be accomplished later in the evening after everyone went to bed. After discussing this idea with the hippest group of seventeen and eighteen year-olds ever assembled, I decided to start a blog and call it Out in Left Field. I envisioned the site as a humorous place, where progressive parenting and politics would meet, and fellow moms could laugh about all is fun and frustrating about our lives.

Before long, local editors and publishers took an interest. My opinions were featured in Tampa Bay newspaper articles about everything from the struggle to find acceptable food during Passover for vegetarian Jews to advice for Britney Spears when she had her second baby. I didn’t let blogging take over my life, or teaching career, but it was a great way to improve as a writer, focus my arguments to make better sense, advocate for what I believed in, and vent about the frustrations of dealing with opinionated children.

These past six years have been terrific, painful, educational, and exciting. I now have two regular humor columns that appear in The Tampa Tribune and Creative Loafing as well as magazines and sites all over the country. I have two self-published e-books, Olivia’s Kiss and Learning Curves, garnering positive reviews and a growing audience. I’ve also acquired an agent who is actively trying to sell my parenting guide: Too Bad About You – How to Raise Kids Worth a Damn.

Not bad for a part-time writer. And all because a couple of teenagers challenged me to get out there and do something.

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Categories: Guest Blogs
  1. February 25, 2011 at 8:52 am

    What a great idea! We forget how writing can make the world a better place, from advocating for improvements to lifting spirits with humor.

    Thanks for sharing, and thanks, Rasana, for hosting.

  2. Gargi Mehra
    February 25, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Good stuff, very inspiring!

  3. chris
    August 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    hi cath, its chris…. we met a few years back 🙂 my email.. christophersmart28@yahoo.com xx

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