My first stop on this drive was Memphis to visit my friend Robb. He’s not someone I’ve been very close to through the years, but we were acquaintances back in grammar school. We reconnected through Facebook and seem to have found an affinity for one another so I thought it would be a nice first stop on this journey.
Back in our childhood, Robb was part of a musical family, The Zelonky’s, and I recall his singing a duet from Fiddler on the Roof with another classmate, David Bain, in the talent show in either 5th of 6th grade. Diane Dauber did a dance thing with someone else in that show to “I Feel the Earth Move Under MyFeet,” but the rest I forget.
Anyway, I got to spend an evening with Robb and 2 of his children, and I left his home and Memphis feeling inspired. He has such a loving and encouraging way with his children and his professional accomplishments are impressive. He is involved wholeheartedly in musical theatre and music in general. I’m just going to toot his horn a little here so you can get a flavor, and it leads into a reflection on myself and the inspiration that I feel. He is currently auditioning kids for a production of “The Wiz” which he is directing. He has written, and recorded several CDs of children’s music and he performs for many schools and organizations in the area under the name of Robbo. He’s been directing and acting in theatre, has recently written and recorded a very impressive full musical based on Harry Potter, has recently completed a memoir of sorts which I didn’t get to see about his life growing up with a sometimes abusive father. He also recently presented a treatment for a TV series to some Hollywood people. It seems like he’s always got several irons in the fire, this in addition to being a very engaged father of three young teens, one of whom is acting on Broadway and will soon be touring with the production of “Billy Elliot,” and the other two who are involved in theater and production in Memphis.
We had some nice time to talk and I asked him how he gets so much writing done and he said that he dedicates 3 hours/day to it, sometimes more. I have so many projects of my own in the works but I end up being a little too scattered in my mind to focus well enough, or so it seems. I know I have the capacity to focus on creative projects and get them done, having dedicated several years to the design and construction of my home. Much of my creative work is done on the computer – writing, photography, books, film editing – but I find that when I’m on the computer, I easily get distracted and drawn into email, work-related issues, news, etc. I think I need to work on carving out more time which is dedicated solely to these projects. I don’t like when my life feels too scattered, when I get pulled in too many directions at the same time. Maybe I need a special writing desk, a space dedicated just to that. Maybe I could make that desk once I get home (oh yes, another project). I like woodworking projects though, because I find it easy to focus my attention there and easier for me to complete them as well.
The bottom line of all of this is that I was impressed by Robb’s creative manifestation, envious of his relationship with his children, and inspired to create more and more. He’s also a very warm-hearted and welcoming person, which helps to explain his success in working with children. Thanks Robb, I appreciate your inspiration.