What was one of your favorite songs when you were a kid? What is one of your favorite songs now? As a kid, I loved really cheesy, super-sad, love songs. Like, the kind that made you want to lock yourself in your room at night in the dead of winter with the window open and stare out into the dark, waiting for that really tragic love story to happen to you. Songs like “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak and “Boys of Summer” by Don Henley. Bonus points if the music video was also very, very sad.
The really tragic love story never happened to me (maybe only mildly tragic), but I still like sad songs. When I’m driving at night sometimes I listen to Jason Isbell songs and, yeah, I cry a little bit. Right now, I really love “Flagship” off Something More Than Free, which I guess is only potentially sad rather than actually sad. Maybe that’s progress.
Link us to a favorite online story/a story you read and couldn’t stop thinking about. I love almost everything I’ve read at PANK, including “Notes for a Story,” by Travis Hessman. The stories at PANK make me wish so badly that I would have written something like that and then resolve to keep trying. There was a story at A River and Sound Review, “Concretia Dementia,” by Cathy Adams. I can’t provide the link because it’s not around anymore, but it was a sweet story about an older man making a concrete sculpture in his backyard. I liked the quietness and the sweetness of it. It had a happy ending. I believe that really great stories can have happy endings.
Tell us about your connection to the Cincinnati Reds. I was born right in the middle of the Big Red Machine, the period from 1970-1976 when the Reds dominated the National League. This was the era of Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Ken Griffey, Sr., Dave Concepcion, Tony Perez and Joe Morgan. My sister had a Johnny Bench poster on her wall when we were little. I grew up with those faces and those legends. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know who Sparky Anderson was.
My family lived across the river from Cincinnati in Kentucky, but if you got all A’s in school, there was a program that gave you free Reds tickets. So at least once a year, my whole family went to a Reds game together at Riverfront Stadium.
My dad played baseball in high school and he’s always been a fan. He remembers going to games at Crosley Field, where the first ever nighttime MLB game was played in 1935 (we played the Phillies and won, 2-1). Whatever my dad was doing around the house or outside, he’d have the radio with him, listening to the Reds. When I hear baseball on the radio, I think of my dad and summer and sawdust, as he was usually building something.
The Reds are home and family and childhood. We’re the oldest team in the league. For years, the Reds played the opening game of the season every year. Where I come from, you root for the Reds and that’s the way it is. For me, to write about the Reds and baseball is to write about who I am. It’s to write about who we are.
What is (one of) your favorite word(s)? Tell us why. Ethnomethodology. I like the way it sounds, with lots of internal rhyme and alliteration. I like that it looks like a very fancy word but all it means is “the study of folks ways.” It’s a particular branch of sociology that pays very close attention to the complexity of everyday social life. Like writing, it’s a field of study that makes things that appear to be boring very interesting.
What is your favorite candy? Sour neon gummy worms. They have to be the right kind. Luckily the local chocolate shop keeps them in stock for me.
Tell us about your favorite article of clothing. Tell us why. Socks. Striped knee socks and whimsical socks. I have a whole drawer full of them. Socks with art (Girl with a Pearl Earring Socks complete with a little pearl), cats, coffee, cameras, cocktails, chickens, goddesses, bicycles. I have almost every kind of sock. I probably like the striped knee socks the best, though. I think I like them because they’re fun and they make me feel a little bit witchy in the best possible way. I think my socks make people smile.
What is your favorite animal? Cats. Or cats. Or maybe cats. One of the cats we have now is the best cat in the entire world. She’s very fat and black and her name is Kevin. She is like an irritable stuffed animal. I don’t know how people live in the world without a cat. I don’t want to try.
You can read Robyn's WP stories here and here and you can buy her WP chapbook THE FACE OF BASEBALL here.