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About: Robyn, by Robyn

~ A Calamity Affair Interview ~


When the notoriously cryptic Robyn T. Murphy greets me at the crowded entryway of her modest Californian bungalow, I am understandably nervous. We have only just taken a seat in her simply furnished home, cleverly accessorized with art supplies and cheddar bunnies strewn about the once-white sofas, when the doorbell rings. She apologizes as she gets up from the couch with characteristic pushing of the arms, straightening her draw-string saggy-bottom sweats and understated, once-white T-shirt.

I notice she is larger than her Facebook photo, by several thousand percent (than her actual photo that is. She seems shorter, in fact, than her online persona), and her makeup-free face looks: surprisingly like a face without makeup. The Fed Ex guy at the door pretends not to recognize her. Over her shoulder, she shoots me that 10-Watt  knowing smile, but graciously signs his outstretched tablet. There are no signs of the diva air I had read about . . . in her daughter’s diary. She manages to clear the entryway congestion by throwing the growing crowd (of shoes) in a nearby closet, artfully enclosed in tri-fold doors.

“All of this has been extremely hard on her,” an unnamed friend who went through high school with Robyn reported. “It’s like having a canker sore and sticking a lit match in it every day.” She declined to divulge what ‘all of this’ was.

Robyn T. Murphy’s beagle is now by her feet, staring at her with a sad whine, as if knowing about all of this and worried about her wellbeing. She gives him one piece of the sliced hot dog she keeps in her back pocket.

We are ready to start the interview.

Robyn :  Who put the flibbertigibbet in Flibbertigibbet Books?

Robyn T :  Tag: I’m it! Like every flibbertigibbet, I’ve been many things in my life. The younger me thought she had to know what her occupation was, where she lived, what her religion was. She tried (sporadically) to be one thing at a time. But that was never really the truth. The actual me is faddish, dabbling; interested in everything; here, there and everywhere; a little bit of this and a little bit of that, a deep-thinking day dreamer in pursuit of pure silly fun. High spirited, that’s what my mum thought. My dad was the who mumbled: Flibbertigibbet. Of course, I have evolved (think: making a sculpture out of toothpaste), necessarily, but I remain a flibbertigibbet and it doesn’t suit me to be anything but. Speaking of butts . . .

Robyn :  Yes?

Robyn T :  Oh nothing. I’ve just always wanted to say that.

Robyn :  Why do you write? And who do you read?

Robyn T :  Thanks for asking – what an inspired, mind-warping question. You should copyright that. Well, I’ve found my portable home in writing. It allows me to be all of these flibberty things. I’m told I should be one particular kind of writer. But that would be pretending. I am currently writing children’s books, because they are a smorgasbord of absolutely every gibbet. But I also write short stories for adults; dark and depressing poetry; silly verse; screen plays; and health articles. I read everything on my daughter’s bookshelf and whatever jumps into my arms in a bookstore or library – including Seth Godin, Mr Hemingway, Joseph Campbell. I enjoy Gary Larson and adore Charles Schultz.  I seem to write about dreams and nightmares, about alternate worlds.

Robyn :  That’s confusing. Who are you, then, in a sentence, or two?

Robyn T :  Sigh. I guess I am an Australian-born flibbertigibbet who seems to have settled in California where I co-exist with myself the writer, the wife and mother, friend, sister and daughter, popcorn-popping film-goer, co-dependent to a neurotic beagle, nature-lover, Physical Therapist, recovering technology specialist and medical consultant, travel addict, bully-stomper, member of SCBWI, Write on Mamas and Left Coast Writers, and winner of 2012’s Worst Dressed Hiker award; not to mention a Nikolai Tesla devotee, student of science and spirituality, and anything vaguely related to Neurophysiology. I appreciate good manners and retain the right to use hearty run-on sentences.

Robyn :  What are the messages in your children’s books?

Robyn T :  Like a common theme? I worked as a Physical Therapist for so many years before studying Information Technology – so it makes sense that my vision of perfect health, of mind and body, are in there.

Robyn :  Message please.

Robyn T :  Play in the dirt, connect with people, respect your body, take care of each other.

Robyn :  Okay, so, knowing your flibberty nature, will you keep writing?

Robyn T :  I seem to surround myself with people of loud opinion. The chance to have my say without interruption trumps the urge to jump to other gibbets.

We walk around her courtyard, admiring the resilience of the little potted plants waiting to be planted, and the vines growing over the cans of paint she will use to brighten the outdoor furniture. I thank her for her time. She says it was good to take a break from (reading about) the paparazzi.

On my way out, Robyn T. Murphy manages a wan smile and I can tell she is thinking about all of this.

“Kidney stones.” Her departing words.

I know exactly what she means.


Robyn is a Calamity Affair contributing self-editor

More seriously, Robyn T. Murphy was born in Australia, and worked as a Physical Therapist in Australia, the UK, and Canada, before settling in Marin county. She completed a Masters Degree in Technology, leading to careers in research and training, health informatics and medical consulting. It was after a leaving her traditional job trajectory, that Robyn found her true passion in writing. Her first published children’s book, NIGHTY NIGHTY, JAMA JAMA, was illustrated by her daughter, Savannah when she just eight-years old. It has been well-received by sleep-deprived children and parents alike. Robyn is an active member of The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and Left Coast Writers, Advance Australia, Write on Mamas, Southern Marin Mother’s Club, and Marin Mamas.

NIGHTY NIGHTY, JAMA JAMA!  – Available at local book stores, and online, HERE