Member Spotlight: Ed Robson
Back to the Books
by Angell Caudill
In the Fall of 2018 when colleges and universities across the country welcomed new students to their campuses, one of Winston-Salem Writers’ very own returned to the hallowed halls of academia.
Ed Robson grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where his father, who held a doctorate in Chemical Physics, worked as a research scientist for Humble Oil (a precursor of Exxon). His mother served as a Director of Christian Education with the Methodist Church and later taught piano lessons. The oldest of four siblings, Ed lost his only brother, aged 4, in a tragic accident (an event Ed has written about in his poetry). Ed’s two sisters Martha and Margaret are a retired Presbyterian minister and full professor of Classics at Dartmouth, respectively.
Ed first began writing poetry at the behest of a high school teacher and says as he looks back at some of his early works, though full of adolescent angst, he also sees whispers of his life’s philosophy embedded in those early lines. Ed remembers being unpopular in high school, too intellectual, “socially prickly” and feeling all around clueless about life in general. I am sure many Winston-Salem Writers’ members feel his pain!
As an eighteen year old, Ed began his studies at Rice University as a math major, but soon switched to computer science. After a year and a half, he left Rice and “hitched” the country working as a “Roustabout” which eventually earned hi enough money to buy a motorcycle and a guitar. I am visualizing a Cajun mix of Che Guevera and Jack Kerouac. He was on the road about two years and then returned to his studies at LSU – this time in Philosophy. After a few semesters at LSU, he left to travel again. Ed reports writing prolifically during each of his travel experiences. When he returned a year later, he landed in Psychology, in which he completed his degree. A few years later, Ed earned a Doctorate in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill. He had found his passion and life’s work. In his career, he served as a school psychologist, as an advocate in the juvenile court system, and had a private practice. His most rewarding time was his last eleven years in practice working with the Epilepsy Institute. However, Ed basically stopped writing poetry between ages 25 and 50 though he still wrote essays in the fields of psychology and theology and produced a weekly column, “Soul to Soul,” for the Kernersville News from 1998-2000.
Ed Robson will tell you that at 50 he had a suburban home, a wife and family, and thriving career. At 51, he says this scenario had changed, but he had returned to writing. For the past fifteen years, Ed has written in the genres of poetry and fiction. In 2016, he decided that it was time for him to return to university once more, this time to seek a MFA in writing. In his first round of applications that year, he was wait listed a couple of places. In his second round in 2017, he was accepted into the three year program at The University of Central Arkansas. The program is directed by Stephanie Vanderslice, Professor of Creative Writing and Chairperson of the Creative Writing Studies Organization. Her column, “The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life” appears regularly in the Huffington Post.
When I met for coffee with Ed over Christmas break, he reported a successful and enjoyable first semester in his program. Next fall, he will be teaching freshman composition while continuing his studies. His goal is to be able to teach and make a living as a novelist. Winston-Salem Writers wishes you the best of luck, Ed, and will look forward to receiving your progress reports!