Dr. Jim

James E. Robinson is a professional songwriter, musician, author, counselor, and speaker. His songs have been recorded by major artists in country, Christian, and rock music and he has recorded three CD's of his own. He and his wife are co-founders of ProdigalSong Ministries [www.ProdigalSong.com], combining music, speaking, and education workshop presentations, they travel and perform in churches, treatment centers, schools, and correctional facilities throughout the country.


Greetings, dear readers. Today’s letter might be entitled “Confessions of a Book Addict”

Dear Dr. Jim,

I hope you can help. All my life I’ve been an avid reader; I began reading early (around eighteen months, according to my mother, who claims I would “goo-goo” some semblance of the words on the back of my baby formula cans) and soon realized that books would be my vice. During elementary school my grades suffered (all but English class) because I had my nose stuck in various works of fiction rather than in the appropriate textbooks. Oh yes, I endured the usual kinds of verbal bullying from my peers: “book worm” and “four-eyes” (my vision weakened by endless hours of night reading by flashlight beneath the covers). None of this bothered me much. My love for books brought more than enough solace.

Now, though, as an adult, things seem to be getting somewhat out of hand. I’m single and without a family of my own (no time for such . . . do you know how many new books come out every year?) and seem to be having difficulty remaining employed at any one place for long (many bosses, sadly, do not share my appreciation for fine literature . . . especially when I’m enjoying it during working hours). My bills often go unpaid, and my interpersonal relationships are . . . well, I don’t have any relationships worth mentioning. I’ve tried putting the proverbial “cork in the jug” regarding books, but nothing works; I hide books from myself, take boxes of them to Goodwill (only to chicken out before I get there), promise myself I’ll only “use” on weekends, and have even considered some sort of inpatient treatment. Can you help me?

Book Worm

Dear Book Worm,

You are not alone. When I was a child, kids in my school nicknamed me “Wordsworth.” Mind you, none of them had ever read a word of Wordsworth, but since I was always scribbling original poetry onto notebooks and even scraps of paper, someone thought it might be funny. At age six, I wrote this poem on the back of a Double-Bubble wrapper:

Doublemint, Spearmint,
Dentene, too
So good to taste
So fun to chew

As you can see, my gift was recognizable quite early in life. When I was lonely, books. When I felt afraid, books. When the other kids were blowing up neighborhood mailboxes with cherry bombs . . . well, I sometimes helped with that, but mostly it was books. Fear not. Many struggle with this and similar issues. Groups can help by sharing their strength, experience, and hope (try BAA: Book Addicts Anonymous). Granted, these meetings can sometimes slow and even stall when everyone in attendance has their noses stuck in books, but it might be worth a try for you. You might also consider . . . I’m sorry . . . wait a moment. Oh, please forgive me, Book Worm, but I must cut this letter short; the doorbell is ringing, and I think it’s a delivery from Amazon!!!!!

I’m Dr. Jim . . . and I’m listening . . .

When not writing this column, Jim can be found compulsively overworking at www.ProdigalSong.com and www.jameserobinson.com.

The Flower of Grass