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 we offer you a continuation in our six-part series called “The Six As of Addiction.” Today’s letter is from a reader who wonders if writing is beginning to endanger his sense of reality...

Dear Dr. Jim,

I’m contacting you in hopes you might put some of my family’s recent worries to rest; my wife and kids seem to think that my writing career has begun to “take control” of me (if you can believe such an absurd notion). I’ve been at work on my latest novel for several months now and am enjoying the process immensely. Granted, I do work long hours in my study, sometimes emerging from my writing space only to eat a meal or two a day. And if I find myself particularly engrossed in what I am writing, some nights I will not sleep but work straight through till morning. I do not find this unusual . . . the creative process is consuming, yes, but I am quite sane. The fact is, research is critical during this kind of work (my new novel is a historical piece, a swashbuckler about pirates on the North Carolina coast). It is essential that I get into character while writing, so that I can “feel” the action, characters, and overall heart of the story. On those nights when I work straight through (despite the pitiful pleadings of my family members on the other side of the door), I will, of course, dress myself in full pirate costume. When my neck and shoulders begin to cramp from the tedious hours at the keyboard, I will often stretch my limbs by swinging my sword above my head while shouting “AHOY, ME MATEYS! SWAB THAT DECK! AAARRRGGGGHHH!” or some such, as I find it gets my creative juices really flowing. Yes, by day I am a mild-mannered, part-time author and full-time CPA, but by night, I become CAPTAIN LAFOOTE! AAARRRGGGHHH!

Well, that’s about it. Please give me some hints as to how I can convince my family to leave me alone while I work. This novel is going to be my legacy, my treasure chest, so to speak. Arrgghh…if these blasted landlubbers can’t accept me for who I be, then I’ll consider it MUTINY! I’ll have ’em walk the plank, I will….


Dear “LaFoote”,

Sir, I need you to calm down. I want you to sit in a comfortable chair, breathe deeply and rhythmically, and perhaps sing a sailing song to the parrot that is no doubt clinging to your shoulder.

You undoubtedly are suffering from ARDD: Arrested Reality Development Disorder. Symptoms include becoming lost in the imaginary world of your latest book, finding yourself talking more to the characters in your story than to your own family members, and in more severe cases, dressing like pirates, clowns, priests, farmers, Amish, kings (or queens), etc. If, for instance, you consider taking out the trash an act of spine-tingling espionage, or if (in your case) you’ve just called your wife “First Mate” and asked her to raise the topsails . . . well, you need professional intervention and treatment.

I would agree to take you on as a client myself, if that were possible. However, for the next few days I will be working undercover as a secret agent, as part of an attempt to foil a suspected assassination plot against the Mayor of Munchkin Land. I wish you all the best . . . get help, LaFoote. You need it.

I’m Dr. Jim . . . and I’m (attentively) listening . . .

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

The Flower of Grass