Robin - a literature major in college and somewhat on the emotional side - grew up in a family where he was expected to work hard, get a B.A., work hard and get a PH.D. (or J.D. or M.D.), the unspoken implication being not to deviate from this path for the rest of his life. He feels close to his passive mother, but has a fraught relationship with his domineering father, a successful history professor. Things don't work out with the coed he falls for, but a friend provides emotional support then and after graduation. Early in his senior year he realizes that he wants to write a major novel rather than go on to graduate school. This decision naturally upsets his parents greatly. After his graduation he works for some three years as a waiter while struggling to achieve his ambitious goal. All along, he has manifold encounters with the most diverse people; several experiences reinforce his abhorrence of following in his father's footsteps in academia, and also confirm his complete lack of interest in becoming a school teacher. In the end, while waiting to hear from a publisher, he visits his self-absorbed grandmother and is overcome by doubt and raw anxiety whether he had been able to prove his mettle with the novel he wrote.
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Heide Koenitzer Clark is the author of "Monsignor." "The Robin Stories" is her second book. She finds it fitting to cite the German painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774 - 1840): "The artist should paint not only what he sees before him, but also what he sees within him."
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