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A very long drive


I left Detroit around 3pm on Saturday (the last Saturday of July 2018) after a brief visit with an old friend in Plymouth. Well, he really isn’t old, actually he is younger than me, by about 130 days.

After going over the Mackinaw bridge traffic slowed way down. There was not much time before dark and I will do anything to avoid driving at night these days. This is one of the distinctions of my getting older, which is hardly an excuse.

Looking for a motel on a Saturday night is always tough, but this area has lots and lots of little cheap motels. Pretty much all of them are now closed down and boarded up. I drove on and on into the night.

Until I came to Dreamland. It was perfect (there was a no-show, who for all I knew would be arriving in the wee hours to be turned away, no rooms for 80 miles said the proprietor of Dreamland. I love that name. There never was a peep from the no-show, as it turned out therefore it was all good, I got a room!), and I got my oatmeal at the Dreamland café, where the hummingbirds put on an excellent show of high speed death defying stunts.

Day 2: Michigan to Wisconsin and then deep into Minnesota.

Stayed at a little place in Crookston.

Day 3: Minnesota, North Dakota and into Montana.

Saco is where I landed, the only thing worse than night driving might be driving West at sunset.

Now I am in Libby Montana, home of the ongoing vermiculite disaster. I have always enjoyed visiting this area, nice trails in the forested hills.

Tomorrow, Sandpoint Idaho to visit with my cousin, with whom I spent the summer of 1963 at the home of my Aunt Mary and Uncle Tommy in McComb Mississippi.

From there Home to Olympia, where I will immediately get a job and live happily ever after.

The main thing I accomplished was to close out my storage locker. That was very difficult.

Sturgeon in the Kalamazoo river?


I am back. It’s been a long time but everything is pretty much where I left it, but it all looks so different.

Sturgeon lived in the Kalamazoo River for many thousands of years. We did well and had abundance, and shared it and time went by and it was a great life.

Things are different now.

I was told that in life I could do anything I wanted to, I could choose any career. I have no regrets. A rich man teaches his son to prosper, a poor man teaches his son to survive. I chose what I thought was the best. I did nothing wrong. I guess the problems of the world are bigger than they used to be, and that is what is keeping most people up and some people down. You see them, sitting by the traffic light holding tattered signs. You can’t tell me you have not seen them. What are we doing with them?

Not everything works all the time. There are days when it seems hopeless. But there are days when it’s amazing, the water is clear and there are lots of little creatures eating each other all around the river. On the surface maybe there is a calm duck making its way along the surface of the river and maybe a little breeze and it’s all so peaceful but just below the surface, in the water, it’s a jungle. Eat or be eaten. The big ones have no fear and most of the little ones become a meal for the slightly bigger ones. Nobody gets a free ride.

History and Economics


1974 High School Graduate

“You can do anything. What will be your profession?”


Message to the past: DON’T DO IT! Pick something that will pay the rent, you can still do your art.

My name is Robin B. James. The B distinguishes Robin from the other awesome Robin James’s out there: an actor, a famous children’s book author/illustrator, a wise professor, a Man for Himself stylist, a pop rock singer, and many, many more. I am an American Artist. I am a proud graduate of Albion College 1978, with a triple major Theater, Visual Arts, and English. A triple major was possible because experimental education was an option at that time (not any more). I had the only Independently Designed Major when I graduated. My parents were both Albion College faculty stardust. I am a child of a history professor and an economics guru. They were both self proclaimed Children of The Depression which was followed by World War II, and they practiced daily lives of thrift. Because they had experienced extreme poverty, they were extremely mindful of waste and were always figuring out ways of reusing things. Waste not want not. I was told, which is a good foundation for life in general.

My first position after graduation was forming a touring poetry-puppet show. This lead to radio theater arts and then music journalism. I invented a system of using pictures to improvise story telling. I became the world’s authority on the electronic folk arts of the 1980s and edited The Cassette Mythos (ISBN 9780936756691). Adding the study of library sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle allowed me to not have to choose between any of the academic specializations, arts and sciences, thus I can study them all. Which means I have a shallow understanding of everything. Next I invented a quantified keyword system for a stock photography business pioneering new commerce models on the world wide web.

On September 11, 2001 I was the guy at the office of the Center for World Performance Studies at the University of Michigan International Institute. For a very brief time I was living the dream of being an actual Art Librarian at the Kalamazoo Institute for the Arts, looking back now this probably was the zenith of my professional career, an opportunity to blend my background in undergraduate studies (fine arts) with the practice of library science, even if this was mostly volunteer work. I was a reference librarian in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (historic Schuylkill County, home of the Molly Maguires) followed eventually by being the library manager at the American Institute of Alternative Medicine (Columbus Ohio) which includes the studies of acupuncture, massage therapy and traditional LPN/RN training. Most recently I spent several years working with elderly and developmentally disabled adults, respectively.

I still write reviews of recorded jazz and experimental audio art. I search for my Albion Moonlight. My inner author has not yet levitated. I have failed at all these things, but I have few regrets. Thank you Thomas Jefferson College of Grand Valley State Colleges (now GVSU), Albion College, The Evergreen State College, and University of Washington Graduate School of Library and Information Science for the training to adapt to most anything and to have the confidence and courage to try new things.

Gallery of Robin James

the jazz singer

the singer-songwriter

Man for Himself England-based fashion consultant

this is me, Robin B., in 2011




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