These pretzels are making me thirsty

Welcome to my weird little world. I don’t like talking about myself. Unless I’m crafting a detailed, vulnerable creative nonfiction story from my life, where I’ll pour out my soul to you. Then it’s okay.

My name really is Christopher Robin. My mother tells me I was named after two uncles — Chris and Robin. But I was born in the late 70s, so who’s bullshitting who, Mom?

Most of my work has a soundtrack. There’s one in my brain all the time anyway, so I feel like sharing it. There’s a lyrical or…

Pictures of an oasis

Spring and fall have an added layer of complexity to them when you have a pool. It’s a more acute sense of time, either brought on by maturity or years of life. When you have little ones, time moves at a seemingly increased and frantic pace because they grow so fast. Oh, and the chaos helps accelerate time, as well.

Spring is upon us. Trees are budding, the muddy ground warming and softening from the harsh winter cold. The sun bakes the top layer of leaves, but the underneath is cold and wet. …

Sad music hurts so good

Like raindrops on a window and the barren limbs of an old oak tree, sadness is all around us. Frankly, it’s underrated. It played a major role and saved the day for Joy in Pixar’s movie Inside Out.

While driving to work a few weeks ago, I realized how much sad, slow, somber music I listen to. I wondered if I’m depressed, but nah, that can’t be the case because I’m generally happy. What is it about this music that I like so much?

There’s so much pressure on us to seem happy. I say screw that. Why should I…

Chris Stapleton/The Steeldrivers

All I need from a song these days is for it to light my fuse, send me to the outer cosmos of emotion through transcendent chorded harmonies, and bring me back into another realm where nothing will ever be the same again.

Is that too much to ask of a four-minute song? Maybe.

If your song doesn’t have heart, I’m out. My journey through life and music, both one and the same, is one that involves pure heart and soul. …

When love beats discipline. A photo story.

And you’re so much like me…I’m sorry.

Her cheeks blotchy and eyes swollen, she looks up at me and I shatter. My little girl looks to me for help but pushes me away. She runs after me, nipping at my heels, but shies away when I turn to comfort her. Her head is a mess, and she feels all emotions at once. She is angry and scared, sad and anxious.

On a journey together

I went to bed last night reading an fantastic book for which I’m writing a piece— perhaps for Age of Empathy — since this book is nearly 500 pages of stunning creative nonfiction at heart.

After I closed the book, I accidentally slipped into mentally listing the things I wanted to accomplish the next day. Not exactly the recipe for a good night’s sleep, but what can you do? …

A picture of fire

We moved into our house four years ago. Since that day we’ve been working on making it ours.

It came with an in-ground pool which was its own learning curve. We have a level-ish fenced-in yard, a big shed out back with an electrical sub-panel for pool and beer-fridge purposes, and plenty of room outside for potential additions.

I’ve spent the last two winters renovating the basement, and am close to finishing just in time for pool season. In western Pennsylvania, even during the summer, many evenings get relatively cool and necessitate a heat source.

My kids and I like…

A story about lasting love

On Saturday, April 13th, 1996, in his darkened hospital room, my grandfather said to me, “Friend, I’m not ready to go to heaven.” He had called me Friend from the moment I was born. This was one of the funny little eccentricities that made him special.

I chuckled. He was known to turn words sideways on you. “What do you mean?”

He answered, “Because I only play guitar. I don’t know how to play the trumpet. Saint Peter only wants trumpet players.”

We had a laugh together, but there was something different in his eyes. It was fear. We shook…

You can be who you are

My best friend since childhood has disappointed me in ways I can’t describe, and I fear our friendship is truly in jeopardy. It turns out that he is full of hidden hate and vitriol and toxic masculinity. He used to be a seemingly good guy, but decades of living in his own bubble have turned him into an asshole.

The amount of men I talk to that feel like they have to be “manly” is disturbing. By manly, I mean an antiquated tough-guy, show-no-emotion, knuckle-dragging, misogynistic bullshit kind of manly. Being a man myself, I’m in a unique perspective to…

Christopher Robin

Yes, that's my real name. Yes, I’m in therapy. No, that's not why. Father, husband, writer. Finding beauty in the mundane.

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