A Brief History of Tom Robson

1989 – 2007:¬†Birth, early childhood, school, and other boring in-between-y things that have mostly been erased from memory. Developed faster than most kids (weaned at 6 weeks, could walk and talk at 1, could read by 4 and was onto Stephen King at 10) but everyone else had caught up to me by puberty. Played with toys for a lot longer than the average kid (N.B. I prefer to attribute that to an overactive imagination rather than a stunted maturity). After that phase had passed I was mostly interested in books and gaming. At this point my interest in Science-Fiction hadn’t progressed beyond Star Wars and Deus Ex, but I had been writing stories (or rather starting and never finishing them) of various genres since I could first hold a pen.

 

2007-2010: The university years. Probably the best time of my life. I embraced my new-found freedom (albeit slowly) in my new city and evolved into a chilled out, optimistic, happy-go-lucky person. Ironically I read and wrote very little in this time despite doing a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. I dipped my toes in several aspects of ‘nerd culture’ including LARP, tabletop roleplaying, and World of Warcraft (though the latter is the only one that stuck for any period of time). I got deeper into music and delved into genres that I hadn’t even known had existed. In my final year I did a Science-Fiction module that finally opened my eyes to the beauty and scope of the genre.

 

2010-2011: Post-university and the troubles of real life. If I thought I’d lived in a ‘bubble’ before going to uni then wow was I in for a shock. I spent 2 months after my final exam enjoying the respite and haphazardly applying for various editing/proofing/otherwise-somehow-related-to-my-degree jobs that I expected to fall into my lap, after all, I was newly qualified to do ALL of the English! Not really understanding how all of these dozens of companies could straight up blank me but realising that I quickly needed money with which to pay the bills, I signed onto JSA and slowly began to lower my expectations. 3 months later after my graduation and a brief stint of volunteering at a charity shop I landed a position as a van porter at my local B&Q.

For a few months the planets seemed to have aligned in my favour. I now had a permanent job, the hours of which seemed to perfectly synchronise with those of my housemates and other friends. For a while we were busy working hard and playing hard, and I had hobbies coming out of my ears. The happiness felt at this time was possibly more intense that the happiness felt during my uni days. No moment was wasted.

After a while though the routine began niggling at me and the things that I had once loved doing began to feel too forced and regimented. What is more I started to feel very dissatisfied with my job. I tried to reconnect with my passions, and began to plan and write what would eventually become ‘Regarding Mikhail’. I had forgotten how much I loved to write; I hadn’t sat down and tried to seriously¬†write anything for fun in maybe 6 or 7 years. It felt good. I finished ‘Regarding Mikhail’ and began to write ‘Lioness’. Everything got bigger and longer, the series filling itself out almost uncontrollably before my eyes.

Now that I finally felt like I had found my true calling, I began to hate my job. I felt suffocated, pouring so many hours into unrewarding physical labour with people that I didn’t connect with. I began to inexplicably miss my family. I wanted to write, and that’s all I wanted to, so in a decision that in hindsight I consider to be rash and foolhardy I quit my job, packed up my things and moved back into the family home. I struggled to adjust and withdrew into myself. I did no writing. The only thing that made me the slightest bit happy at this time was a temporary job at Waterstones that kept me busy over Christmas.

 

2012: As far as my working and personal life goes, a lot of nothing happened in this year but the writing snowballed like crazy. I finished writing ‘Lioness’, began and finished writing ‘The Theseus Paradox’, then edited and released both ‘Regarding Mikhail’ and ‘Lioness’. This process took perhaps 10 or 11 months in total. Over the Christmas period I returned to Waterstones.

 

2013 – present: It was like I’d pushed forwards through 2012 and was now yo-yo-ing back into 2011. I’d had my fill of writing for the time being having amassed around 180,000 words + countless hours of reading and rereading in a single year, and all I craved was a menial job that would pay the bills. I started and got about 15,000 words into ‘Unchained Chaos’ before I (temporarily) threw in the towel in an effort to concentrate on finding work. I secured a job as an Internet Assessor which paid well and could be done from home, but like most of my previous jobs it was temporary and would therefore need replacing. I don’t like the throw the term ‘depression’ around lightly, but I was definitely experiencing it on some level. I was thrown back to that horrible time when nobody would hire me, only this time round there were no friends around to help me take my mind off things. I’d sit on the sofa for days on end applying for what I could and then moping around drinking cheap wine, playing Tetris, and watching old documentaries on 4OD.

A week ago I started a new job as a bartender. It’s physically demanding but the hours are both plentiful and flexible and most importantly the position is permanent.

So where am I at now? I don’t know, but I definitely feel more positive about everything. The weight of having no money has been lifted but there’s still a lot missing in my life. Hopefully once I’m settled in my new job the source of writing inspiration and motivation that before this year I had no trouble maintaining will return and I can get back to doing what I do best. In the meantime I’m planning to get to work on editing ‘The Theseus Paradox’ and maybe recording some new music (as that’s another hobby that’s been neglected for far too long).

 

Expect more (hopefully less morose) updates soon…

2 thoughts on “A Brief History of Tom Robson

  1. Isabel C. Delcourt-COuto

    Dear friend, Don’t forget us from across the Pond. I do care & faithfully believe that you are one of the most amazing writers I have ever known. I just wanted to give you space so you could figured out what you need it to do. I’m glad you are doing better & have a steady Job that gives you freedom, which is very important. I wanted to tell you that this month I opened up my private Practice, no patients yet I’m just getting the permits & regulations with the Lawyer. I didn’t plan to do this it just happened. I have a partner. The clinic is called Shelton PJhysical Therapy & Rehab. So Good luck and I’m still here for you. isa

  2. Beth Kennedy

    Tom, this is wonderfully and eloquently written- I will always remember you in the anthologies class reading out your “damn hippies” flash fiction in that gentle Northern accent. Keep going buddy, we are all behind you. Never give up on writing

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