Monday, May 6, 2013

Life of a Poet - Robyn Greenhouse

Kids, I know you have come across  Robyn Greenhouse at Adventures in Laughter on your travels through the 'sphere. Robyn participates faithfully at Poets United, and her posts are rich with the humor of daily living in an animated, lively family. We're zipping over to the eastern seaboard for this interview, kids, and looking down from above, we can see the glorious spring blossoms lavishly decorating the landscape. As we pull up out front, I can hear this must be the place!

P.U.: Robyn, it's so nice to be visiting with you at last! Would you like to tell us where you live and who you share your life with?

Robyn: I live in Maryland with my husband, 3 boys and 2 dogs. Two of my boys are now teenagers, one just got his driving permit. Not quite sure how I got to this point in my life! Our house is loud. If you ever want to come visit, just walk around, eventually you will hear one of us!

P.U.: I've gathered from your posts you are a busy wife and mother. Do you combine that with working outside the home?

Robyn: I was fortunate to stay home for a number of years. About two years ago my son asked me “What would you do if you could do anything?” I told him I would teach yoga. When he asked why didn’t I, of course there was the list of excuses – laundry, dinner, you know, the usual excuses. Thanks to my husband’s agreeing to take over all family duties while I did my training, I’m now teaching yoga.

P.U.: Now that is a supportive husband. Way to go, Robyn! Where did you grow up?

Robyn: I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, with my parents and two older brothers.  We all still live near each other. Plus, my husband’s family is nearby as well.


P.U.: Have you always written, or did you come to writing poetry as an adult? Do you remember when you wrote your first poem?

Robyn: When I was younger, I thought maybe I could be an author. In my mind, there would be a pyramid of books in a bookstore window. The top one would be flipped to the back with the author’s picture on it – that picture would be of me!

In college, I got a bad grade in freshman English, was told I wasn’t a good writer and gave up that dream.


Fast forward and somehow I was turning 45. I was reminded of this dream, and decided it was now or never to start writing and so my blog was born. My friend, Stacie Spencer, told me about a course with  Kim Klassen . Through the support of the women I met on the online course, the posts kept coming!

P.U.: Online connections definitely keep us writing, don't they?

Robyn: Somehow I stumbled upon blogs that provide inspiration and prompts such as Poets United. Thanks to your weekly suggestions and other prompts from other sites, my poems have been written and I’ve connected with other bloggers.

There are so many supportive bloggers in the world! It’s amazing how they find the time to not only read so many blogs but to leave comments, and on top of that – write their own posts as well!

P.U.: I know - there is little time to be bored! What do you love about poetry? What made you choose it as your means of creative expression?

Robyn: I love that you can write poetry quicker than a novel! I don’t have that much time to write, so it’s nice to have a sense of accomplishment that I get with poetry.  I don’t have a brain for numbers – when I worked in a bank, they told me whatever I do, don’t work with numbers! With words, they seem to fall into place. 

I’ll wait to see what the prompt is, look at the words for a while and then something will click. It feels like working a crossword puzzle, when it works it works. And when it doesn’t, at least I can hit delete.


Wake to the sun
Rays reaching down
Activate my heart
Spirit comes alive!
Overcome with the urge to sing
Delicious notes from where
They form I do not know

Place technology aside
Indulge in today's
Inquisitive and stellar
New performance
As Nature and man merge
Project ahead a future
Of hope
Erase smudges of past mistakes

Create a new mantra
That ignites inner urge
Of unity with nature
Step outside
Experience life
Rejoice in the suns warmth

Waste not today
Tomorrow is another day
But now is the moment

P.U.: I love this, Robyn. It's a great philosophy. Given the name of your blog, I gather humor is part of your everyday life. What makes you laugh the most?

Robyn: If I didn’t laugh, there would have been many days that would be tough to get through. No more or less than anyone else’s life, but tough just the same.

Robyn and Stephen

My husband makes me laugh. Plus, I think my kids are so funny! My husband thinks my humor is a little different than most – I see words in a different way sometimes than others. My family has the same humor, so I know I can always count on my parents or brothers for a good laugh! 

P.U.: I love the humor in this sign you posted recently. Who is your favorite poet, Robyn? What appeals to you about their writing, and do you think it has had any influence on your own work?

Robyn: I can’t say that I have a favorite poet – I’m truly amazed and in awe of so many artists. I love their creativity whether it’s with words, paint, photography and their confidence to just put it all out there for the world to see.

P.U.: How do you fit writing in, around the demands of a busy family? Is there a time of day or night that works best for you?

Robyn:  When you get to know me, you would laugh thinking night was a time that works best for me! I get up very early usually around 5 am, which is the best time for me to write – while the house is quiet, before anyone needs a ride somewhere, or a dog needs to be walked! I also tend to write more on weekend mornings.

P.U.: What other activities do you enjoy?

Robyn: If I had a free pass one day I would probably spend it having a leisurely breakfast with that first cup of coffee. Gazing out the window at my husband’s garden (remember, his name is Greenhouse!) I would write deep, moving poems followed by reading other writers poems.  This would be followed by doing some sort of exercise and some yoga, walking the dogs or taking them on a hike somewhere with my husband, dragging the kids out the door with us. Maybe a bike ride if the kids protested too much. Once we got started we would all be happy together. (This is just a make believe ideal day.)

Lunch. Coffee. 

Do some reading. Try my hand at some photography and Photoshop editing.
Spend some time reading other blog posts. Make deep meaningful comments (remember  on this day   I have lots of time!)

Then head out for a movie or dinner with some friends and then begin the whole day again the next morning!

P.U.: Sigh. Sounds wonderful! Is there a cause dear to your heart?

Robyn: One of my sons has ulcerative colitis, so I’d love to wake up one morning to the news that a cure has been found! He was diagnosed about 8 years ago. There are times when you would never know he has anything, but when he has a flair it is very painful. I really admire the way he has handled the disease and the pain that it can cause. I’m not sure I could ever be so strong.

P.U.: What a worry that must be to you. Where is your favorite place in the world?

Robyn: My favorite place in the world – this is a very good question! I think I would just have to say being home. I like the comforts of being at home! Maybe when everyone is grown and moved out, I’ll prefer traveling but for now, home.

P.U.: I agree. Me, too! Have you ever lived a great adventure?

Robyn: Every day I wake up with my list of what needs to be accomplished. Then the unexpected happens, so I’m pretty sure I’m living that great adventure every day!

P.U.: Ram Dass would say "Life is a great opportunity to practice Being Flexible"! Is there anything you’d like to say to the members of Poets United?

Robyn: Thank you so much. If it weren’t for sites like this, I probably wouldn’t have anyone except for my mother and husband reading my blog! One of them has to, if he wants dinner that night!

I never understood what people did on their computers all the time at coffee shops. Now, I’m one of those people who can’t wait to see what’s posted! I don’t always leave deep comments, but I do try to leave something so others know I’ve stopped by.

Thank you to all the bloggers and readers that do stop by. All your visits are very much appreciated and while maybe I should be writing for myself, I can’t lie, it sure is nice to hear from everyone!

P.U.: Thank you, Robyn, for your participation at Poets United, and for allowing us into your world for such an enjoyable visit.

Sigh. I must disagree with Tolstoy. Happy families are not all alike. Each of the happy families we have visited is happy in its own way. Wasn't this a cool visit, kids? Come back to see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. Robyn, I've never visited your blog, and now I will peruse the site of another great poet, thanks to Poets United.

    You are a wonderful mom. I can't imagine how you handle your son's ulcerative colitis, although my girl Riley has Aspergers, and we cope. I guess you just keep on keeping on, with the help of doctors, right? Loved the family pix.

    In your poem, you speak of singing a song and not knowing (or really caring) where it comes from. I'm formerly a pro singer and I tell ALL people, "Belt it out in the shower!" It's like the old Sesame Street song, "Sing, Sing a Song."

    You seem like a very grounded person, in sharp contrast to my manic depressive self, so I will look forward to reading. As for "normal" families, my family of origin sometimes put the "fun" in dysfunctional, and sometimes the "funk," if you know what I mean.

    Sherry, excellent questions, always tailored to your subject. Thanks so much! Amy

  2. Too funny - I just went to your blog and realized I had just "found" you today and commented!! Ah, the hijinks caused by memory disorders... the up side: I can see the same movie more than once and be surprised by the ending every time! (wink)

    1. I hear you, Amy. I have no short term memory at all and my sisters says I really only need ONE movie and ONE book. Cackle.

  3. Another lovely interview, Sherry. Robyn, I always appreciate your comments on my blog and enjoy visiting yours. I particularly love that huggy back view photo of your husband and sons.

  4. Lovely interview...and to Robyn, my daughter was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at a very young age. It is amazing what bravery and strength children with these diseases hold. Hope he is doing well!

  5. What a nice interview, Sherry. Robyn, I always enjoy your blog. It is so nice to learn more about you. I am with you about enjoying early morning writing. Best time, I think. How nice that you are teaching yoga. Look forward to continuing to see you around the blogosphere n

  6. What a fun and interesting interview, Sherry.
    Robyn, I know how your son suffers when the ulcerative colitis flares up. I don't know how his medical practitioners approach the disease, but mine put me on a medication that caused far more problems than it solved. I am still struggling to find a balance 21 years later.
    Your family sounds like such fun otherwise (i.e. when that dread disease doesn't rear its ugly head) and it sounds like you've got the formula: much love and much laughter.
    All best,

  7. Forgot to say how much I enjoyed seeing your family from the front view in your interview. Smiles. Though I really love your blog header with the picture from the rear.

  8. Thank you all for your sweet comments!
    Amy - yes, you just have to keep keeping on!
    Rosemary - I feel the same about your visits! :) I've always liked photos from the back so that one just worked.
    K- I agree, these kids show strength and bravery beyond their years when they are dealing with pain!
    Mary - Finally, my kids agreed to allow their faces to be shown!
    Kay - I'm sorry you're dealing with finding balance after 21 years! If it's the same issues as my son, I'd be happy to send any info I have to see if it might help.
    Again, thanks so much ladies!
    Sherry - Thank YOU so much for this fun interview! The time and effort that you put into each interview is greatly appreciated! When do we get to see you interviewed?!

    1. Ha! I was interviewed back in 2010. Ellie has threatened to put me under the microscope but it hasnt happened yet, thankfully. Hee hee.

  9. Thank you for the inspiring interview Sherry ~

    Robyn, how beautiful to see your family ~ I have been enjoying your blog for some time now, so its lovely to know more about. My second son is actually teaching yoga in a health clinic, but he plans to enroll in a chef school this coming school year, as another career ~ Take care and see you around the blogger world ~


  10. Robyn,
    I wish we could hang out! I could feel the poses of sun salutations as i read your poem! Beautiful...

    I love the playfulness in your spirit! You have a lovely family and keep writing and sharing your joy!

    Odd, I just mentioned I wanted to take Kim's class to a few friends?!
    A poetic sign, lol!

    I love the adventure you share and see in your everyday!
    So nice to get to know you more....

    Wonderful interview ladies! I'm now craving words and yoga :D

  11. Hi Robyn,

    I loved seeing into your life a bit--it all feels so vibrant! Thank you for sharing with all of us!

  12. Wonderful interview Robyn! I also do yoga every morning, since I was 12 so for 20 years now. I love it and I have taught it along with Pilates. When you said a teacher had discouraged you from writing I was surprised/dismayed, you are a wonderful writer and I am glad you have found your way back to poetry =) You seem like such a warm and optimistic woman it was great getting to know you!

  13. Sherry, another wonderful interview! Robyn, so nice to spend some time with you--I always sensed a kindred joyful spirit in you--laughter is one of my favorite things (and coping mechanisms) too :-) Thank you for sharing yourself with everyone--and for your poetic support too!

  14. Thank you all for your sweet comments! Grace - how lucky to have a chef in the family!
    Ella - I highly recommend Kim's class! A poetic sign for sure!
    Audrey - Thank you for your comment!
    mindlovemisery - thank you so much for your kind words! How lucky to have been doing yoga for so many years! Wish I had started earlier.
    Sara - thank you also for your kind comments! I agree laughter is good medicine and a good coping mechanism!

  15. So much going on here in my corner of Tucson... I am, again, late to the party!
    Seeing your interview of Robyn brightened my day, Sherry. She has been a treat from first read. And Robyn... you are a fellow yogi! What a thrill for me. I've practiced for years. Nothing compares. I am thrilled to learn more about you and want you to know how I appreciate the thoughtful comments you leave on others' work. Your participation in this community benefits all of us.

  16. Robyn!

    great to have known you here. i do have visited your blog and hope to catch on with more!

  17. Nice to Know u Mama....... its a lovely story..........

  18. Kim - hello fellow yogi! I agree, nothing compares! Thank you for your kind words! It is amazing how we build our community and make our connections through the comments!
    Akila - yes, we have bumped into each other out there in the blogosphere before! Looking forward to seeing you again !
    Thank you Lasha!

  19. Wonderful knowing you more, Robyn. Another beautiful interview, Sherry!!
    Your family-pictures are beautiful...God bless. You are a wonderful writer--keep writing!
    Thanks for sharing...

  20. Panchali, thank you for your sweet comments!


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