True Colors

Painting by Nancy Schutt
Painting by Nancy Schutt

The search for meaning is always transformational. Writing about transformation, when it happens, how it happens, why it happens, and what happens next, often leads the reader, and author, to self-discovery. The meaning of life is the search itself, for destinations have not nearly as much value as journeys.

When circumstances force us onto a new road, the avenue is smoother if we understand that, like water flowing downstream, journeys gravitate to the needed destination. And, if needed equals better, all events are positive, from fortune to disaster. When life seems to be falling apart, it may instead be falling together. The tragedy lies in disbelieving that every experience serves the soul. Belief turns life into magic.

Robin F. Gainey grew up in a household full of pencils, erasers, Underwood and Royal typewriters (one of each), and cases of liquid paper. Raised by her author-grandmother and an extended family of eleven women and two men, there was always something to write about, much of it hidden from the naked eye. Throw in a secret side of the family recently revealed and we now have a multi-volume saga with a predominant theme: Transformation. "Write what you know" is mostly what Robin does. And, what she doesn't know she makes up. It's fiction, after all.

Not fiction: Robin has traveled many roads. Partnering in the creation and opening of  The Gainey Vineyard in Santa Barbara County, California. Presiding over various culinary events offered at the winery and, with friend Julia Child and others, helped establish the American Institute of Wine and Food. Overseeing Gainey Fountainhead Arabians and the continued breeding and showing of champion Arabian horses which was begun by the Gainey family in 1939 in Minnesota and Arizona. Returning to her hometown of Seattle to find her heart in writing, she won a Rupert Hughes Award for Fiction for a short story upon which JACK OF HEARTS is based. Completing three novels and a screenplay and working on the adaptation for film of her third novel, she divides her time between her two favorite cities, Rome, Italy, and Seattle. She is an active trustee of Pacific Northwest Ballet and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, horseback riding, skiing any mountain, fly fishing, and solo cruising the Inside Passage of Western Canada three months each summer aboard a boat. All, utterly transforming. Always, looking beyond. Just like magic.

Novels and Projects:

JACK OF HEARTS, novel; released by Untreed Reads, June 2012

LIGHT OF THE NORTHERN DANCERS will be released November 2017

LIGHT OF THE NORTHEN DANCERS, novel release date, November 2015; optioned for a limited television series. Currently in development.

SUN AT THE EDGE OF THE SKY, novel; release date TBA; currently adapting for film.

Writers on writing:

Toni Morrison: Make up a story... For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don't tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief's wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear's caul.

Anton Chekov: Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.  
Eudora Welty: What can a character come to know, of himself and others, by working through a given situation?  That is what fiction asks, with an emotional urgency driving it all the way; and can he know it in time?
Leo Tolstoy: Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man's life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible.
Emme Woodhull-Bache: Pen and paper are sometimes passionate lovers, oftentimes brother and sister, and occasionally mortal enemies.  

My life, as described on-screen:

  • Humor?  The Princess Bride
  • Philosophy?  Birdman meets My Dinner with André
  • Exercise?  Singin' in the Rain
  • Sports? Downhill Racer
  • Religion?  Ask and It is Given
  • Animals?  Wishbone
  • Food and Wine?  Babette's Feast
  • Marriage?  When Harry Met Sally
  • Children?  Little Women
  • Politics?  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Nature?  The Revenant meets Old Man and the Sea

A Few Good Books:

Charlotte's Web, Le Petit Prince, Wind, Sand, and Stars, A Confession, Lonesome Dove, Atonement, Ficciones, Ulysses, Catch-22, Brave New World, Narcissus and Goldman, Catcher in the Rye,  Angle of Repose, The Call of the Wild, To Kill a Mockingbird, The House of the Spirits, Ex Libris, Jitterbug Perfume, The Thorn Birds, All the Light We Cannot See, Tinkers and, of course, Jack of Hearts!

A Few Good Poets:

Mary Oliver, Willam Blake, Homero Ardijas...

A Few Good Movies:

Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, Contempt, Dr. Strangelove, Midnight Cowboy, Roman Holiday, Dr. Doolittle (1967), Some Like it Hot, Wizard of Oz, My Fair Lady, Catch-22, A Place in theSun, All About Eve, Young Frankenstein, My Dinner with André, Life is Beautiful, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Father of the Bride (1991), Babel, The Artist, Boyhood, Birdman, The Claim, A River Runs Through It, The Revenent...and dozens of obscure, never-heard-of films.


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