Robin Bagby TrailRants, Raves, and an Autobiography

One of the benefits of paying for a website is getting to publish whatever you want. Sex, booze, drugs, country music -- I'm talking about my autobiography. You read it here first. Aside from the picture at right, taken in Ocober of 2008, this is the same material that appeared on the last version of the site.


AUTOBIOGRAPHY AS OF 2001 A.D With Laddy Buck



I was born July 3, 1948 in Hillsboro, Oregon, the fourth generation of the Will family to be born within 50 miles of the town the family helped to settle in 1863. The sense of place is ingrained: my spirit knows it has come home when I smell the fir duff and bracken of the Coast Range forests. I spend as much time as possible outdoors, year-around.

At 2 years oldI am a baby-boomer on the back side of middle age, and in retrospect I seem to have done most of the things that the rest of the boomers did. So much for being special. I experimented with illegal drugs. I marched in protests. I lived in a commune. I did socially meaningful work. I went back to the land, owned a pickup and a chainsaw, and earned money playing music in beer joints. I have been through rehab twice for alcoholism. At age 52 I'm a fairly high-mileage item, for those and other reasons, and you'll never catch me writing, “Age 52, but look and think younger” in a personal ad. I have earned the grey hair (what's left of it) and the wrinkles, not to mention the perspective, and I'm not about to discount them. I like young people (up to a point), but I don't want to be one.


Graduation pictureFrom third grade onward, I am a product of the Portland (Oregon) public schools. The teachers at Benson Polytechnic High School tried their best to turn me into an engineer, but it didn't work, although I suspect all that math and science didn't hurt me. Instead I picked up an interest in printing and publishing which has served me well all my life.

My college education was cafeteria-style: I took whatever looked tasty as I passed by, meandering through majors in journalism, literature, anthropology, psychology and quite a bit of philosophy, and neglecting most of the required stuff. Although the quantity is sufficient and the breadth is (somewhat) impressive, no institution has seen fit to dignify that mish-mash with a degree of any kind.

Church camp, age 21For a while in the late '60s I believed I was called to the Christian ministry. I spent a couple of years affiliated with the United Methodist Church, working in liberal street-ministry programs and War On Poverty agencies before I realized I was not suited for pastoral work in any church I had ever seen. So I tried social work -- specifically, residential care for teenagers in a group-home setting. It is a shame the state cannot support people who want to be surrogate parents for problem kids, but in fact group home foster parents get used up, burned out, and thrown away. I was lucky I could go back to being a printer.

I was married for eleven years, which were not the best years of my life. The divorce was final in 1983.

I am an alcoholic from an alcoholic family, so most of my life I have suffered from my own alcoholism or somebody else's. It is ironic that, in spite of all of the so-called dangerous substances I flirted with in the 60s, my life was brought to a standstill by the commonest drug of all. It took me two rounds through treatment programs before I could visualize myself sober. I am enormously lucky that my family had the resources to put me through treatment the first time; enormously grateful that, the second time, a generous boss allowed me to go through treatment rather than firing my sorry ass. I spent Labor Day weekend of 1990 in detox, and have been sober since then.


1993 in Grass ValleyI am gay, for what it's worth. On one hand, I believe everyone who needs that information already has it or can figure it out for themselves; on the other, Oregon has yet another anti-gay measure on the state ballot this year, and perhaps I can show by example that some fairly ordinary people are gay and we're no more dangerous than heterosexuals are, which, when you come to think of it, isn't saying much. I find meanness, superficiality -- and compassion -- distributed without regard to sexual preference, and a look at my closest and longest-term friends would suggest that ownership of a big dog is a more of a factor than the sexual preference of the people I choose to hang out with. I don't go out much, and I seldom join organizations, gay or otherwise.

Robin Will, Shirley Will Hall My personal work these days is the work of catch-up. Alcohol and associated problems took a 15-year chunk out of the middle of my life, and I have spent another ten years or so cleaning up messes and trying to sort out which parts of my past were me, and when it was the alcohol that was writing the story. I have a novel to write, and a 1909 house to fool around with, music to play, and the hope that I may eventually find paying work that fits my talents a little better than the work I do now. Ten years ago I couldn't imagine spending a day sober: nowadays I'm not sure what I can't imagine.

My play is much the same as my work: I am easily absorbed by whatever is in front of me, and I don't require a lot of toys. I spend a lot of spare time walking in local wildlife refuges, I'm an inveterate backroad explorer, I usually have three or four books going at the same time, and I enjoy good conversation when I can find it.


Robin & Judy, perhaps 1992I can't quit until I say something about the dog whose picture appears on this site. Her name was Judy. She showed up and adopted me in my first year of sobriety, when things were still pretty shaky. I was breaking up with a boyfriend at the time, and in the process of getting rid of the worthless friends I drank with, and I was not certain exactly where new and better friends were going to come from. In that early stage of sobriety, I spent a lot of time making up things to do so I wouldn't think about drinking. Luckily, walking the dog was good for me -- and it was free! God couldn't have sent me a better dog: She took care of me in her way, and I took care of her in mine, for almost exactly nine years. She died on October 14, 2000.

I did not intend the website photo to be a memorial, although that is the way things turned out for the first edition of the site. I loved the photograph, and intended to use it, and I had planned to name my new freelance business Raindog Editorial Services. I liked the name because I am a dog person, and I admire the Labrador's big heart and joyful spirit, and willingness to go outdoors and play regardless of the weather. We could all do worse than try to be more like our Labradors. And there's a nice, Pacific-Northwest-outdoorsy sense to Raindog that suits me right down to the ground. I went so far as to purchase a domain name and register Raindog Editorial Services in Oregon as an assumed business name before I found out that a local theater group was calling themselves Raindog. That is probably, subliminally, where I got the idea. But they had it first, and I don't need the confusion, so the only place the name shows up on some business papers. I don't intend to use the name, but I couldn't think of a better way to finish up than with a photo of myself and my very own Raindog. That's all.

Fast forward to November, 2010. I couldn't stand the idea of overhauling this text to bring it up to date, so I decided to add a blog instead. It's called "OddManOut," and you can get to it by clicking here or on the button below. You'll find ten more years of autobiography, plus a blog speaking to whatever happens to be on my mind at the time.




Copyright © 2010, Robin P. Will,, Rev. November 2010,