by Paige Asberry
Staff Writer

Local student Troy Robinson is a published author.

Troy Robinson has always been told that he should write a book. He had done technical writing for the Department of Corrections for 40 years, and writing for fun had always been an idea in the back of his head.

And then he enrolled at Hutchinson Community College.

Robinson came back to HutchCC after he retired from Corrections, with the intention to earn an Associates Degree in business, and update his formal education. He took English Composition II with English professor Bill Sheldon, and “boom, it opened something up,” Robinson said. “I got strong encouragement from Professor Sheldon to keep at it.”

During the fall of 2022, while trying to keep up his straight A’s, Robinson’s mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was diagnosed and died within seven months. Through all of it, Robinson did not miss a single class, and found writing to be a comfort.

His final essay for Sheldon’s class was a look at his mother’s life through his perspective. “Sheldon told me it was a publishable essay, and that I needed to do more,” Robinson said, “and so based on that, I went to see if there were more writing classes.”

Robinson then enrolled in Introduction to Creative Writing with Professor Dan Pohl in the spring semester of 2023. He found that, while the class was challenging, he was able to take ideas and inspiration, and knock out the assignments. Pohl encouraged his students to submit pieces to “The Tulgey Wood”, the campus literary magazine published annually in late April or early May, and Robinson had two poems selected to be published there.

When Pohl brought in the editor from Anamcara Press, a contest was announced for a story to be published in the summer 2023 edition. The theme was “Perilous and Playful”. Troy ended up writing about his experience growing up on a farm, and submitted it to the contest.

This was his first work that was published in an outside literary journal.

“To have something that I wrote be selected for something independent of the college, and of the instructors … was hugely satisfying, rewarding and humbling,” Robinson said. “The first thing that I did was buy two copies to sign and give to professors Pohl and Sheldon, because if it hadn’t been for those two, I don’t think I would be putting so much effort into writing … and enjoying the hell out of it.”

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