Transcript of my interview with Jon Marks of 97.5 The Fanatic provided here for access to people who are hearing impaired.
Jon: Joining us right now, we’re going to be speaking to Rob Quinn, who I’ve known him for a couple years, it’s been a while now, but it’s been at least a couple years. He did some blogging, he’s a big listener to The Phanatic, and recently we were going back and forth on e-mail because he wrote a book, he wrote a novel, and he’s going to tell us about it. Rob sufferers from cerebral palsy. And we’ll get the story on that, but a couple years ago he decided to write a book. He’s always wanted to write a book, he thought about it, and he did it. And he joins us right now to talk all about it. A great Philadelphia sports fan, a great Philadelphia guy. His name is Rob Quinn and he joins us right now. Rob, what’s going on, buddy?
Rob: Hey, Jon. How are you?
Jon: I’m doing great. I’m excited to hear about your book because Rob when I was young, when I was a kid, I was never really much of a reader or a writer. Like I can write but as far as fiction as far as creative writing that was never me. I could write the nuts and bolts. It’s just not something that clicked in my mind, and with you it’s the exact opposite, you’ve always been a big sports fan, but you’ve always been a big fan of writing.
Rob: Yeah, as a matter of fact I think a little bit of it comes from not being able to to play sports. So it started out I wanted to write about sports, and it kind of developed from there.
Jon: Right, because you couldn’t run around and play sports so you decided your love of sports was going to be about writing. Rob, it’s like a lot of us, I’ve always had a love of sports as well, and I played sports growing up but I was never going to be a guy who played for a living or even at a high level so I decided that my love of sports was by following it and now being on the radio and that’s how I insert myself into the sporting world. You’re doing the same thing.
Rob: Yeah, ironically my first job was writing about sports a little bit for the Inquirer.
Jon: I saw that. So, you went to West Chester, you worked part-time for the Inquirer, you did a bunch of stuff on smaller colleges I’m sure you even looked into doing high school stuff like a lot of us, you wrote some articles about people with disabilities, and you started working in the business a little bit.
Rob: Yeah, a little bit, I was very lucky to meet a guy named Maxwell King who ran the Inquirer at the time and really found a way to give me an opportunity when a lot of people went the other way and found ways not to hire me.
Jon: It’s a tough business out there, so you went to West Chester, you got your chops in there, started doing some stuff for the newspaper, you did some other stuff, worked for a non-profit. Now you’re 40 years old and you thought about it, and you decided, you know what I’ve been thinking about this book, and it’s time to do it.
Rob: Yeah, you know, when you grow up wanting to be a writer, everyone wants to write a book, and like you said I hit 40 and I think that’s a time when a lot of people feel like if I’m going to do what I want to do, I better do it. I did the first book. I felt like I had something to say about disability, growing up that way, and hopefully saying something to younger people who might be going through some of the same stuff that I went through.
Jon: Well, I can tell you you’ve already accomplished something because I couldn’t imagine, I couldn’t even begin to write a book. It’s a great accomplishment for you. We’re talking to Rob Quinn who got his start writing for some local newspapers and then he wrote a sports blog that I remember reading, your sports blog Rob, and you’ve been a great listener to the Fanatic. Now you’ve got a book out. what’s the name of the book? Tell us a little bit about it because it’s a story, you suffer from cerebral palsy and the story it’s just like you a gentleman by the name of Red O’Ryan a high school kid with cerebral palsy, and I’m guessing there’s some of what happened with you here in the novel?
Rob: Well, I would say the background is very familiar if you know me and the story kind of goes from there. The story is set back in the 90s and Red is being mainstreamed into a regular high school and it opens up where Red is dealing with a bully. Something that has been going on for a while.
Jon: So Red’s going to school and just everyday it’s the same thing, you go to school and this guy’s just waiting to do something to you right?
Rob: Right, so he gets tired of it, and he goes to push the guy, but he gets lightheaded and he blacks out for a second, and when his head clears, the bully’s on the ground, everybody is kind of patting reds on the back but he really doesn’t know how he did it.
Jon: Rob, when you’re writing this book and stories are coming to your head, maybe they happened to you maybe you’re embellishing a little bit, what was the reason for wanting to write the book ultimately? Other than writing the book and you’re a natural writer, what did you want to come across to somebody who reads it? What is your message?
Rob: Well, first of all as you said I had been doing a lot of blogging and I kind of got tired of always trying to make a point and be serious. I wanted to do something that was fun and entertaining, but at the same time I really wanted to give a realistic look at a disabled character. I think there’s so much out there where they sort of play up the handicap and give an inspirational story and all that and I’ll tell a lot of disabled people are fed up with that.
Jon: So you wanted to inspire, because I know you had written something before that said ‘I’m not here to inspire you.’ With this story you were maybe looking to give some inspiration.
Jon: No inspiration.
Rob: What I’m saying is a lot of stories that go down that road where it’s all about overcoming and all that stuff. This is not that.
Jon: It’s not about that. This is just real. Because in real life, there’s not inspiration happening. You’re just trying to live life and deal with it.
Rob: Right. For example, when you introduced me you said that I suffer from CP. That’s ok. I get it. A lot of people say that. But the way I feel, I don’t suffer. I have a life and yeah I happen to have CP. I know that must sound like a subtile difference but it really is a big deal for a lot of people with disabilities.
Jon: You make me feel like an idiot, Rob. Being diabetic, when someone says to me. You suffer from diabetes. I feel so bad for you. No diabetic feels bad for themselves. You have what you have and you deal with it because it’s everyday life. On a regular basis you’re not thinking about it. You live life, so I feel silly saying you suffer from cerebral palsy. You’re not suffering from it. You’re living with it every day.
Jon: See I already learned something from you. Now I’ll never say that to someone.
Rob: Yeah. In fact the subtitle of the first book is Essays on disability from a regular guy living in cerebral palsy.
Jon: You’re living with it. See I managed to stick my foot in my mouth every 10 minutes or so. It’s no exception here.
Rob: No, that’s alright.
Jon: You’re a gentleman. We’re speaking to Rob Quinn, and let me tell everyone out there how they can find Rob. His website is http://robjquinn.blogspot.com and I’ll tweet that out there so you can click on the link. That’s where you can get more information on how to get the book. The book is The Adventures of Red O’Ryan: The Birth of Super Crip. And on your website there’s also a video podcast of you talking about it, and there’s a bunch of other stuff. There’s articles on here on things that you’ve done or whatever, and you can get the book, and I’ll tweet this link as well, but you can go to Amazon and get this. Amazon companies, you can get it on Kindle Direct, a bunch of other places. So if you’re thinking about a new book, I’m a reader, and you’re thinking about a new book you can go out and read this. Don’t expect to be inspired, as Rob says, but expect to have an entertaining story and maybe a different look on things.
Rob: Yeah, and it’s not very long so I think people who might not be a big time reader, I think they can get through it pretty easy.
Jon: It’s a fast read you’re saying. An easy read.
Rob: Believe me, I’m no Shakespeare or anything. And like I said, one of the things we talked about, in the book we see Red dealing with his brother, we see Red dealing with his parents, going to high school, very normal things, without that inspirational angle.
Jon: Yeah that’s good because you’re a little crotchety when it comes to Philadelphia sports. Just like the rest of us.
Rob: I’m very crotchety. My god.
Jon: Tough to not be right? You excited for baseball season? Even though the Phillies aren’t going to be great and I know that but I’m actually very excited to see some of these young kids develop and maybe actually make it up to the majors this year.
Rob: I am excited. My mom and I gave up our Sunday tickets but I think we’re still going to go to a couple games.
Jon: Yeah, get some single game tickets, they’ll be plenty available, right?
Rob: Yeah, it almost felt like a job going down there last year.
Jon: Too much, I agree. Rob, this is very exciting. I’m so excited I got to talk to you for a few minutes about this. Again everybody, I’ll tweet out everything so you don’t have to worry about it, but if you want to check out Rob’s website where you can get all the information on it, again it’s http://robjquinn.blogspot.com and there’s a lot of good information there. Rob it’s an honor to talk to you, it’s great to finally catch up with you. I know that we’ve been trying to get together for a while, and I look forward to doing it again. Congratulations. This is a great thing.
Rob: Before you go, Jon, I really want to thank you for doing this because not only does it get the book out there, you really gave me the thought in my head to do this. As you know I was a little bit reluctant to do this and it was really your idea to do this, and I just can’t thank you enough.
Jon: Well, you don’t have to worry about it man. I should be thanking you for dealing with me on the radio for 10 years. It’s the least I could do for you. You’re a good listener to the station, and a good guy as well. Thanks for reaching out to me. It’s my honor and a pleasure to talk to you today.
Rob: Alright man.
Jon: Alright Rob.
Rob: Take care. Thank you.
Jon: Take care. Again the name of the book is … it’s a great one. You gotta check it out.
Rob: It’s The Birth of Super Crip.
Jon: Damn right it is. The Adventures of Red O’Ryan: The Birth of Super Crip. Rob, you’re the man.
Rob: Alright. Thank you.