About Robert


The Good Lord Willing and the Creek Don't Rise: Pentimento Memories of Mom and Me

Media Kit



ESL Papers
(can be viewed online by clicking on titles)

The Many Roads to Japan
(free online version for ESL/EFL teachers and students)


Good Lord cover





CoverThe Good Lord Willing and the Creek
Don't Rise:
Pentimento Memories of Mom and Me

Readers Favorite Sticker

The cover was designed by Michael Cannings, publisher at Tin Gate. The book was published on January 17, 2023. Click on the cover to order the paperback or eBook version at Amazon. Cover and author photos, author bio, a press release, and an advance information sheet can be downloaded from the Media Kit link on the left. Here is all the basic book information.

Publisher: Tin Gate
Publication date: January 17, 2023
Pages: 490
Genre: Autobiography/Memoir
Price: $21.99 (paperback); $6.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  978-1-80100-000-0 (6 x 9 inches, trade paperback)
ISBN:  978-1-80100-001-7 (Mobi / ePub)
Distribution: Ingram Book Group in the U.S.; Gardners Books in the U.K.

Click here to buy an eBook or paperback copy at the vendor of your choice (Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, or

Please find below a synopsis of the book. That's followed by some blurbs I've been fortunate to receive, as well as links to excerpts and media interviews. As always, I hope you enjoy what's here. Any comments, advice, criticism, or words of encouragement (via the "contact" link in the menu) are always welcome.


The Good Lord Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise: Pentimento Memories of Mom and Me traces the trials, tribulations, and unbreakable bond of two Pacific Northwest characters. Kay Schlinkman grows up on the banks of the Columbia River in the 1930s and 1940s. She overcomes a small logging town’s ostracism in the late 1950s for her divorce, excommunication by the Catholic Church for remarrying, severe criticism and rejection for defending her son’s refusal to go to war, and the burden of paying off her second husband’s gambling debts. In her forties, she becomes a licensed pilot and flies two summers as a forest fire spotter. After a second divorce in her fifties, she takes night classes to become qualified as a legal secretary and continues to work until she’s seventy-eight.

After an idyllic childhood in the redwoods and a rebellious adolescence following his parents’ divorce, Robert Norris enters the Air Force, becomes a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, is court-martialed and goes to military prison, embraces the counterculture upon release, wanders the world in search of his identity, and eventually lands in Japan, where he finds his niche as a university professor, spends two years as the dean of students, and retires as a professor emeritus.
Despite their separation by the expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Robert and Kay maintain a lifelong commitment of love, respect, and support that enriches both their lives. Kay visits Japan eight times. Robert, his wife, and Kay journey once to Ireland to trace her father’s roots. The Good Lord Willing provides a heart-warming example of how far a mother and son can go in maintaining their bond against great odds. A must read for all mothers and sons, and for those who’ve wondered what the road less traveled would’ve been like had they taken that first step.

Advance Praise

“A most impressive achievement by a highly talented writer … an emotionally powerful memoir that spans nearly a century and several continents. Riveting and rich in detail with passages that evoke Hemingway and Maugham .… You come away from this book with gratitude to the author for having written it and respect for a life well lived.”—Robert Whiting, author of Tokyo Junkie, Tokyo Underworld, and You Gotta Have Wa

“Robert Norris’s deeply personal story of finding his conscience when ordered to Vietnam is told here with direct, powerful prose. An important, fascinating read.”—David Zeiger, documentary filmmaker, director of Sir, No Sir

“A wide-ranging, fascinating ramble of a tale that has you rooting for the characters every step of the way …. [It] invites you to reflect on American culture, family, duty, home, and what it means to live a full life.”—Rosa del Duca, author of Breaking Cadence: One Woman’s War Against the War

“A sweeping epic of a memoir … a snapshot of a significant slice of history. Norris writes his vast narrative with clarity and thoroughness.”—Alan Samson, retired journalist and author of Me. And me now: A 1970s’ Kiwi Hippie Trail Adventure

Heartfelt and ever-alive, inspired by a constant wonder with all the world can offer.”—Sharif Gemie, co-author of The Hippie Trail: A History

“A bumpy, coming-of-age tale set in the logging country of the Pacific Northwest … transforms an alienated young man into an expat and ultimately an emeritus professor in Japan. Robert W. Norris crafts the stages of this extraordinary journey in a narrative style that is both graceful and seamless.”—Michael Uhl, author of Vietnam Awakening and The War I Survived was Vietnam

“Norris’s story should be ‘must reading’ for today’s students who think that the Sixties was all about Woodstock and ‘high times.’”—Thom Nickels, Philadelphia-based journalist and author of 15 books

“The Good Lord Willing and the Creek Don't Rise roams halfway around the world and back—from pre-WWII Pacific Northwest to a military prison during the Vietnam War to present day Japan—to examine two intertwined and well-lived lives, both adventurous, generous, and brave.”—Nan Levinson, author of War is Not a Game and Outspoken: Free Speech Stories"

(Click here to read the full blurbs)
Links to Excerpts, Reviews, and Media Interviews

1. Boomers Magazine -- Preface

2. -- A Foreign Dean of Students at a Japanese University

3. Rag Radio -- An hour-long interview with the host Thorne Dreyer

4. Humboldt Times-Standard interview (PDF)

5. -- Childhood in the Redwoods

6. Five-Star Review from Big Al's Books and Pals

7. Feature Story in Northwest Prime Time

8. Five-Star Review from Manhattan Book Review

9. Boomer Bedtime Story Radio -- An interview and my reading of an excerpt about my conscientious objector days and military prison experience (includes dramatic background sound effects and music)

10. Barbara Lloyd McMichael's (The Bookmonger) review in Coast Weekend

11. My author interview in Review Tales: A Book Magazine For Indie Authors — 6th Edition (Spring 2023)

12. Five-star Review from Readers' Favorite

13. Feature Story in Literary Yard and 40-minute video interview with Editor Onkar Sharma (click here for YouTube video link)

14. Feature Story in poet Julia Hones's book blog My Writing Life (includes a couple of my mother's paintings)

15. A comprehensive (over 10,000 words) article by author and journalist Paul Haeder in Dissident Voice about my book and our correspondence over several months (includes some links to relevant songs on YouTube)

16. A top-notch review from U.K. book blogger Bookaholic Bex

17. Five-star review from memoirist, editor, and book blogger Mary Jo Doig

18. The BeZine (Vol. 10, Issue 2) -- B-52 Security Guard Becomes a Conscientious Objector

19. Excellent review from Rachel Deeming at her Scuffed Granny blog

20. Psychedelic Press published my story "An Old Vietnam War Conscientious Objector Takes a Mushroom Journey in Amsterdam" in their quarterly journal Psychedelic Press XXXIX

Copyright (c) 2023 Robert W. Norris. All Rights Reserved