Robert W. Norris was born and raised in Humboldt County, California, where he played basketball in high school and junior college. In 1969, he entered the Air Force but subsequently became a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War and served time in a military prison for refusing to fight. He joined me on Uncorking a Story to discuss his latest book, “The Good Lord Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise: Pentimento Memories of Mom and Me,” an autobiography and tribute to his mother.

Key Takeaways

  1. The power of language and careful communication: Robert’s specific choice of words during his court-martial may have saved him from a harsher sentence.
  2. Experiences within the military justice system: His story shares the process of the military court, and how his military lawyer’s advice played a crucial role in his trial.
  3. Finding one’s path and the inspiration to write: Robert’s travels and encounters with various European artists contributed to his desire to express himself and eventually led him to start writing.
  4. Robert’s search for identity: Which involved hitchhiking across the United States and traveling through Europe, an experience that enriched his life and gave him a new perspective.
  5. A mother’s Impact: Robert’s mother had a really strong influence on him and was more than just his mother, but also his best friend for most of his life. She was always there supporting him, even when others criticized his decisions, such as refusing to fight in the war. Robert describes her as a strong and independent woman who had quite an adventurous life herself.


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