Meet the Author
How it all started…
Meet Robert L. O’Neill, an artist, children’s book author, poet, playwright, actor and a chef who loves all things creative.
Robert grew up in the environment where adults were not always emotionally there for him. He knows first hand what it feels like for a child to seek love and attention. Robert has turned to art as a way of healing and self expression and has since made art a part of his life in its many forms.
He originally created Sammy the flying purple baby elephant in 2017 at Stewart Cubley’s Painting Experience Workshop. One night Robert found himself mindlessly spending time on a social media platform as many of us do. He grew aware of how unfulfilled he felt, looking outside himself for satisfaction instead of going within, by the means of creative expression.
Robert realized that the excessive use of the smartphone, mindless Internet surfing, endless social media checking often kills our imagination. We are looking for something to fulfill us rather than turning within for that satisfaction. We are trying to fill the emptiness we feel. It disconnects us not only from ourselves but from others.
On the other hand, creative work brings us the sense of well-being and the satisfaction we are seeking. It builds up our self-esteem. It helps us process what’s going on inside of us. It lets us better understand ourselves and connect to others in a genuine way.
“When writing, painting or doing any kind of creative work, I don’t need anything else outside of myself to satisfy me, to fill me up. I feel the sense of self, purpose and well being”
– Robert L. O’Neill
In the 1980’s Robert discovered the healing power of writing and enjoyed the telling of personal truths he held dear. In the 1990’s he started writing poetry at a feverish pitch. In 1997 he wrote his first play, “Sure Thing Brokers”, a play about a real estate salesman who struggles with his own conscience being in an industry that at times encourages dishonestly and the manipulation of others. In 2002 he wrote his second play, “Jesus Returns”, a satire about Jesus returning to earth to save it but while giving sermons on the streets of New York is paid no mind and is forced to get a day job as a carpenter.
Robert’s focus in his writing is to touch the heart of the matter. He speaks to the truth of a character or situation moving towards a resolve, an awakening or a surprise outcome with any given conflict. In his dramatic work he enjoys finding the vulnerable and at times painful truths in relationships. In his comedic work he enjoys finding the humor with our shortcomings exposing the human side in all of us.
Robert began painting and drawing as a young child.
The storyline for “Sammy ~ The Flying Purple Baby Elephant: Remembering the Way of the Elephant” developed from a painting he was working on in 2017 at Stewart Cubley’s Painting Experience Workshop. Robert has been an ardent student of Stewart Cubley for 12 years. Which is an approach to painting where one does not know what is coming next and trusting anyway. Robert thoroughly enjoys this approach to painting. It’s a challenge and allows for free expression celebrating the spirit of creativity and spontaneity.
Illustrating this first children’s book was quite a different experience and took on another dimension; the challenge of adapting pictures to a storyline was difficult and painstaking, yet it was so satisfying to finally complete it.
In 2009 Robert began taking acting classes in improvisation with teachers Carl Stillitano and Erin Flowers at The Open Door Acting Company with the intention to improve his ability to speak publicly with his poetry. He has been an senior student with them ever since. He has performed in over 40 improvisational shows with them since 2012; all of which have greatly influenced his creative writing.
Born from one of the improvisational shows he did in 2015 he wrote his third play, “To Plunge or Not to Plunge”, a play about a third generation plumber who wants to be a Shakespearean actor. In 2017 he wrote two plays, “At the Platform Edge”, a dramatic play about suicide and ”Crazy as a Bed Bug”, a comedy also about suicide. Robert has written dozens of vignettes over the past few years all born from improvisational scenes he’s done either in class or on stage.
To learn more about Robert as an actor, visit Robloneill.com
Get the Book
Sammy The Purple Baby elephant is now available as hardcover, paperback and kindle version.