Coming Home To The Paper

                It started in the seventh grade.  I was walking home from school one afternoon when I passed the open door of the weekly newspaper in my Alabama hometown.  I stuck my head in, intrigued by what I can only describe as the sound and smell of words.   I was already hooked on words, the product of a mother who read to me as an infant and gave me the gift of imagination.  Here, now, was a place consumed with words.  I took a deep breath, marched in, and asked the editor for a job.

            He put me to work back in the print shop, where words were physical things – pieces and lines of type, vats of ink, reams of newsprint, clattering and clanking machines – all employed in translating the life of that small town into words that people could share when the paper arrived in their homes every Thursday.  I got ink under my fingernails and deep in my blood, and when I got my first paycheck (fifty cents an hour, as I remember) I was suddenly in the word business.  It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.

            Over time, I’ve written lots of different kinds of word things – journalism, novels, stage plays, movie scripts, essays – and I’ve come to this conclusion: no matter the form, it’s all storytelling, and all stories are about people.  So this new delivery system I’m using here is just my latest way of telling stories, of spending time with my old and dear friends, the words, and sharing them with you.

            I’ll write whatever occurs to me.  Some of it will be about the art and craft of writing – some things I’ve learned about putting words together to entertain, inform, and even disturb.  I’ll share what I’m working on – a new novel, a play, whatever.  Mostly, I’ll just tell stories about people – real and imagined – who catch my eye.  If some of it catches your eye, share it with others.

            No matter what I write, it all goes back to that day in the seventh grade at that little Alabama weekly.  Whenever and whatever I write, it amounts to coming home to the paper.

Robert Inman’s novels are available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo.