Delbert Earle and the Author

“You don’t work,” says my friend Delbert Earle, “you’re a writer.”

My friend Delbert Earle has always had a jaundiced view of this thing I do to make a living.  His idea of work is anything in which you lift, tote, fetch, hammer, dig, explode, or stand around a hole in the ground watching somebody else do one of those things.

“But writing is hard work,” I protest.  “I sometimes sweat profusely when I’m writing.  I have occasionally broken down in tears.  Have you ever had to use a jackhammer on writer’s block?”

“Have you ever shed blood in the course of your work?” he asks.

“Paper cuts,” I answer defensively.  “Paper cuts can be painful.”

“Have you ever filed for workmen’s compensation?”


"Well, then.”

So it was with some trepidation that I told my friend Delbert Earle about this new novel, which I’ve finished after years of sweat, tears, and paper cuts.  “I have even found someone to publish it,” I announced.  “In September.”

"What’s it called?” he asked.

The Governor’s Lady.”

“What’s it about?”

“A feisty woman.”

“Like your wife?”

“Feisty,” I repeated.

“Does she get some of the profits?”

“All of them.”

“Okay,” says Delbert Earle, “what happens next?”

“I shall go forth and ask people to buy it and read it.  It’s where art meets commerce.”

“Shameless hucksterism,” he says.

“Yea, verily,” I say.  “Where two or more are gathered…”

Maybe I bear some responsibility for Delbert Earle’s notion of what it takes to write.  He once asked me, “How do you write a book, anyway?”

I replied, “You stare out the window until you think up something, and then you write it down.  Then you stare out the window some more until you think up something else, and then you write that down.  You keep doing that over and over until you’ve thought up everything you can think up, and then you write THE END and send it off to your publisher.”

Did I oversimplify here?

At any rate, Delbert Earle is my very good friend, and despite his misgivings about my profession, he is pleased by my good news.  He promised to buy a book in September, and says he might even find it interesting to read, since we are both married to feisty women.  And he has decided what he will give me as a congratulatory gift: a box of band-aids.

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