Terry James Chio: First-Time Author Finds Relevance in 19th Century Wisdom
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” –attributed to Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, was never shy when it came to handing out his colorful and unique views on the world. Everything from politics (“Loyalty to the Nation all the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it.”) to even death (“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”), he was never at a loss for words. Though the prolific author is better known for his timeless works “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” Twain left in his legacy a plethora of wisdom in the form of thousands of quotes. It was these words of wisdom from the late author that inspired a semi-retired cabinet maker from Bowling Green, Ohio, to write his first novel.
The novel, “Living with Earl,” follows the daily antics of the author, Tom Lambert, and a peculiar “fictitious” house guest he picks up from a local coffee/book shop named Earl, who has adopted the persona of Mark Twain. The book is written in bite-size chapters with stories based on individual quotes from the late author, of which Earl is never in short supply. In one of my favorite stories towards the beginning, Tom is talking with Earl about John Wayne and an actress he worked with named Maureen O’Hara (Earl’s persona hints that he was mysteriously transported directly from the late 1800s and has no knowledge of our modern times). Tom describes O’Hara as having large eyes, alabaster skin, auburn hair, and always the proper lady. Earl, annoyed with Tom’s description of the actress, walks away muttering to himself, “When red-headed people are above a certain social grade, their hair is auburn. -MT”
Lambert began spinning his incredible story on social media. It was March 2014 when he began posting the short stories individually on his Facebook page. After a while, he began to think his stories were getting stagnant and almost quit writing them, only to be met with a tidal wave of friends and fans begging him to continue. It was a friend who finally convinced him that his stories needed to be put into a book, and “Living with Earl” was born.
Though the book mostly consists of fictitious stories involving him and his “made-up” live in companion, Lambert adds a dash of reality as he tells of his own hilarious and memorable experiences, including actual people and places that influenced and inspired him. The stories are funny, thought-provoking, and nostalgic in nature. The stories build on one another into a crescendo of emotions which in the end reveal a commentary on the corruption of politics, treatment of veterans, and dissolution of the moral fiber of today’s youth.
Shortly after the release of the book, Lambert started the “VA Challenge,” where he collected donations so he could provide a copy of his book to every VA hospital in the country. In June 2016, he succeeded with a total of 142 books donated.
For more information, visit http://livingwithearl.com/ , and remember …
“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” –Mark Twain