The Best Car-Racing Movie Ever Made

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, December 13, 2019, 11:31 a.m.

Monte Dutton

In some ways, Ford v. Ferrari takes away my historical edge.

I knew why Ken Miles (and the invisible Denny Hulme) lost the 24 Hour of Le Mans in 1966. I was only eight years old, but I remember the revolutionary satellite coverage on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. That’s how big it was, back before it could be followed around the clock via Twitter feed or live streaming on YouTube.

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I knew all about Carroll Shelby, from his Cobras, to his heart transplant, to his Texas chili mix.

I watch lots of movies, most of them more than 30 years old. I’m not sure, but I think the last movie I saw in a theater was Captain America: The First Avenger, which I saw because it was playing and I had some time to kill, which was the usual reason I saw a movie back when my life had lots of long layovers and delayed flights in it.

Come to think of it, I think I also saw a movie that was about a maverick soccer coach before I went to Landrum to play and sing some songs at a place I don’t remember any more about than the soccer movie. Apparently it was called Playing for Keeps and the world forgot all about it, too.

I’m in the old guy’s “it’ll be on TV eventually” stage of resignation. It’s all a blur. Deep down, I think Tom Hanks is just a continuation of James Stewart. Damn it to hell. A movie costs a lot, even at 1:20 p.m. on a Thursday.

I really wanted to see Ford v. Ferrari, though. The trick was to find the time before it stopped playing in nearby theaters.

First of all, I have loved automobile racing for my entire life. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when Graham Hill won the 1966 Indianapolis 500 the same year of the Ford GT breakthrough at Le Mans. Coincidentally, it was also the day I got into my first fight. For a third of my life, I made a living writing about NASCAR. Twenty years of NASCAR obsession cost me much in terms of knowledge of the greater world, even the greater automobile racing world.

Most racing movies stink. I watch ’em anyway, but they stink.

This one didn’t. Rush, the Formula One movie about James Hunt and Niki Lauda, didn’t, either, but Ford v. Ferrari was better. No one was miscast. Matt Damon made a fine Shelby, and Christian Bale made a fine Miles. Josh Lucas was a great example of what’s wrong with the world in a suit. Jon Bernthal made a believable young Lee Iacocca, and Tracy Letts was a perfectly obstinate Henry Ford II.

Caitriona Balfe as Mollie Miles and Noah Jupe as the couple’s young son were perfect. I doubt I was the only patron who immediately did a search on “what happened to Peter Miles?” as soon as the flick was over.

I guess the test of a racing movie is whether or not people who don’t love racing will enjoy it. This one passes that test, though I’m hardly one to decide. If I was a judge, I’d have to recuse myself. If The Big Wheel came up on TCM in the next 15 minutes, I’d watch it.

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Hollywood is going to do with a story what is its specialty. Hollywood seldom lets the facts get in the way. I had a few quibbles. If Miles ever strapped himself into his Ford GT when he jumped into the car for the old “Le Mans start,” I didn’t see it. In the movie, Miles was driving another GT-40 when he crashed and died. In reality, it was an experimental J-Car that was never raced.

I always quibble, as when the Chicago Cubs didn’t get a chance to bat when Roy Hobbs hit the famed home run in The Natural.

I hate to tell you folks, but the Cubbies still got to bat.

Those little qualms are minor, and, besides, there is only one surviving J-Car in existence.

It’s the best racing movie ever made. It’s better than Rush, better than Grand Prix, better than Winning, better than Days of Thunder, better than Le Mans and better than The Last American Hero.

 

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at montedutton.com. If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.

(Steven Novak cover)

 

My eighth novel is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.

A Hefty Week at Home

Laurens, 12/3/19 (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, December 5, 2019, 5:30 p.m.

Monte Dutton

The week has been exhausting. I’ve worked late the last three nights, twice till 1 in the morning. It’s not just the number of tales to tell. Several stories have required that I bear down because they were worth it. A long City Council meeting. The death of a man who was coroner for 37 years. A lovely, inspirational speech by a man who has fought for his life the last three years. A visit with a man who is closing down his family’s business after 50 years in operation on the city square.

In a country divided against itself, this mostly rural county has provided a refuge from the larger world.

The man who was youth director at church when I was a teen-ager died in hospice care. I talked to him for 10 minutes or so at the Chamber of Commerce Oyster Roast a few weeks ago. Life is fleeting.

Part of every day is consumed in menial, but important tasks. I edit the obituaries, catching typos. The family will be at their respective, not respected, homes. The man was a widower, not a widow. She and her late husband enjoyed touring the country, not the county, in their motor home. I could be wrong. Maybe the motor home didn’t run well.

It’s not that I love this place. I know it. It’s etched in my soul, for better and worse. I’ve concluded I’m not fit to live anywhere else.

Mike SImmons mixing paint at his Laurens shop. (Monte Dutton photo)

After I left the paint shop that opened in 1969 but is closing when this year changes to the next, I drove the eight miles from Laurens to Clinton and stopped by Steamers Cafe for breakfast. As long as I eat there once or twice a week, I’ll never order anything but the “meaty breakfast.” Most days I fix breakfast at home, but what I get at Steamers is the weekly fix of grits. Two weeks ago, I had grits twice in the same day. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Sam Wyche, left, with Harold Nichols (Monte Dutton photo)

Last night I watched a man who had a heart transplant three years ago and is now being treated for cancer give a speech better than Knute Rockne ever mustered to a room full of football players, coaches, and fans. Sam Wyche might have more years left in him than I do. When I first met Wyche, he co-owned a sporting goods store. At that time, he had played in a Super Bowl. Since then, he has been an assistant coach and a head coach in Super Bowls. The only others who have ever done that are Mike Ditka, Dan Reeves and Tom Flores.

Sam Wyche (Monte Dutton photo)

Most of Wyche’s time as a quarterback was spent on the sidelines with a clipboard and holding for field goals and extra points. Once he rode from training camp to Cincinnati in a car with the legendary Paul Brown, who was so great the team in Cleveland is named after him. He’d just made the roster. They stopped for gas, and an old man Wyche compared to Tim Conway on the Carol Burnett Show trudged out to pump the gas, clean the windshield, and check the oil. That was before time and modernity removed the service from service stations.

Brown asked him if he knew the president of Shell Oil Company. Wyche said no. Brown said, “That man there is Shell Oil to you.”

That was how Wyche illustrated, as Brown once illustrated to him, that the worst player on a team is as important as the best. One doesn’t hear that a lot nowadays.

Three times I watched the Bengals play while Wyche was head coach, twice in Cincinnati and once in Washington. I was there because one of the players, Stanford Jennings, was, like Wyche and me, a Furman graduate. Jennings was my friend back in the 1980s, and I went to the games with other friends. Now I’m old, Wyche is older, and Jennings looks about the same.

Occasionally, even here in Laurens County, I get a glimpse of the world beyond.

 

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at montedutton.com. If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.

(Steven Novak cover)

 

My eighth novel is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.

What a Way to Go

Sunset of a season (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, December 1, 2019, 10:30 a.m.

Monte Dutton

It was a lone outpost consisting of a pop-up tent, a silver-gray trailer with a big-screen TV, another whose screen wasn’t as big, tables of food, coolers of ice and beverage, and a small group of would-be celebrants.

The Furman University campus was mostly vacant in observation of the Thanksgiving holiday. A few vehicles drove by, a few joggers jogged by, and a few walkers walked by. Some of them wore quizzical looks. A few who were students during the Baptist years instinctively hid their beverages when the school police came by on patrol. The officers just waved and smiled.

(Sara Bopp photo)

Why are these people here?

Don’t they know the football game is in Tennessee?

Some of those there, between Paladin Stadium and the practice fields, just happened by and joined the party. Some friendships strengthened. Some began.

Going to Clarksville had been considered by all of them, but, because of the holiday and its demands, they just decided to enjoy the game somewhere other than in the privacy of their homes. They had gathered in this area throughout the fall, so they decided, by a slow Facebook process of discussion during the week, to get together in familiar company at a familiar place.

(Sara Bopp photo)

As it turned out, it was better than being there because the fate of the Paladins was ill at Austin Peay. Driving home, down and out, was less taxing from Furman than it would have been from northwestern Tennessee. The party had developed through an extended process of “Why don’t we gather at the stadium anyway to watch the game?” and “I’ll do it if you will.”

It was longer than anyone thought it would be. The gathering began at 11 a.m. The game was supposed to begin at 1 p.m. It was delayed by lightning beforehand while everyone watched football games in Columbia and Atlanta, and during the game when lightning struck again.

(Sara Bopp photo)

A good season ended badly. In fact, the game between Furman and Austin Peay, to paraphrase Merle Haggard, rolled downhill like a snowball headed for hell. The Governors led at halftime, 7-3. They governed the third quarter, which dissolved into a rain-splattered blur of long plays, turnovers and impending oblivion. Austin Peay won, 42-6. Twenty-eight of its points occurred during the quarter of snowball hell.

Furman football is good and getting better. The Paladins made the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs but bounced out in the first round. They’re on their way, but they’re not there yet.

(Sara Bopp photo)

This was a group of people who differed in many areas but were united in the knowledge that their team may not yet be good enough, but win or lose, it is still theirs. The allegiance was undying even as the season died.

It even drizzled a while in Greenville while it poured in Clarksville.

(Monte Dutton photo)

They toasted victory before and the end afterward. Then everyone went home to watch football games deemed more worthy by the masses and went to sleep tired and glum.

The first thing they noticed this morning was that the sun had come up yet again.

 Eddie Bopp shot this short video. Unfortunately, the song I learned last week proved all too appropriate.

 

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at montedutton.com. If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.

(Steven Novak cover)

 

My eighth novel is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.

A Couple More Days Till the Turkey

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Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, November 28, 2019, 8:11 a.m.

Monte Dutton

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.

This should come as no surprise. I’m fat, and there’s food. Family. Football. I must be 4-F in the Thanksgiving draft.

I’m mostly a happy guy. I love baseball, too. Hot dogs, especially the ones at Whiteford’s Drive-In, the ones with slaw on them. Apple pie, especially with a dollop of vanilla on top. And this year I own a Chevrolet for the first time in decades.

The cliches are backward. It should be merry Thanksgiving and happy Christmas.

It’s been a good year. The future is cloudy, but the year has been clear. I don’t think this is a result of government policy. I just caught a few breaks after a string of bad ones. I worked hard. I didn’t work any harder. A few things just worked.

(Monte Dutton photo)

I spent part of Wednesday in an unfinished building and part in a hospital room. That’s life in a nutshell.

It shouldn’t really be about me. Thanksgiving is the opposite of that. I am the captain of my fate, but the waves are choppy and the forecast bleak. Life’s crew relies on one another.

The words of songs course through my mind at morning. The task before this one was posting one of those lyrics on social media.

In the magic that morning is bringing / This song for the life I have found / It keeps my feet on the ground. – Rodney Crowell.

Jerry Jeff Walker (Monte Dutton photo)

I could listen to Jerry Jeff Walker sing that song all day, but I’ll probably watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and football games. I might play it on guitar, though. At halftime.

The feast isn’t until Saturday this year. It’s a matter of part of the family going to the other in-laws today, and then this part getting together on Saturday evening because Clemson is playing South Carolina at noon. Coincidentally, Furman is in Clarksville, Tennessee, playing Austin Peay in the FCS playoffs. I considered driving all the way up there, but it’s good I didn’t because, as it turns out, Thanksgiving is Saturday.

Age tells a man that, sure, life isn’t supposed to be be easy, but, at some point, that wouldn’t be so bad.

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Work becomes measured in hours, not labor. On second thought, this may just be the case of writers, who never retire. Life ends, head resting on a keyboard, lines of letters streaming over and over across the screen until the body is discovered or the memory fills. When a writer retires, he expires.

That way, a man he never knew will get to say to mourners, “He died doing what he loved.”

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It’s a small world getting forever smaller. Last night I looked up Cyprus. That was because I first looked up Aqaba because “Lawrence of Arabia,” my favorite movie, was on TCM. I noticed that Cyprus isn’t far off the coast of Syria when I hit the “minus” button several times on the map. I read all about the never-ending conflict on the islands between Greek Cypriots and Turkish ones.

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I can’t imagine that ten minutes having been useful. I don’t see me leaning against the wall of a high school gym, and saying to the junior varsity coach, “You know, Cyprus is quite a tourist destination, but I’d never go there. Nah, not me. Too much conflict between the Greeks and the Turks.”

Nor would I expect the coach to say, “I don’t know, man. Nicosia’s nice.”

I’m a whiz at most things that don’t make money.

Oddly, I am thankful for that, too.

 

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at montedutton.com. If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.

(Steven Novak cover)

 

My eighth novel is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.

Things I Wish Somebody Else Would Say

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Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, November 23, 2019, 10:01 a.m..

Monte Dutton

A frustration of mine is wishing people would say what I would. Whether it’s a presidential debate, or a stock car race, or a sitcom, I can’t understand why people with a voice don’t use it the way I would.

For instance, I don’t find President Trump unpredictable at all. In fact, I think he’s as predictable as kids in a sandbox. Whatever he’s doing, he accuses others of doing. It’s simple. He’s like brats everywhere.

Hey, Fathead!”

I’m not a fathead! You’re a fathead!”

When the Affordable Care Act passed, President Obama wanted it to include a public option. Politics is the art of the possible. What he got was what he could get through Congress.

Republicans think the government can’t efficiently do anything. Yet the same Republicans have historically opposed a public option for health care because private insurance couldn’t compete.

Those two opinions cannot both be right.

The existence of a public option for health care would either make private care compete, or it would go out of business. Health care isn’t really a free market. The fix is in.

The ACA was a lifesaver for me. It came along when I was struggling.

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Yes, I consider myself a liberal. Well, no, not completely. I’m a liberal by regional standards. I’ve never considered myself much other than a moderate. I also consider Barack Obama to be a moderate.

What I also think is what I think about sports. Build your team around running, or build it around passing. What’s important is to make a plan and stick to it.

Conservatives believe that government should take a limited role. They have ruled this state for decades. Believing in a limited role should also mean playing that limited role well.

The roads are crumbling. The bridges are growing weak and rusty. Having a problem with government means spending half the day on hold, just like a problem with a website.

What is the root of the conservatives’ failure? I suspect people who don’t believe in government are by nature ill equipped to run one.

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What I believe in deeply is principle. I admire principled conservatives. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been one since Barry Goldwater died.

I don’t see how people who believe in the Constitution can believe in Trump because, before he came along, many of his supporters talked about “defending the Constitution.” We now know that most of them don’t give a damn about the Constitution because their hero violates it every day. We now know they care about balancing the budget when the Democrats are in charge.

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The freedom that is unenumerated in the Constitution is the freedom of stupidity. Without it, our culture and civilization would grind to a halt. I believe in the freedom of stupidity. In one area or another, we all use it.

I have many flaws, but until Trump came along, it was highly unusual for someone to call me a moron. I try to remember the words of that noted philosopher Jimmy Buffett, who sang, “Don’t ever forget that you just may wind up being wrong.”

Thus is it possible that I am a moron. It’s not my intent.

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Age has made me more practical. For instance, I am determined not to make a decision on whom I want to be president until I actually get a chance to vote on it. I’m almost never in favor of the guy (or gal) who winds up being nominated for president. If I made up my mind today, the odds are that my choice would no longer be a candidate months from now when I get to vote.

Why open myself to disappointment? I may not make up my mind until I go to the polls. I’m reasonably sure I’d vote for any Democrat against Trump. I’d vote for most any other person against Trump, including some who have publicly called me a moron in the exhilarating air of social media.

On Thursday, an acquaintance asked me for whom I would vote, but I didn’t get a chance to answer. Someone I knew walked in, and I had a conversation with him, and the person who asked was soon occupied elsewhere with his business, and I had a meeting to attend.

I didn’t get a chance to tell him, nobody right now.

(Monte Dutton sketch)

I’ve just about concluded that the president’s partisans are practical, too. They don’t fret about how Vladimir Putin has somehow managed to make the world’s most powerful country a satellite of Russia. They don’t worry about constitutional principles the president is violating.

They like him. They like what he’s doing. Other than that, they just don’t care. They feel the same way about Trump that I do about the Boston Red Sox. I love the Red Sox. I hate the Yankees. There isn’t a damned thing fair or logical about it. That’s what tribalism means. We root for politicians the same way we root for ball teams.

Trump enthusiasts sit behind the dugout, secure in the belief that they can see balls and strikes better than a man standing right behind the plate.

Any time the president does anything wrong – Descartes couldn’t count the ways – the chorus begins.

What about Hillary? What about Obama? What about Bill? What about Belichick? What about Warren G. Harding? What about Pete Rose?

The problem with whataboutistry is that it implies approval.

Did you support Bill Clinton having sex with an intern? Did you tell everyone Benghazi was okay?

As I brace myself for being called a moron again, I am comforted by the knowledge that I got these thoughts off my mind. The weight has grown heavy. Let freedom ring. Like Popeye the Sailor Man, “Iyam what Iyam.”

The system never fails. We get what we want and what we vote for. If disaster ensues, it’s our fault, not Trump’s, not the Senate’s and not the Supreme Court’s.

I heard a quote from Grover Cleveland, the only president ever elected both twice and separately.

The ship of Democracy, which has weathered all storms, may sink through the mutiny of those aboard.”

 

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at montedutton.com. If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.

(Steven Novak cover)

 

My eighth novel is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.

‘Life Gets Complicated When You Get Past Eighteen …’

Monte Dutton photo

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, November 17, 2019, 8:23 a.m.

Monte Dutton

I think so much better in the morning. I wish I had the time to write one of these every day.

This morning I awakened to thoughts about the limits of sportsmanship. A few days ago, I was talking to someone about that commercial that used to run about the kid in the high school basketball game who confessed that he had touched the ball before it bounced out of bounds and ’fessed up to the referee, thus, presumably, costing his team the game.

Oh, how sweet. How many people would actually do that? How many coaches would actually understand? How many teammates would forgive him?

Not many.

Doc Rivers’ son Austin lobbied for his father to be thrown out of an NBA game. His father was thrown out of an NBA game. Tee him up! Throw him out!

It was as complicated as most of life is. Austin Rivers plays for the other team. His father traded him.

It’s complicated.

It was a bad football day for the Baptists. It, too, is complicated. My alma mater, Furman University, is the oldest Baptist university in America if one still deems it Baptist. Furman ended its association with South Carolina Baptists in 1992. It isn’t formally affiliated anymore. Wikipedia says it became “a secular university,” so it must be right.

On the other hand, the motto is still “Christo et Doctrinae.”

In any event, Wofford beat the Paladins, 24-7, on Saturday. The game was not complicated.

Baylor University of Waco, Texas, is the country’s largest Baptist university. On Saturday night, the Bears were more like the stock market than the master of the forest. A bear market. Get it? Baylor led Oklahoma, 31-3. Oklahoma won, 34-31.

Wake Forest University is about as Baptist as Furman. The Demon Deacons split with the state convention before the Paladins did.

Hmm. Wonder how Wake did on Saturday?

It’s complicated. While I was in Spartanburg, cold and miserable, Charleston Southern defeated Presbyterian, 27-7, here in town. Once Baptist College of Charleston, CSU remains Baptist-affiliated.

And it was PC’s 10th loss, undoubtedly predestined. Maybe that softens the sting.

We Baptists, whether lapsed, non-practicing, unaffiliated, or still washed in the blood of the lamb, are a hearty lot.

If I had to sit in the visiting stands of Gibbs Stadium and watch the lads be paddled and pummeled – and I did – I can’t think of better company in the desperate hours than Dave Lyle, Kevin Morgan, David Snipes, and Bill Lanford.

Next week the Paladins must make a Point.

Whatever that is.

 

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at montedutton.com. If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.

(Steven Novak cover)

 

My eighth novel is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.

My Breakfast Is My Life

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Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, November 11, 2019, 9:51 a.m.

Monte Dutton

Most mornings, I get up, put some coffee on, plug in the cell to recharge, take some medication, and retire to the facilities.

Then I return, sit down and arm the laptop (okay, sign on), let the coffee cool a bit, and check the morning email and social media while the news is on TV. After the coffee is finished, I disarm the laptop and go back to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.

I get the grill warming up, split a bagel, and put the sides in the toaster. Then I put a plate, a bowl, two eggs, cheese, butter (and jelly if the bagel is plain) on the counter. When the bagel(s) pop up, I butter them while they are hot and turn on the stove beneath the frying pan. I place two links of bratwurst (this morning) on the grill, crack and beat the eggs in the bowl, and when a small bit of smoke rises from the pan, I pour the eggs in and then scatter cheese (most often, sharp cheddar) on top. I turn the brats. As I’ve already enjoyed coffee revival, I have tea or diet cola, so I pour it in a glass of ice, stick a straw in it, and place it on the work table, next to the closed laptop. When the eggs are done – cheese melted, little mounds popping up all around – I pick up the pan and use the spatula to sit the omelet whole upon the plate and fold it over and into a perfect omelet. I take the sausage and cut each link into four pieces. I place one side of the bagel over the eggs and the other over the brats, enabling each to be reheated a bit from the heat. I place the plate and a napkin atop the closed laptop, and go to town on my breakfast.

On days when I have a morning appointment, such as this Wednesday, I eat breakfast out at the same place, Steamers, before or after. When I have a luncheon, I skip breakfast. All other times, I skip lunch.

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I’m sort of a one-man assembly line on breakfast, and it sets a tone for writing.

A lot of local stories are like breakfast. I chip away and slowly put them together. I try to do a little reading so that I have some faint idea of what I’m doing. I send an email or make a call. Sometimes I use social media to find someone. Sometimes I do an internet search. I try to set up a meeting, preferably one conducive to the taking of photographs. Sometimes the process takes an hour. Sometimes it takes a month. I have an appointment a week from Wednesday that should wrap up a feature that began at least a month ago.

I try to stay caught up. Working for daily newspapers taught me how to stay occupied. I try to do today’s work today and chip away at tomorrow’s. When I can spare a few hours, I write blogs like this and/or write a bit more of my next and ninth novel. Life has gotten busier, and fiction has gone from the front burner to the back.

Each week I write a NASCAR column at competitionplus.com (CP Motorsports), and each Friday night, I talk about racing on a statewide radio talk show. Quite often, I do this show during the first few moments of a high school football game.

Monte Dutton photo

“Uh, Phil, that roar is because Duane Martin just sprinted by on the way to the end zone, and, provided the kick is good by Jesus Esparza, Laurens will lead Blythewood, 7-0. … Now back to racing. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Phoenix is flat, a mile around like New Hampshire, but recently reshaped and reconfigured. Kevin Harvick has been very strong there, but he has already qualified for the final four, so he may sacrifice himself to help another Ford driver get in.”

I had the situation right but the drivers wrong. On the other hand, I was talking off the top of my head in the middle of a high school football game.

My life is a maelstrom. My box is a mail storm.

As the Statler Brothers once sang, “Uh, don’t tell me … I’ve nothing to doooooo.”

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at montedutton.com. If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.

(Steven Novak cover)

 

My eighth novel is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.