On Truth in Relation to Fiction

There’s a chapter in there. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, July 13, 2017, 10:27 a.m.

When I was a boy, my grandmother used to say, when a thunderstorm approached, that it was about to “come up a cloud.”

My lawn needs mowing. I’m going to do so if it doesn’t come up a cloud.

By Monte Dutton (John Clark photo)

I’m also going to write fiction today if it doesn’t come up a cloud. Preferably, I’d like to write it, and finish the chapter I started yesterday, first. I know where the chapter’s going. As for this blog, I can’t say.

Fate slowed my start. The old Willie Nelson/Kris Kristofferson movie Songwriter was on.

I really need baseball games to be back. The Red Sox don’t play again until tomorrow night. They’re playing the Yankees at Fenway. If I still wrote about stock car racing for a living, I’d be in New England right now, or, to be more accurate, I’d be catching a plane, or in a Philly layover. Missing that is no longer prominent in my mind. I left the NASCAR circus, and vice-versa, at the end of 2012. I’ve spent two weekends at a race track, the same one, in all the years since.

In all the years since, there hasn’t been a New Hampshire race with the Yankees in Fenway. And the Red Sox up by 3-1/2 games. I’m a tad wistful. It’s “Gentle on My Mind,” but “it’s not clinging to the rocks and ivy planted on their columns now that bind me.”

Another reason baseball should start again is that it keeps my mind off the news. The news is always a mixed blessing. Now it’s not a blessing at all. As my father would say, had he lasted within two decades of seeing this, “If that don’t beat all ever I seen …”

(The sayings repeated in this blog offer great insight into the dialogue of my novels.)

Truth is stranger than fiction. No hyperbole resides in this. Truth is stranger than it has ever been in regard to fiction. Times have been worse but never stranger. My previous outlandish novels get less so all the time. I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad.

Life is revealed in Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings lines, most likely these written by Ed and Patsy Bruce: Them that don’t know him don’t like him, and them that do sometimes don’t know how to take him / He ain’t wrong, he’s just different, and his pride won’t let him do things that make you think he’s right.

The Battle of Britain just ended. Had I switched the channel, Columbo would still have a few minutes left.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Now it’s up, up, and away to fiction, or down to the seat of a lawn tractor.

 

 

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

Columbo Knows

That’s a heap of macaroni. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, July 10, 2017, 4:25 p.m.

Most of the time, I do my writing in the morning. It’s when I work the best. I get up, fix some coffee, take the daily meds, sip the coffee, wish everybody happy birthday on Facebook, fix breakfast, and settle down to work, most mornings at about nine.

There’s a background. Sometimes it’s a documentary or a movie. This year I started watching old sitcoms on Sundance: one day it’s M*A*S*H over and over, the next The Andy Griffith Show, then the Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, and Barney Miller every now and then.

Recently, I started watching Columbo on Hallmark from nine to eleven.

By Monte Dutton

Columbo is sort of opposite of Sherlock Holmes. The viewer knows who the murderer is right away. Then Columbo gradually figures it out. It’s always a near-perfect crime, concocted by a man or woman who is both very smart and doesn’t think Columbo is. Columbo is convenient. I’ll have CBS This Morning on, and I can set the timer to Columbo, and I won’t have to watch even a second of Let’s Make a Deal.

I keep tabs on Columbo while I’m writing about a character of my own. Or I’ll write a blog to work my way into fiction. Or pay some bills. Or work on book promotion. Afternoon baseball games are good backgrounds. The only trouble with music is that it makes me want to play some, and writing prose is a better use of my time. With some of that, I actually make money.

Lieutenant Columbo would not waste his time on Donald Trump because the President of the United States does not bother to plan anything. He makes everything up as he goes along, and, because he does so, everyone around him has to. Mister Trump is the best example of a kind of person with I have had many dealings over the years.

Captain of the Starship Twitter (Monte Dutton sketch)

Mister Trump is a bullshit artist. Forgive the language. The language has no other phrase that fits Mister Trump so accurately.

A long time ago – and a month is a long time in America right now – I wrote that I laugh uproariously right up until the time I start weeping.

This morning Columbo nailed Dick Van Dyke, who was acting like he was a devious photographer opposite Peter Falk acting like a devious homicide detective. When the photographer met the alleged kidnapper of his wife, he showed up late at the junkyard, where he killed the man he was setting up as the killer. Columbo reasoned that a man trying to save his wife’s life would not show up late. This was just a small part of the hints Columbo accumulated and processed.

Mister Trump was in the same hotel, while his son Donald Jr.; his campaign manager, Paul Manafort; and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; met with a Russian lawyer. Donald Jr., once this meeting was uncovered and substantiated, said they were meeting over restoring the availability of Russian children to be adopted by American families. Who knew the campaign was so interested in orphans?

Then Donald Jr. said he had no idea the Russian lawyer was going to offer up “damaging information” on the Hillary Clinton campaign. Then he said what she offered was just crazy. It was probably related to that view most Republicans have that Secretary of State Clinton was an International Woman of Mystery, traveling around the world murdering her enemies in exchange for donations to her and her husband’s charitable foundation.

I mean, that’s why they call her “Killary,” right?

That very afternoon, Mister Trump, who didn’t know any of this was going on, even though he was in the building, made his tweet claiming that Clinton had destroyed 33,000 emails, undoubtedly the ones where, intent on world domination, she coolly planned her dastardly acts.

If Lieutenant Columbo rang the doorbell of the president’s Trump Tower penthouse, Mister Trump would dash to the freight elevator and hop a plane to Baja or somewhere.

Mister Trump and, by extension, his minions, who know no other way, just make it up as they along. I feel sorry for some of them. I wouldn’t trade places with Sean Spicer for three wishes from a genie. As the man I miss more than Barack Obama, David Letterman, said, “I wouldn’t give his problems to a monkey on a rock!”

Many years ago, a wise man made an observation to me about a powerful man after he fell: “His ego got so big that he thought he was invisible.”

The Republican Party is now officially soft on Russia. Thank God Senator Joe McCarthy didn’t live to see it.

Aw, muscadines! (Monte Dutton sketch)

Maybe the Russians didn’t win the election for Mister Trump. That sure is the way it looks. Mister Trump said he wanted to work together with the Russians on cyber security. What’s next? Harnessing the nuclear genie with Kim Jung-un?

It just beats me. It’s not uncommon for me to hear the supporters of Mister Trump make some startling remarks.

He’s the first politician I’ve ever known who tells the truth. I have almost never heard a truth, much less the truth.

So what if he colluded with the Russians? It’s not against the law.

That’s just fake news! In other words, Mister Trump’s enemies are making up everything.

The news was leaked! If it was leaked, it could not have been made up. It could not be fake news.

I do take exception when someone on TV says that Mister Trump is unpredictable. He’s as predictable as a traffic jam at rush hour. Everything he does wrong, he accuses everyone else of doing. Every day. Every way.

Lieutenant Columbo wouldn’t waste his time.

 

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

Paradise? Yeah, Right …

(Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, July 6, 2017, 11:15 a.m.

It is no discredit to The Last Paradise that it took me too long to read it. It was circumstance. I’ve been buried in my own writing, and there’s no end in sight. I’ve gotten myself overloaded with writing, and my reading has suffered, which is ultimately counterproductive because, in order for one to write, one must read.

By Monte Dutton

I must anyway. Lack of reading makes me a dull boy. Jack, however, is not a dull boy. Jack Beilis is the resourceful protagonist of Antonio Garrido’s tale (translated into English by Simon Bruni).

Perhaps I am overly inquisitive. The realization that thousands of Americans migrated to the Soviet Union, seeking opportunity and fairness, in the depths of the Great Depression, fascinated me. I’m fond of history. Two of my novels, The Intangibles (set mostly in 1968) and Cowboys Come Home (mostly 1946), explore historical themes.

Garrido wrote a deft whodunit. Jack is exceptional at thinking on his feet but lacking in thinking things through. He trusts too many people, particularly when he reaches an unfamiliar land where almost no one is trustworthy. Jack is a skilled tactician but a naïve strategist.

The Soviet Union of the early 1930s has grown corrupt in its empty reliance on ideology. Philosophy becomes mythology. The leadership grows ruthless as the starving proletariat grows desperate and restless. Americans become the scapegoats. They have stumbled waywardly into a trap.

Jack and those he attempts to help wait too late. The only innocent becomes the tragic hero.

The author tricked me as an author must in a crackling whodunit. I thought he was tipping off his pitches. I was wrong. When I read such fiction, I want to be wrong.

 

 

 

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

Relative Originality

(Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 12:15 p.m.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ / Though the streams are swollen / Keep them dogies rollin’ / Rawhide! / Through rain, wind and weather / Hellbent for leather / Wishin’ my gal was by my side / All the things I’m missin’ / Good vittles, love and kissin’ / Are waiting at the end of my ride …

By Monte Dutton (John Clark photo)

Oh, I feel this way. Not because I’ve been on a cattle drive.

Writin’, writin’, writin’ / Mind is struck by lightnin’ / Mental fish are bitin’ / Push on! / Dirty clothes are waitin’ / Outline needs updatin’ / A chapter is formattin’ in my soul / Some of it needs cuttin’ / Written down for nuttin’ / No one will ever know but I …

Another novel is racing toward conclusion. Twenty chapters down. Nearly fifty thousand words. A hundred eighty-nine pages. My mind is ahead of my fingers. The rest of it is now all wrapped up. I just have to write it. That’s why I’m going so fast. The outline is only so useful. I’ve got to get it down while it’s fresh, and then I’ll start over, but I don’t think an edit will take long.

Another project is in the editing stage. I’m not sure which will be published first.

I was thinking about this yesterday. Writing is an art. Editing is a craft. Writing is like painting a picture. Editing is like building a model airplane.

It’s entirely possible that this works only for me. It’s doubtful, though. The world has too many people in it. The odds of originality are long. The best to which one can aspire is personal originality. Someone else did this, but I didn’t know about it.

Sometimes I post on social media, and someone replies, “Is this yours?”

Best I know, sir. If someone else said it to my knowledge, I stick his or her name next to it.

 

 

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

The Writing Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today

This is why I don’t design my own covers. I drew this up trying to sum up the characters. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, June 24, 2017, 1:39 p.m.

This has been a troubling week. It’s better than, oh, a disastrous week.

It’s had its good points.

By Monte Dutton

My latest novel, Lightning in a Bottle, is getting rave reviews and middling sales. So far, 10 readers have reviewed it on Amazon, and it’s gotten nine “five stars” and one four. They absurdly seem to think it’s as good as I do. It may seem vain, but, of course, an author loves his own work. As I’ve said, regarding journalism, nobody writes shit on purpose. What’s gratifying is seeing that others like it.

No one likes to seem delusional.

It’s been a good week for writing, which is a shelter from figurative thunderstorms. I just had one bad day. I think it was Tuesday. On Tuesday, I wasted lots of time staring at the screen.

It happens. Sometimes thoughts have to gather and coalesce before it’s possible to advance and progress. I have developed some intuition about reaching a level of comfort in a subject before deeming it time to write it. It’s been, oh, seventeen years since I stumbled upon what I call “mulling time.”

I was writing a NASCAR book, and I had been compiling information all season long, as I hopped, skipped, and jumped (via my vehicle, rental vehicles and airplanes) across the country for parts of ten months. At season’s end, after Thanksgiving, I had my notes assembled and was ready to write. In order to get the book out quickly, I had to abide by a tight deadline schedule, one that involved writing an average of a chapter and a half a day. As a daily-newspaper journalist, I thought that would be a snap. What I discovered was that the book required as much “mulling time” as writing time. I had to think about how I was going to go about each chapter, and get that method settled in my mind.

It was the closest I ever came to a nervous breakdown and the beginning of my intuition regarding the role of “mulling time” in the process.

All in all, the week was satisfactory. I’ve been editing one manuscript and writing another.

But:

My knee is bothering me. The arthritis has been acting up. I’m getting around, but it hurts.

I haven’t been reading as much as I should. I haven’t been playing guitar as much as I should. I haven’t completed any sketches in months. I haven’t been “getting out,” partly because it’s a barren time for free-lance writing, though I had an enjoyable return to NASCAR in May.

Jerry Jeff Walker (Monte Dutton photo)

Jerry Jeff Walker wrote:

Getting by on getting by’s my stock in trade / Livin’ it day to day / Pickin’ up the pieces wherever they fall / Just lettin’ it roll / Lettin’ the high times carry the low / Just living my life / Easy come, easy go.

That’s pretty much it.

What hangs over me is the prospect of life without health care. I’ve been paying close attention at what the Republicans are doing, and for me to have more of a target on my back, I’d have to get some stencils and red paint.

Lots of people criticize Obamacare, but it’s been a godsend for me. If anything close to what is currently proposed goes through, and is signed by President Trump, then, (a.) my rates are going to at least double; (b.) I will be eligible for tax credits that I will not be able to use because I cannot pay the premiums; (c.) allowing my coverage to lapse will make it even harder to regain it because missing as little as a month will allow companies to charge me even higher rates.

Republicans speak as if the phrase “higher deductibles” belongs in The Ten Commandments. That’s because there are actually some of them who can afford to pay higher deductibles.

Mixed messages. (Monte Dutton photo)

An extensive body of work suggests that no one is going to hire me. Since the Gaston Gazette eliminated my job, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to claim that I have applied for a hundred jobs. For exactly two have I been interviewed. None of these applications was for executive editor of Sports Illustrated. I’ve applied for jobs I was so overqualified for that it embarrassed those doing the hiring. One of the interviews was, as it turned out, for a part-time job I took that didn’t last but a few months of the year that had been, well, not quite promised, but assured.

Ah, those fellows in the business office. They’re forcing us to cut back. I hate it.

In spite of my liberal arts education, I have reached the point of age and health where all I can really do is what I do best.

Write. Every day. Every way.

AMAZON CUSTOMER RATINGS

FICTION BY MONTE DUTTON

SCALE OF 1-5

Lightning in a Bottle        4.9

Cowboys Come Home	   4.7

The Intangibles                 4.7

The Audacity of Dope		    4.7

Crazy of Natural Causes	 4.2

Forgive Us Our Trespasses*	        3.7

*Biggest seller to date

Now I need you folks to read. Give my books a try. There’s a heap of them. Take one or two or five to the beach. Download them to your phone. The novels range in price from $2.99 to $4.99. The latest, the aforementioned Lightning in a Bottle, is $3.99 for your Kindle app and $16.95 for your coffee table.

I wrote the book. Now I need the lightning.

With that shameful plea hanging, the best way I know to make more money on books is to write more of them.

You may see me on a street corner, playing my guitar, passing a cowboy hat, and leaning a sign against a lamp pole that reads:

WILL WRITE FOR HEALTH CARE

 

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

Lacking Motivation

(Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 1:08 p.m.

Some days are diamonds. Some days are stones.

Etc.

By Monte Dutton

Yesterday morning, I awakened, and Keith Jackson could have been announcing the occasion. Whoa, Nellie! He came to the living room ready to write! Get some coffee in him, and it’s Katie, bar the door!

Keith was always good with the women.

I was clicking. Why people click in such moments, I have no idea.

I wrote the seventeenth chapter of an upcoming fiction project that is to be called Life Gets Complicated. That’s because it does. I then added layers of detail to my outline, and that is penance for the sarcasm I have just unleashed on an unsuspecting, and only mildly interested, future readership.

The world has too many writers who begin consecutive paragraphs with “I.” I am duly embarrassed. Not enough to rewrite one.

I also wrote a NASCAR column for a website. Then I went to Dollar Tree and spent the money.

The Red Sox won. Jon Ossoff lost. The Sox play the rubber game in Kansas City in less than an hour. That’s another reason I’m not getting much done today.

I have, however, watched an exciting episode of Columbo, and, recently, between YouTube videos and looking up Gene Kelly on Wikipedia, witnessed English horse racing from Royal Ascot.

I proofread and edited a chapter of another project called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s going to be the shining star of today’s firmament.

I forgot to change channels, and now some fishermen are pulling sting rays out of water. This is the sixth paragraph beginning with “I” in the past eight. The others started with “The.” I know its definition exactly as well as Bill Clinton does “is,” which is well indeed.

By the time Mookie Betts leads off, I should have this posted.

 

 

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

The Annual Clash of Emotions about Daddy

(Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, June 18, 2017, 10:15 a.m.

In a way, Father’s Day is empty. I’m not one, though a niece, nephews, a great-niece, and great-nephews pretend I am. This I appreciate.

In another, it makes me ever more mindful of how I remain affected by my father, who died in 1993.

Monte Dutton

Over the past six years – my Fiction Era – one of my goals has been to diversify. I’ve never written a story solely based on me. The closest is The Intangibles, a tale of the small-town South in the civil-rights era. I’m not interesting enough to be a main character. I do show up everywhere. I conjure up characters as if I’m cooking a stew that requires frequent stirring. I get the character in mind, and then I think through them. He’s this way. That happened. What does he do?

Readers wonder, Is this about you? No. The story is not about me. I am about the story. I’m standing around the corner, pretending to be Rod Serling. (Wikipedia, kids.)

Riley Mansfield (The Audacity of Dope) is a son of my father, as are Frankie Mansfield (The Intangibles) and Barrie Jarman (Lightning in a Bottle). In only one of those cases did I realize it while I was writing. Hal Kinley (Forgive Us Our Trespasses) is kind of a cross between me and him.

If my father’s goal was to live on in me, he succeeded. It’s a mixed blessing.

My father was by no means from the wrong side of the tracks, but he preferred to be. He enjoyed seeing the high and mighty chopped down to size. Me, too. It was the perfect reason to become a journalist.

He could be his own worst enemy. So can I.

I can’t speak for every boy. I suspect, though, that many harbor a deep determination, at some point in the adolescent years, to escape the old man’s shadow. I expect it’s hard for them all. It’s impossible for me. He gave his nature and nurtured it. That’s a tough team to beat.

My father was larger than life, and what I learned is that people who are larger than life often have both magnificent virtues and devastating vices.

I try to stay relatively clear of the wreckage by writing about it, not participating. I’ve seen enough to fake it.

 

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).