My goal today is to complete the first draft of what I intend to be my fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home. I’m expecting it to take two more drafts, perhaps only one, but I’m optimistic on such matters, and two is the likelihood. They won’t take too long. The story isn’t likely to require any major restructuring, but I’ll probably review what I have and say to myself, “Self, I don’t really think Ennis would do that,” and then Myself and I will have an argument — not on tape, not in public, but within my mind, where I hope many folks have them — and since Myself and I are not political opponents, common ground will be reclaimed from the common swampland.
It’s only a half chapter. It’s action-packed, as final chapters are fond of being. I probably should have finished it yesterday, but I just wasn’t up to it. I still require “mulling time,” which is just as important as writing time. Now I think I have daydreamed sufficiently. I will proceed shortly after I finish ruminating about the whole matter.
I’ve been holed up all week. My time outside the house has been, oh, about two hours a day. I haven’t gone to any ballgames. My excursions have been confined to the post office and the grocery store. The world is present in my phone, laptop, and television. I find golf to be a nice background. Some guy named Kaufman, who is at even par, just hit a tee shot that was “way right” according to the commentators. During weeks in which the United States Open is not being contested, I’m fond of old movies and documentaries. My best writing background is the Smithsonian Channel’s Aerial America. Oh, look! “The South” is coming up at 2 p.m. The dishes are washed. I have clean clothes. I need to make a run to the trash dump sometime today.
I do busy work when I can’t get my creative juices flowing. Pay some bills. Catch up on accounting. Just yesterday I made estimated tax payments! Put in a load of clothes. Move them into the dryer. Wash another load of clothes. An effective way to brew creative juices is to play guitar a while. Reading someone else’s fiction is often helpful, but it’s a little more volatile. I’ve found that reading John Steinbeck intimidates me, well, no, not altogether. His profound works, like The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden, leave me feeling inferior, but, while I admire whimsical works like Cannery Row and Tortilla Flats, they don’t steamroll me.
Does that make sense? Of course not. Writers are supposed to be neurotic, and if they’re not, they’re not trying hard enough.
Most of my books are available here, in Kindle and print editions.
The following links are for the print editions.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses is a crime novel about corruption in high places, or at least as high as places get in South Carolina. Dad’s a monstrous crook. Kids are on drugs. An improbable rise and calamitous fall, written just in time for the Age of Trump.
Longer Songs is my collection of short stories, all expanded from songs I’ve written. Try them. You like them.
Crazy of Natural Causes, set in Kentucky, is a fable on the absurdity of life, told through a football coach who loses everything and finds ways to cope. Most of the time, it’s Jesus. Sometimes it’s weed. Chance Benford just tries to get along.
The Intangibles is set in the 1960s, with desegregation, civil rights, bigotry and upheaval all around and a high school football team at the center.
The Audacity of Dope is a freewheeling tale of an unlikely hero and his girlfriend leading the Feds on a wild chase across the country. Riley Mansfield is a pot-smoking songwriter. Melissa Franklin is a schoolteacher ready for a change.
My sportswriting is mainly on display at montedutton.com. Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (a bit more irreverent and philosophical). I’m on Facebook at Monte.Dutton, Google+ at MonteDuttonWriter, and Instagram at TUG50.