Crazy Little Thing Called Writing

The mountains of Kentucky is where most of Crazy of Natural Causes takes place. (Monte Dutton sketch)
The mountains of Kentucky is where most of Crazy of Natural Causes takes place. (Monte Dutton sketch)

So much to do. So little time.

It wasn’t too long ago that writers got to spend their time writing. They didn’t have to tweet and post and pretend it was writing, too. A book is an art. A blog is a craft. A tweet is a trick.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

It’s not that I don’t enjoy social media. I do. I’d be quite the hypocrite if I claimed to despise it. It would be similar to a parent screaming that a kid had better not do what he or she did enthusiastically at the same age.

See, I’m not really condemning hypocrisy. It is a necessary condition of adulthood. One must limit it as best he or she can, lest it become an addiction.

It’s just that, when I became a writer of books, a profession I desired but was hastened by the elimination of a job I held for 16-1/2 years, I mistakenly assumed there would be time to write.

I still write free-lance sports stories, for three reasons: (1.) I like it, (2.) it gets me out, and (3.) provides “spending money.”

What I have always loved about sports is that it reveals humanity in an open forum. Politicians choke under pressure, too. (Hard to believe, I know.) Most of the time, they manage to hide it from view. An athlete either makes the free throw or doesn’t. He catches the pass or drops it. He or she sinks the putt or doesn’t.

Lots of my time is spent doing what I’m doing now: holed up at the house, typing away, with a crummy movie in the background and my guitar leaning against the front of the couch. Oh, wait. The Giants are playing in Pittsburgh. That’s better.

Some days are just mostly macaroni. (Monte Dutton sketch)
Some days are just mostly macaroni. (Monte Dutton sketch)

I like to stop by L&L Office Supply and see what the talk around town is. I like to edit at the Yo Cup coffee shop, sipping coffee and having side conversations with the lady behind the counter. I need to observe the condition of humans other than this one. Human condition is available at supermarkets, restaurants … practically everywhere there are humans.

Occasionally I find people who are inhuman, but they are rare.

I once had an agent when I wrote non-fiction books. Most were about NASCAR, my longtime beat. The last one was about music. I then pronounced myself ready to write fiction, and my first novel, The Audacity of Dope, was written while I was still traveling around the country going to stock car races. I wrote on planes, in hotel rooms, and in airports during layovers.

I’m glad I got kicked out of the traveling, gypsy circus. I’ve taken one plane trip in three years. The current status is conducive to writing better.

On the other hand, health care cost less at the newspaper, and I had a retirement plan and an expense account.

What hasn’t changed is that there are still too few hours in a day. Five goals perpetually exist that I haven’t found the time to complete. I’m more patient. I just chip away. Everything in due time.


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

              Most of my books are available here, many in both print and Kindle editions.

              Below are my novels, and the clicks will take you to the print versions. The link above, to my Amazon author page, will give you access to Kindle and print versions.

              Forgive Us Our Trespasses is new. It’s set in South Carolina and is a crime novel loaded with politics, corruption, murder, sex, drugs, parents, and kids. It’s frank and irreverent.

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

              Crazy of Natural Causes is the story of a failed Kentucky football coach who rebuilds himself in original ways. Some have called it an agnostic novel. I call it a fable on life’s absurdity.

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

              The Intangibles is set in the 1960s, again in South Carolina, because that is where I live and almost always have. It’s a story of civil rights, bigotry, drugs, and, of course, high school football.

              The Audacity of Dope is a tale of a pot-smoking songwriter who, inexplicably, becomes a national hero, which is not at all what he would prefer. It’s a chase yarn with a man and a woman on the lam.

              Then there’s the brand-new collection of short stories, Longer Songs, a title chosen because the 11 stories all began in songs I wrote. If you’re not sure you want to take a leap of faith into my novels, sample my short stories first.

              Signed copies of my novels — and Longer Songs — are on sale at L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, here in Clinton, S.C. For a limited time only, buy a copy of either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a copy of Longer Songs free.


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