It All Works in its Way

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

It’s probably a little aggravating to follow me on Twitter. My main account, @montedutton, covers a lot of territory because I cover a lot.

Many of my followers are NASCAR fans. A reputation lingers after 20 years traversing the beat as a reporter and columnist. I still write a few columns each week from afar.

Many of my followers have read my novels, five of them with a sixth in progress.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Many of my followers are interested in local sports, of which I also write on the side. Many are longtime friends, and some read me because they’ve moved away and still want to know what’s going on around here.

A NASCAR fan probably isn’t that interested in someone I’ve known all my life being named the basketball referee of the year in South Carolina. A high school basketball fan might not like my posts and links about, oh, literature.

Many of my followers – more all the time, I’m afraid – get tired of the posts and links on NASCAR.

Even if there isn’t much carryover, I must aspire to it. There are friends, and there are Facebook friends. A few of them are the same. For a few of them, I am only worth the last thing I wrote.

Some of the more loyal readers of my fiction are those who began following me because they liked NASCAR. Some of those who are particularly interested in the Clinton Red Devils, or the Laurens Raiders, or the Presbyterian Blue Hose, also like racing.

A few even seem to like everything I do.

DSCF2080By the way, I express my views in three Twitter ways. I have a general (@montedutton), a literary (@hmdutton) and an, uh, irreverent (@wastedpilgrim) persona. When I have some thought I delusionally think might be insightful, clever or humorous, I decide which place to post it. It will get wider circulation @montedutton, but it might be too hot for the general account to handle. Some of my writing I link in all three places. (This blog, for instance.) I rarely link NASCAR or local sports stories to the other two.

A minor league ballgame in Hickory, North Carolina. (Monte Dutton photo)
A minor league ballgame in Hickory, North Carolina. (Monte Dutton photo)

Facebook is similar. One account (Monte Dutton) is general. I have a Monte Dutton fan page (books and music) and a group, The Audacity of Dope, that is taken from the name of my first novel, which has been around for just about exactly five years.

The Twitter pages add up to about 9,000 followers, and the Facebook friends, followers and “likers” come to somewhere north of 5,000. There are plenty to manage, plenty to please, plenty to whom responses are expected.

(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

I spend more time on Twitter because, in general, it isn’t as mean as Facebook. It seems like every day more people on Facebook don’t want to hear anything from anyone who doesn’t agree with them. I enjoy a good social-media exchange of views. I try to respect other opinions. It gets nasty and hysterical, though. It could be that Facebook is meaner because it is roomier. There’s only so much anger one can instill or cultivate with 140 characters. Thanks to links, I manage. It would be nice, though, if occasionally someone would actually read a link before he or she goes apeshit over it.

I’m satisfied a diarrheal gorilla somewhere is highly insulted.

(Monte Dutton photo)
(Monte Dutton photo)

Someone out there right now is thinking, or even saying, to himself (or herself), Well, why don’t you just quit?

Do I seem like a quitter? Would a quitter write one novel after another, hoping against hope that one of them is going to take off, capture the public’s imagination, turn the others into bestsellers, soon become a major motion picture, and allow me to pay my bills?

How many times have I heard that the definition of insanity (actually, it’s one definition of insanity, and probably not even that) is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? It might be true if my novels were the same story.

I really don’t have a choice. Writing is what I do. I’m too old – I would love to think good – to be paid what I’m worth to write the way I used to. Sure, I’m constantly told by people that they sure do miss me in NASCAR, never, however, by anyone who could do anything about it.

See, this is a free enterprise system. One can’t embrace capitalism, or at least accept it, without the notion that market value establishes itself, and without regard to value but rather to scarcity.

(Photo by Monte Dutton)
(Photo by Monte Dutton)

I see lots of people who want it both ways. I hear them say something like, “Look at that stinking ballplayer, making 50 million bucks a year, meanwhile, my wife’s a schoolteacher, and I’m a preacher, and we barely make ends meet.”

I sympathize, but value in our society is set in a market. Not many people can play ball at the level of a man making $50 million for doing it, and that is self-evident in his salary. Schoolteachers’ value is lessened by not being rare.

At this particular point in my life, a market is kicking my ass.

Sportswriters are a dime a dozen, and young ones are a lot more willing to settle for a dime. They might make it to 40 before they’re old enough to get run off.

So, to put a cap on this mournful lament, I just keep on writing. As a bonus, I happen to adore doing it.

Hey, read a book. Not necessarily mine. Just take a little time off from Facebook, Netflix, and around-the-clock zombie news to do something that might actually change your world. Read something by somebody that takes a while. It’s better than the movie. It takes less time than the podcast. As hard as this may be to believe, the thousand words are worth the picture. They create more pictures.

I prefer to think that the book is usually better than the picture, even in Technicolor.

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

I’ve written five 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.

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

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

My new novel is a western, Cowboys Come Home.

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.

(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.

 

(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).

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001
(Design by Steven Novak)
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