In the 1960s and ‘70s, pop-music shows became popular on network TV. It was common for me to come home from a high school football game and, unable to sleep after either good or bad performances (mostly the latter), watch In Concert and The Midnight Special. In the ‘60s, a couple were on network TV. One was called Shindig.
The other was called Hullabaloo. Hullabaloo could be the name of anything now. It could be the name of almost everything. According to the wonderland of my phone, a hullabaloo is a din. Either that or an uproar.
I’m overwhelmed by the hullabaloo. It shapes my judgment of the time. It shapes the plots of my novels, all of which are hullabaloos. The world is changing so fast, no one can keep up. We all get enveloped by the hullabaloo.
The hullabaloo in my first novel, The Audacity of Dope (2011), is a pot-smoking songwriter, just minding his own business, who, in so doing, miraculously becomes a national hero and miraculously doesn’t want to be one. Riley Mansfield just wants to keep on living his life, writing his songs, playing them in small venues, getting by on the royalties and smoking his weed, and the fact that the world won’t let him be a nobody anymore turns him into an even greater hero. The stoner is as stubborn and as set in his ways as the athlete that once he was. I had such a good time writing it that I tried to write some more novels.
The hullabaloo in The Intangibles (2013) is the tumult of the 1960s – civil rights, assassinations, Vietnam – in a small South Carolina town that has a bit in common with the one in which I have lived all my life. These times evoked in me those. At the center is a high school football team and its own cultural challenges.
Crazy of Natural Causes (2015) is one big hullabaloo. Chance Benford goes from being an outrageous coach to an outrageous motivational speaker. He loses everything – wife, career, health – in an amazingly short period and has to pick up the pieces. It’s a tale of his fall and rise. He finds Jesus, but not in a traditional way, and is influenced as much by his former football players as they are by him. It’s the most unique of my five.
Out of control is the nature of the Forgive Us Our Trespasses (2016) hullabaloo. One of the two main characters, Denny Frawley, is the embodiment of evil and corruption in the form of an ambitious politician. Everyone around him – wife, twins, mistress, partners – is doomed, as they should be, and it is the task of a good cop, Hal Kinley, to bring the big man down before he gets himself elected governor. Denny believes it wise to keep his friends close and his enemies closer. It’s a fatal mistake.
The first four novels were all controversial, bold, R-rated, and worthy of parental discretion. Cowboys Come Home (2016) is different though it would still rate a solid PG-13 if books were assessed as movies are. Ennis Middlebrooks and Harry Byerly come home to Texas as World War II heroes, and they both want a return to some semblance of normality. Both they and home have been changed forever, and no peace they find.
Hullabaloos all. I can’t get away from them. I see them every time I turn on my satellite-generated television and truck radio or work my way through social-media feeds.
Everybody is pissed about something, and most are pissed about the same things.
I’ve taken to writing about hullabaloos. What else is there? A shindig, maybe?
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.
Crazy of Natural Causes is on Amazon sale all month for $.99.
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. 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.
I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.
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.
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).