Not About the Inauguration

The Gateway Arch. (Monte Dutton photo)
The Gateway Arch. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, January 20, 2017, 11:47 a.m.

The new president is about to take office. In a moment, I’m going to listen to what he has to say. I’m not going to write about politics. It has left me weary. I hope for the best.

Instead, I’m going to write about something frivolous. Something that won’t blow up or be dissolved by rancor.

I don’t know what it is.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

12:36 p.m.

I’m getting carried away with a new fiction project. Last week, nearly 90,000 words into a novel, I had a sleepless night in which I came up with a new project, and got up to write an introduction before I lost the inspiration.

Now it’s an intro, three chapters, and 8,000 words. I’m really into it.

I’ve never written a novel with a narrator. This one is the uncle of the main character. It’s enabled to be what I haven’t been able to be in two other projects, which is funny. In third person, I always turn serious, even while still speckling it with satire.

I’m determined to hold down the word count here. I think this will work better if it isn’t as long as the five novels that preceded it. I expect I’ll self-publish it because I don’t want anyone to know what I’ve got until it’s out.

Enough about that.

3:21 p.m.

I watch lots of old movies. Well, I half-watch them. I often have them on TV while I’m writing.

In terms of my favorite actor, I can’t say.

Spencer Tracy was the most effortless and natural. James Stewart the most likable. Cary Grant the most physical. Underappreciated? Edward G. Robinson. Most charismatic? I can’t separate Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, but I guess I’ll give the distinction to Newman because he lasted longer. Favorite character actor? Sydney Greenstreet. Favorite role? John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. Actor I wish had been president? Henry Fonda. Favorite performance? Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. Charles Laughton in Witness for the Prosecution. Favorite comic in silent movies? Harold Lloyd.

My favorite actress? Probably Katharine Hepburn. Most beautiful? Elizabeth Taylor. Most alluring? Lauren Bacall. Most likable? Jean Arthur. Favorite character actress? Mercedes McCambridge. Icy cold? Bette Davis. Favorite performance? Cicely Tyson in Sounder. Underrated? Myrna Loy.

My favorite movies: (1.) Lawrence of Arabia, (2.) Casablanca, (3.) Giant, (4.) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, (5.) Patton, (6.) Little Big Man, (7.) Citizen Kane, (8.) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, (9.) The Best Years of Our Lives, (10.) A Face in the Crowd.

If I had 10 more minutes to think, I’d probably change every single one.


If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Cowboys Come Home, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at (

(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.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on sale all January as a Kindle download at

(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. 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.


(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).





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