The Sun Is Out, the Sky Is Blue … I’m in the House

(Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, June 3, 2017, 9:46 a.m.

Sometimes I get up, and lesser aspects of life greet me, all at once.

By Monte Dutton

Everything seems mildly absurd. It doesn’t hurt, occasionally, to recognize this. Absurdity is on the rise. What Republicans believe about the planet, I believe about the absurdity. Just gotta let it run its course, man. Things’ll come around, right?

Line from a country song: Gimme a beer or two and I’ll be fine / At least it worked every other time …

A man (and, presumably, a woman, though these words represent only me) must take the occasional pause to refresh. Excuse me.

10:00 a.m.

Between now and 1 p.m., when sports commences on TV, I intend to either: (a.) edit my latest chapter of fiction and update the outline, or (b.) add more, reach another ending, and update the outline.

I am considering this, even as I buy time by writing a blog for no apparent reason.

Multitasking. I just finished watching Dan Auerbach perform several songs at the end of CBS This Morning. This makes me want to play guitar. Thinking about a novel and writing a blog are taking place at the same time. I can’t play guitar and type at the same time, so if I want to continue multitasking, I’ll have to think about the novel as I play a song. Maybe I am only capable of bi-tasking.

If that.

10:09 a.m.

Déjà vu. Let me tell you about some déjà vu.

For 20 years, my job took me to automobile races, mostly sanctioned by NASCAR, there to write and be merry. That gig ended with a thud when a newspaper eliminated my longtime position at the behest of its corporate lord.

(Monte Dutton photo)

Now I write novels. Four and a half years removed from my last on-site visit to a track, I finally wrote a novel about stock car racing. Its abrupt construction stemmed from a sudden nostalgia. For the first time, I missed racing, not just the paychecks and benefits.

Lightning in a Bottle first struck on a restless January morning after a sleepless night. Three months later, I self-published it. I didn’t want to go through the process of finding a publisher. I had only told three trustworthy people I was writing it. I wanted it to be a surprise.

A week ago, I went back to the track. I wrote about racing for a web site. I let it all hang out. What I wrote was well received. For a brief period, I was somebody again.

(Getty Images for NASCAR)

Now I’m safely back in exile, watching again from afar, writing a weekly column for a separate website, and a bit of the déjà vu still kicks in.

For instance, I thought, Wow, the Red Sox are in Baltimore on Dover weekend. If I was covering the race, I’d be at Camden Yards right now.

As the race-car drivers say, as if they were in Western movies, Whoa, boy. (After crashes, drivers since at least Sterling Marlin have said they couldn’t “get her whoaed down,” or “whoa’d down.”)

I’m sure the hustle and bustle would quickly grow old now that I am unused to long trips, and even when I take one, I drive so that I use the same time occupied that I would otherwise use waiting for canceled flights to be rebooked.

Besides, it’s cheaper that way, at least until the machinery fails.


(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, 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 six 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.

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

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. 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.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(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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