On Truth in Relation to Fiction

There’s a chapter in there. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, July 13, 2017, 10:27 a.m.

When I was a boy, my grandmother used to say, when a thunderstorm approached, that it was about to “come up a cloud.”

My lawn needs mowing. I’m going to do so if it doesn’t come up a cloud.

By Monte Dutton (John Clark photo)

I’m also going to write fiction today if it doesn’t come up a cloud. Preferably, I’d like to write it, and finish the chapter I started yesterday, first. I know where the chapter’s going. As for this blog, I can’t say.

Fate slowed my start. The old Willie Nelson/Kris Kristofferson movie Songwriter was on.

I really need baseball games to be back. The Red Sox don’t play again until tomorrow night. They’re playing the Yankees at Fenway. If I still wrote about stock car racing for a living, I’d be in New England right now, or, to be more accurate, I’d be catching a plane, or in a Philly layover. Missing that is no longer prominent in my mind. I left the NASCAR circus, and vice-versa, at the end of 2012. I’ve spent two weekends at a race track, the same one, in all the years since.

In all the years since, there hasn’t been a New Hampshire race with the Yankees in Fenway. And the Red Sox up by 3-1/2 games. I’m a tad wistful. It’s “Gentle on My Mind,” but “it’s not clinging to the rocks and ivy planted on their columns now that bind me.”

Another reason baseball should start again is that it keeps my mind off the news. The news is always a mixed blessing. Now it’s not a blessing at all. As my father would say, had he lasted within two decades of seeing this, “If that don’t beat all ever I seen …”

(The sayings repeated in this blog offer great insight into the dialogue of my novels.)

Truth is stranger than fiction. No hyperbole resides in this. Truth is stranger than it has ever been in regard to fiction. Times have been worse but never stranger. My previous outlandish novels get less so all the time. I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad.

Life is revealed in Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings lines, most likely these written by Ed and Patsy Bruce: Them that don’t know him don’t like him, and them that do sometimes don’t know how to take him / He ain’t wrong, he’s just different, and his pride won’t let him do things that make you think he’s right.

The Battle of Britain just ended. Had I switched the channel, Columbo would still have a few minutes left.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Now it’s up, up, and away to fiction, or down to the seat of a lawn tractor.



(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 montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(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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