Mass Communications, or Lack Thereof …

Mixed messages. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, August 4, 2017, 9:45 a.m.

Let’s say I want to get in touch with you. The options are endless. It doesn’t mean any of them work.

By Monte Dutton

I could send you an email. You would likely do what I often do: um, delete, delete, delete, save, delete, delete, delete …

Then I might – maybe, if I’m bored – read the one I saved.

When I send out information about my novels, I’m painfully aware that most get deleted without a glance. I try to write a slug that will draw attention.

A sequel! In the works!

Perhaps I should write it in all caps.


After all, many people around President Trump were apparently non-plussed by an email with the slug: “Re: Russia and Clinton – Private and Confidential.”

Ah. Nothing to see there.

I could leave you a message. If it’s on your office or home phone, on obsolete “land lines,” you’ll probably listen to it by the weekend. When I see you, maybe you’ll say, “I didn’t have your number.”

The one I left in the message. My home number’s “in the book.”

The book? What book?

A hurricane stole the “I.” Hurricane Donald. (Monte Dutton photo)

The phone book. The one you apparently go through at the even more obsolete mailbox. Throw away, throw away, keep, throwaway, keep …

I leave a message on your cell, too, or would, except that the mailbox is full because the last time you checked the messages, the Easter Bunny was hop, hop, hopping along, or imaginarily, the actual bunny being made of chocolate.

I could text. That’s the most reliable way. The down side is that you may well want to converse via text, which is aggravating. I’ll probably have to decipher acronyms I don’t understand.

His PLX is thru roof. PLX-adj. more killer. Nowumsayin?

No. I don’t nowumsayin. It’s probably best just to type LOL. Or LMAO. Or, on special occasions, ROFLMAO.

As all skilled texters know, ROFLMAO stands for “flounder on roll, extra mayonnaise.”

You may be lit. Or turnt. You may think my idea is chill. You may send a fashionable redundancy.

Mike Trout is good at baseball.

So many are the methods of communication that they are all used sparingly. Endless options are eschewed endlessly.

(Monte Dutton sketch)

Post on your Facebook page? Oops. Who knew? We aren’t “friends” on Facebook, even though we have been “friends” (old definition) since grammar school. I send a “friend request.” It is approved almost instantly. I send “a direct message.” Three days pass. I write an actual Facebook post.

I really need to talk to you. I sent you a direct message earlier.

Huh. Thought I sent message back. Must not’ve hit send.

Must not’ve. A likely story.

If we communicate anymore, there won’t be any communication at all. I can remember when the way to avoid someone was to push the shopping cart – or as we used to say, the “buggy” – around to the next aisle.

Go to the book section. You’ll never be detected there.



(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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