Style and Sox and Storms, Etc.

PIxabay photos

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 1:57 p.m.

By Monte Dutton

One consequence of working for a news website while writing fiction at the same time is the constant clash of styles.

I even have a style for this blog. If this was on, “South Carolina” would have been “S.C.” and “October” would have been “Oct.” My ever-varying sticklishness takes a lot of time, adapting all the news releases that invariably have styles of their own.

I use the “Oxford comma” in fiction but not in journalism.

The styles evolve. Just this morning, after noticing the style of a web story, I succumbed to the pressure to use “from 7-8 p.m.” instead of “from 7 to 8 p.m.,” even though I still think the former reads awkwardly.

As a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, I’ve felt all day as if the Sox’ 16-1 conquest of the New York Yankees was some kind of demented trick.

If it’s any other game, I switch to something else. If it’s the Red Sox, I hang on every pitch. That’s why I saw Brock Holt do what no one else has ever done: hit for the cycle in the postseason.

I’m scared right now, but last night I slept soundly.

Two storms in three weeks!

The first one wasn’t much of a hindrance here, though it was devastating to much of the Carolinas. This time, we don’t know how much we’re going to get it, but we’re going to get it. Michael won’t be a hurricane by the time it blows through here like a runaway train, but it’ll leave a mark.

If we’re lucky again, the path will take it southeast.

I don’t know what to do but wait.

It would be better if it was called global weirding instead of global warming. No one can deny the weirding.

The older I get, the more I like trees and skies.

My washed-up baseball scout and his otherwise undiscovered prospect are on the way from McCormick, South Carolina, to Sherman, Texas. They’re taking their time. When last I encountered them, they were sitting at a minor league game in Augusta, Georgia.

They’re waiting on me. I created them. I determine their story. I know where they’re going and how they’re going to get there.

I have to write it down.


The Barrie Jarman Adventures (Gabe Whisnant photo)

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.

(Steven Novak cover)


The new novel, my eighth, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.


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