The Annual Clash of Emotions about Daddy

(Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, June 18, 2017, 10:15 a.m.

In a way, Father’s Day is empty. I’m not one, though a niece, nephews, a great-niece, and great-nephews pretend I am. This I appreciate.

In another, it makes me ever more mindful of how I remain affected by my father, who died in 1993.

Monte Dutton

Over the past six years – my Fiction Era – one of my goals has been to diversify. I’ve never written a story solely based on me. The closest is The Intangibles, a tale of the small-town South in the civil-rights era. I’m not interesting enough to be a main character. I do show up everywhere. I conjure up characters as if I’m cooking a stew that requires frequent stirring. I get the character in mind, and then I think through them. He’s this way. That happened. What does he do?

Readers wonder, Is this about you? No. The story is not about me. I am about the story. I’m standing around the corner, pretending to be Rod Serling. (Wikipedia, kids.)

Riley Mansfield (The Audacity of Dope) is a son of my father, as are Frankie Mansfield (The Intangibles) and Barrie Jarman (Lightning in a Bottle). In only one of those cases did I realize it while I was writing. Hal Kinley (Forgive Us Our Trespasses) is kind of a cross between me and him.

If my father’s goal was to live on in me, he succeeded. It’s a mixed blessing.

My father was by no means from the wrong side of the tracks, but he preferred to be. He enjoyed seeing the high and mighty chopped down to size. Me, too. It was the perfect reason to become a journalist.

He could be his own worst enemy. So can I.

I can’t speak for every boy. I suspect, though, that many harbor a deep determination, at some point in the adolescent years, to escape the old man’s shadow. I expect it’s hard for them all. It’s impossible for me. He gave his nature and nurtured it. That’s a tough team to beat.

My father was larger than life, and what I learned is that people who are larger than life often have both magnificent virtues and devastating vices.

I try to stay relatively clear of the wreckage by writing about it, not participating. I’ve seen enough to fake it.

 

(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.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(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).

So Damned Much Is Senseless

Seaside, Oregon (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 9:56 a.m.

I don’t know what to write. I’m just trying because I find it therapeutic. When nothing makes sense, and I need it to, I just write. With a little luck, it turns into a blog. Either that, or I play guitar a while. The point at which I start writing in earnest – on a fiction project, for instance – is typically the culmination of coffee, social media, breakfast, watching the news, and checking the latest sales figures.

By Monte Dutton

Sometimes, though, the world gets in the way. Bad news seems extra stark in the morning. The TV screen fills up: A CBS News Special Report! I’m lucky. The best possible person to deliver bad news is Charlie Rose.

Five people, one of whom is the Majority Whip of the United States House of Representatives, were shot this morning while practicing for a Congressional baseball game. A baseball game! A shooting at ball practice is some kind of cosmic statement, a perfect allegory of what life has become. It doesn’t matter whether one thinks the solution is reducing arms or increasing them. Both sides know that things are seriously screwed up. America is going to hell. A broad distance stretches out to the horizon as to the reasons why.

Nothing seems real. Not politics. Not sports. In the short run, violence makes me numb. The Red Sox have won dramatically in extra innings two straight nights. That magic went up in a hail of fire.

The Warriors won the NBA. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup. The Tigers went to the White House. Jeff Sessions went back to the Senate. I went to Bi-Lo. Coffee was on sale.

Whoop-dee-doo.

I think I’m going to edit today. I doubt I’m going to be able to conjure something new. I can be meticulous. Probably not creative.

The Washington Monument (Monte Dutton photo)

Too many of these incidents crop up in life. The memories may subside a bit, but they don’t go away. I was five when President Kennedy was assassinated. Some of those memories are the basis of the first chapter in my second novel, The Intangibles. Much of the chapter I invented, but it spread out from the JFK memories.

I was watching on TV when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald. I awakened to news of Sirhan Sirhan murdering Robert Kennedy. I was riding around Laurens with my father when Arthur Bremer shot George Wallace. I was sitting on a couch in the Presbyterian College sports information office when the Challenger exploded. I watched 9/11 unfold here, in my living room, where I am sitting now.

At the moment, CBS News looks like an old Clint Eastwood movie.

 

 

(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.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(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).

 

Mothers by the Numbers

Ella, my niece, and Betty, my mother. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, June 4, 2017, 10:13 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

Age is mathematical.

If I heard someone say that on TV, I would make fun of it.

Duh.

The appropriate response from the imaginary person on TV?

D’oh!

Of course.

I just got through watching a CBS This Morning piece on Norman Lear, Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke, all in their nineties. Reiner, the creative force behind The Dick Van Dyke Show, is 95. The star of that sixties sitcom is 91. I was thinking, fifty years ago, the four-year gap probably made a difference. Today, Van Dyke is 95.79 percent the age of Reiner. They are approximately the same. All you have to do is round it up.

Today my niece is throwing a surprise birthday party for my mother. (There will be a delay in posting this for security reasons.)

Before I was born, my mother was infinitely older than I. When I graduated from high school, she was twice as old. As of Tuesday, her actual birthday, I will be 76.62 percent as old.

I think this is eternally true. When my mother was twice my age, we related to each other half as much. Betty Jean Davis Dutton has always been a guiding force. Now we are close friends, each of our lives lessened if we don’t talk on the phone every day. We agree on most things. We laugh at each other’s jokes. We have been similarly toughened by the slings and arrows of life.

A force for peace the likes of which my world has never known landed on June 6.

Exactly four years later came something called D-Day.

 

 

(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.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(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).

 

 

 

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 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.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(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).

 

 

 

Another Stupid Blog about Me

The view from here. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, May 15, 2017, 9:36 a.m.

In the slug above, originally the time was 7:48. Then 8:39. Then 9:07.

I used to write blogs as a means of working my way into a mood conducive to writing fiction. Now I go straight to fiction (as opposed to video) because I can’t come up with a decent blog.

By Monte Dutton

This is not at all bad. It’s just different.

I haven’t written as many blogs lately because my life has grown boring even to me.

I’m sure you will be crestfallen at not hearing of a delicious brunch with my mother and sister. Surely no more than 100 million people did anything like that on Mother’s Day. I didn’t even think to take pictures.

The Red Sox lost. I wrote a chapter. I finished reading a book. I started another.

My whole life seems the same: run by Donald J. Trump.

I’ve got a doctor’s appointment today. I expect to be taken to task. I have no idea how much I weigh. My pants haven’t tightened, but I bet I don’t weigh less than I did three months ago. I lack motivation. I’m not clinically depressed. I’m depressed for a damned good reason.

I’m slogging ahead, damn the torpedos, not to mention the likely loss of health insurance.

I’ve got a novel that is about 85 percent finished, but I set it aside to finish the new stock car racing novel, Lightning in a Bottle, and I haven’t been up to diving back into it. Instead, I’ve written 10 chapters on another novel. The former project is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the latter Life Gets Complicated. When the titles are published, they’ll get italics.

So what has this blog achieved? How is it an example of anything save self-absorption? What sets it apart from social-media promotions of babies, pets, casseroles … and me. Not just me. All the other me’s.

I made light of Mother’s Day. Then spent a paragraph commiserating health. This was not something you need to know. Besides, I feel all right.

What I’m feeling is a little sorry for myself, and this encourages the ridiculous notion that anyone else cares about my problems.

Besides, everyone knows the solution to all problems, mine and yours, is for you to buy my books.

(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.

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(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).

 

 

 

Little Things Mean … a Little

I chose this sketch because it reminds me that I haven’t played my song “Scuppernongs and Muscadines” lately. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, May 4, 2017, 9:49 a.m.

The world has changed in significant ways across the span of my lifetime.

Today I’ve decided to write about the insignificant ways. Significance is too intimidating for this day.

By Monte Dutton

No one whose cell has service needs “whatever happened to …?” stories anymore. Just yesterday I looked up Claude Osteen. He is, among other things, 77 years old. Among others I looked up were Marion Davies, Norma Shearer, and the 2001 movie The Cat’s Meow. Davies and Shearer are quite a bit less alive than the oft-overlooked southpaw.

The word “myriad” has changed from mostly a noun to mostly a verb. Once it was “a myriad of options.” Now it is “myriad options,” which is an improvement in the name of brevity on first look, as a preposition can be tossed aside, but “myriad” as a noun makes “options,” uh, optional.

Pets are worshiped where once they were merely beloved.

Many are so busy writing that they have no time to read. Once this might have been deemed counterproductive. The craft of writing slowly deteriorates because it has no underpinnings.

The seeming ignorance of history is more correlated to lack of interest than absence of teaching. A widespread belief is that nothing counts if the individual hasn’t experienced it. No one played basketball before LeBron James. No one played Longfellow Deeds before Adam Sandler.

I like sports. I like politics. I don’t like people who treat politics as if it were sports. It’s not.

Jesus did not get mean. Nor did His teachings. It only seems that way based on the way They are selectively disseminated.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

I exist in the way of history. I write more and more for people who read less and less. The latest novel is about stock car racing. I find myself bidding for larger pieces of smaller pies.

The more I think about it, the more things are stupid.

A liberal arts education made me adaptable and conversant in many topics. Ultimately, though, it provided no greater options. It feels strange, at this age, to realize I’m down to one way in the whole world to make a living.

Write. Just write. Don’t worry. Just write. Do what you can do. Write. Surely, at some point, it’s going to take off. Write.

(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.

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).

 

 

The World Gets a Little Larger When the Modem Dies

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, March 24, 2017, 9:45 a.m.

(Monte Dutton sketch)

On Tuesday night, I was having a lovely time sitting around in a circle, taking turns with others, playing guitar – most of the others could pick one – and singing while a fearsome storm raged outside. I was in a barn. There were refreshments.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch – honest to gosh, my dad called it the 6D Ranch when I was growing up; we even had a brand for our cattle – something in the weather, or the electricity, killed a modem. The dead modem is now in its casket, a cardboard box, ready to be shipped back to its loved ones.

A moment of silence, please. … Amen.

By Monte Dutton (John Clark photo)

As the 11 o’clock sportscaster might say, “In an upset,” it wasn’t hard to get AT&T to send me a new modem. No lights came on, let alone, blinked. The patient wasn’t responsive. Resuscitation was futile. A nice lady whose voice I occasionally understood promptly shipped me a new one that is “even better!” and it arrived in the purple and orange of Clemson and FedEx at about 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Of course, I couldn’t get it to work, but, rather than take drastic measures, I just let it be until this morning, and, miraculously, all the lights were on, and a click on this trusty Toshiba revealed “Internet Access.” For the past two days, I have maintained contact with the outside world by antiquated means – television and telephone – and used the cell signal to post on social media and check my book sales.

(This blog has not been posted until, presumably, now, because the wi-fi subsequently went out again.)

I know at least one NASCAR reporter who might be able to swing it, but the remainder of my life is too short to try to write more than a graph by pecking away at a phone. I won’t rule it out if I’m pinned down in a thunderstorm, sitting in the parking lot of a high-school football stadium, closing in on deadline and armed with the nervous tension that accompanies such crises.

In a way, it was timely. I just finished a book. I should have the cover design shortly. After cranking all this out, I needed a break, anyway.

There the Lord goes again, working in His mysterious ways.

Last night Gonzaga’s escape over West Virginia was all that managed to command my attention. I mainly read Dashiell Hammett during the other games. NASCAR practice from Fontana, California, begins at 1:30. I expect I’ll watch Baylor play South Carolina tonight.

The new novel is called Lightning in a Bottle. I’ll let you know about it directly.

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

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

(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.

(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 latest 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).