Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 11:22 a.m.
“My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.” – Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman), Blazing Saddles.
Today my mind is more of an intravenous placebo drip, and any cascading rivulets are probably a result of coffee and breakfast. While I use this blog as a musician plays “Chopsticks,” I’ve got a Russian agent negotiating with a crooked businessman in a Chapter 42.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
It just occurred to me that John Farrell got tossed in his final game as Boston Red Sox manager. The home-plate umpire fired him before the team did. Farrell wasn’t a great manager. He was reliable, though. He was stolid. He won back-to-back American League titles and a World Series in 2013. I’m a slow trigger on manager changes. I remember Bobby Valentine.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
When the Red Sox are done, by viewing habits change drastically. Until next April, I’ll be watching PBS and TCM more. I haven’t read enough lately. Even at my advanced age, the best way to learn writing is still reading.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
I spent last weekend at a NASCAR track. It was my second trip back to the sport to which I dedicated my career for 20 years. After covering a high school game on Friday night, I drove to and from Charlotte Motor Speedway through fierce weather. An Xfinity Series race scheduled for the day wasn’t run until night. The Monster Cup race went off, miraculously, as scheduled.
For four years, I stayed away, even though I watched most of the races on TV and wrote about many of them.
Last winter, I started missing it. I’d gone from roughly 500 races over 20 years to none at all over the next four. The immediate result was a novel, Lightning in a Bottle, about a bright, talented, impetuous, wild, mischievous, flawed young man who was my conception of what stock car racing needs.
I set aside the novel I’m finishing now. It remained on the back burner while I wrote a sequel, Life Gets Complicated, about Barrie Jarman. The sequel came too soon. Lots of readers haven’t had a chance to read the first one yet. On the other hand, it was in my mind. It was in there, and it had to come out.
The intervening time was good for the next one, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which has nothing to do with stock car racing. I’ve spent over a month editing (re-editing) the first thirty-nine chapters and shaving about 10,000 words. Now I’m writing a new ending, and I think it’s going to work well because it has been influenced by current events.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
I never thought so many of my friends would go soft on Russia. In fact, the ones who have are mainly the ones of whom I thought it least likely.
I almost wrote this entire blog on the subject of “whataboutistry.” Such a blog will happen.
Current affairs have enhanced my historical perspective. I understand fascists, Confederates, communists, and bullshit artists better.
As usual, this took way too much time.
If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Life Gets Complicated, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise). Or, just drop me a line and you can pay through PayPal.
I’ve written seven 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.
Life Gets Complicated follows Barrie Jarman as he moves up to FASCAR’s premier series. He and Angela Hughston face discrimination for their interracial love affair, and Barrie has to surmount unexpected obstacles that test his resolve.
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.
I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.
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.
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).
Write me at hutdut@email@example.com or “message” me through social media.