Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, July 29, 2016, 10:42 a.m.
I haven’t quoted Tom T. Hall in a while. A week or two, anyway. Don’t be alarmed. I quote him when I’m playing my guitar, too.
The dogs are running own in Memphis / And them nags are running in L.A. / I’m stuck in Spokane in a motel room / And there ain’t no way to get away.
I don’t know what I’m doing here / I could be somewhere else / Like in Atlanta, drinking wine, wine, wine / I don’t know what I’m doing here / I should be somewhere else / Like in Kentucky drinking shine, shine, shine.
The name of that song is “Spokane Motel Blues.” I’ve never been to Spokane, but I know the feeling. I even get it here at the house, especially when I’m trying to squeeze in as much as possible before the pace quickens at minimum and a deluge sweeps me away at max.
As of today, I hope to write a Chapter 6 to fit in between the fifth and seventh I wrote yesterday. This isn’t common. I don’t write my novels in random order just for kicks. It’s complicated. I split an episode in two and decided the comedy, and a bit of drama, would be enhanced by fitting a change of venue in between.
I’ve submitted the new western, Cowboys Come Home, for publication, and resubmitted it again this morning because I screwed up downloading the manuscript the first time. I’m not sure whether italics are proper before there is a publishing deal, but I italicized because it would look like a typo if I didn’t. That’s my best rationalization of the day so far.
Football has started even as I write. The Clinton Red Devils hit the field this morning at 8, and the Laurens Raiders followed promptly at 9, a dozen miles away. Last night on Twitter, I read of some schools that began practice at midnight. Basketball teams started doing that at least 30 years ago, though not on the 29th of July.*
They don’t allow no foolishness like that around here.
I’ll likely pay them both a visit on Monday. Once they start scrimmaging other schools, at the end of next week, I’m going to write about at least a couple. I’ve got preseason features and season forecasts and jamborees and county championships, and don’t even get me started about the Presbyterian College Blue Hose.
Or the photos I have to take.
It’s about time for me to start comparing schedules. I need to start compiling a Who’s Who in Laurens County Football 2016. (This is not formal. I’m not really making a list and checking it twice, but I do plan on filing away who’s naughty and who’s nice.)
I’ll work on thoughtful questions to pose to Chris Liner, Harold Nichols and Andrew Webb. (Notice how I listed the schools and coaches in alphabetical order.) Questions like:
“Who is that Number 21 again?”
“What exactly is a Stomp-Down Good’Un?”
“On a scale of 1-10, just how super a kid is he?”
“Did you just say he can literally fly? It might be worth a separate story.”
One of my favorite observations is watching a high-school athlete, when he reaches the point where he remembers that Coach wants him to be humble.
“I just took the pitch from P.K., and I kinda juked that boy, and then, phew, I was gone!”
The body language changes. He pauses. He takes a breath.
“Uh, I couldn’t have scored if it wasn’t for my teammates blocking for me. And Coach, he called a good play. All I done was tote the football.”
The teams hope they have winning records and make the playoffs. I hope I can go an entire season without once placing my all-purpose phone in front of a coach’s mouth and saying, “Talk about the game.”
I’m better than that. I always have been. Whose idea was it to try that onsides kick? What made you think that option pass would work? How did you motivate the kids when the team trailed by two touchdowns at the half? Where in the heck is Rakevious Johnson?
As best I know now, without perusing the rosters, there is no Rakevious Johnson, but, even so, the most common question not to be posed to a coach but, rather, to one of the radio broadcasters in the press box, would be:
“Hey, how you spell that?”
*Laurens Academy also fields a football team, but, as of yet, I have no assignments there. No disrespect to the Crusaders. Respect to the righteous bucks.
Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?
Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.
Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.
The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.
The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.
Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.
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