The Old Mongoose
David Scott Milton
I have always thought of myself as the Archie Moore of writing. For those who don’t remember Moore or never knew of him, he was light heavyweight world boxing champion (1952–1959 and 1961). Known as The Old Mongoose, he had one of boxing’s longest careers. He fought his last fight when he was 47. He holds the record for the most career knockouts, was ranked by Ring Magazine as one of the most devastating punchers of all time, and proclaimed by Box Rec to be the greatest boxer of all time.
I have been writing professionally for over fifty years. I started out writing pulp fiction for men’s magazines, “Dude”, “Gent”, “Adam.” I wrote under at least a dozen pseudonyms. My “premier” doppleganger was “Osgood Scott.” The publications in those days paid five cents a word; the stories ran 2500 words and there’d be times when I’d have five or six tales in one edition; often I wrote complete issues under different names. Most of the stories were hard-boiled cop tales with a good serving of soft sex, heaving breasts panting heroines, square-jawed heroes.
Since I considered myself a serious writer and was doing this only to survive, I made a compact with myself: I would never think at all about what I was going to write; I would never take more than two and half hours to write a story; and would not rewrite one word. The editor would call me on a Monday and give me a list of titles, “The Girl Who Knew What She Wanted”, “One Tough Cop”, “A Wild Tale of Murder”, etc. I’d get off the phone, turn to my Remington portable typewriter, and write away, story, after story, until I had fulfilled the order.
During this period I had begun to have my plays done at Theater Genesis on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Sam Shepard was having his first plays done there at the same time. At night I worked as a waiter in two well-known jazz clubs, The Five Spot and The Jazz Gallery. The two clubs, run by the inimitable Termini Brothers, Joe and Iggy, catered to a literary, music, and art crowd and I got to know writers Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Jack Micheline, artists Willem De Kooning, Larry Rivers, Grace Hartigan, jazz muscians Dizzy Gillespie (with whom I used to play chess between sets), Art Blakey, and John Coltrane, among others.
I was going along, living a pleasant, eventful, even adventurous existence. Things were comfortable-- between writing for the pulps and waiting on tables, I was earning good money; at Theater Genesis, I was getting some notice as a playwright—Shepard’s first play and mine opened within weeks of each other. I was busy, involved, struggling, but happy.
And then my life took a sharp and unexpected shift: as happens in the jazz world, temptation is always present; I had a contretemps with a pimp over his main squeeze; discretion being the better part of valor, I took my savings and got out of town, lit out for Mexico where I wrote my first novel, “The Quarterback.” It took me eight years to get it published; it taught me how necessary perseverance was for a writer; it taught me many things, but that’s a story for another time.
Why do I compare myself to Archie Moore, the Old Mongoose? I’ve gone on as a writer a long, long time. I’m shifty and tricky as the Mongoose was. Mongooses are known for their ability to kill venomous snakes, including cobras. I’m constantly fighting literary snakes, those who abuse writers, exploit or try to humiliate them, critics, agents, producers. I take my writing seriously and continue fighting the good fight for quality writing.
I keep throwing punches. I’ve had fine success with novels, screenplays, and plays. I’ve earned a living as a writer for all the years since the pulp days. I’ve been battered by the literary business as every writer has and yet I’ve managed to remain relatively unscarred. And nearing the end of my eighth decade I’m still throwing punches. When you read my latest novel, “Iron City”, I think you’ll agree that the Old Mongoose is still agile and immune to the venom of empty and superficial writing.
And so we’re off! I’m looking forward immensely to this tour. I believe Archie Moore, the original Old Mongoose, would wave a gloved hand in my direction and wish me well. We’ll touch on myriad things, life things, career things, craft ideas and problems, how to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity we have to express ourselves, how beauteous and rich the writers’ world is, how important and precious our craft is, how important it is to fulfill our talent and abilities.
Nov 1 Tour Launch
Nov 2 Guest Blog
Nov 3 Interview
Nov 6 Promo
Mad Moose Mama
Nov 7 Interview
Lisa’s World of Books
Nov 8 Guest blog
Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews
Nov 9 Guest Blog
Mama Knows Books
Nov 11 Guest Post and review
Nov 12 Guest Blog
For The Love of Reading!
Nov 15 promo and review
Lissette E. Manning
By David Scott Milton
Publisher: White Whisker Books
Date Published: September 1, 2011
Genre: Dark Mystery
Genre: Dark Mystery
Frank Kalinyak, disgraced ex-cop, returns to Pittsburgh, Pa., “Iron City”, his hometown, from Tucson where he has been living a desperate existence since the death of his young daughter. He has been summoned home by Bobby Mack, an Assistant D.A., to find out who murdered an old high school friend. Kalinyak is swept into a whirlpool of bizarre killings, religious fanaticism, church duplicity, hustlers, cops, junkies, old friends gone bad. Amid the fractured landscape of Iron City, rusting mills, rotting industry, he struggles to find sense in his life. Ultimately he must ask: who is he and can he survive?
“David Scott Milton can write like an angel… a writer hell bent on fulfilling the legacy of John Steinbeck, carrying on the tradition of James Jones and exploring his own heights.” -- Alabama Journal
About the Author:
David Scott Milton (born September 15, 1934) is an American author, playwright, screenwriter, and actor. His plays are known for their theatricality, wild humor, and poetic realism, while his novels and films are darker and more naturalistic. As a novelist, he has been compared to Graham Greene, John Steinbeck, and Nelson Algren. Ben Gazzara’s performance in Milton’s play, Duet, received a Tony nomination. Another play, Skin, won the Neil Simon Playwrights Award. His theater piece, Murderers Are My Life, was nominated as best one-man show by the Valley Theater League of Los Angeles. His second novel, Paradise Road, was given the Mark Twain Journal award “for significant contribution to American literature.
Learn more about David at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Scott_Milton
You Tube Video of David reading from Iron City http://youtu.be/U-ERnDTWhaA