100% of the profits from "Double Parked in the Twilight Zone" will be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project
In the 06880 Blog on Saturday, July 6, 2013
Woog's World: Carl Addison Swanson
Where Westport meets the world
Double Parked In The Twilight Zone
Posted on July 6, 2013 | 10 Comments
Carl Addison Swanson is many things. He’s a Staples graduate. A lawyer who spent decades in Texas, before returning
to Westport several years ago. A frequent contributor to the “06880′′ comments section.
He’s also an author. His Hush McCormick series has done enormously well, thanks to social media marketing. But in his latest book, Carl steps away from the “boat bum adventure” genre.
Double Parked in the Twilight Zone: Summer of 1960 is set in Westport. The protagonist, Justin Carmichael — and yes, that’s the name of a 1988 Staples grad, though the similarity ends there — graduates from Bedford Elementary School during that 1960 year.
Suffice it to say, Justin has a very interesting summer.
Carl is a Bedford El grad. (It’s now Town Hall. Carl remembers it well — including the basement, where the Westport Community Theater has replaced civil defense drills of yore.)
“Reaching 65 years of age in February made me aware that I suddenly wanted to talk about my life some more,” Carl says. His return to Westport sparked many memories, some of which he mines in Twilight Zone. (Note the subtle homage to Rod Serling, who lived in Westport when Carl was at Bedford.)
So is this book autobiographical?
“In a sense, all writing is about your life and experiences,” he says. “The summer of 1960 was particularly intereseting to me, because a lot happened.”
For instance, Carl started playing golf at Longshore. His Little League team went to the town championship. He went steady with a girl for the first time.
Though Carl has a satirical streak, this is hardly satire. It is, he says, “a critique on the town back then, through my eyes.”
Westport was a great place to grow up, Carl says — “especially back in the ‘Wonder Years’ of the 1950s and ’60s. There was plenty to do, and a lot more freedom to do so.”
But there were not, he says, “as many adult eyes around as there are today.”
So why the title?
“I was pretty much of a goofball back then,” Carl says. “I got into a lot of trouble.
“I was also scared to death to walk by the Famous Artists School for fear of Rod Serling coming out. It was a terrifying television show.”
But a great title, half a century later.
(Double Parked in the Twilight Zone and Carl’s other books are available at Amazon (click here) and on Kindle. All proceeds from his latest book go the Wounded Warrior Project. His website is www.carladdisonswanson.com.)
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10 RESPONSES TO DOUBLE PARKED IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE
Eric William Buchroeder | July 6, 2013 at 6:05 am | Reply I’m buying a copy as FAST as I possibly can. This is going to be SOME READ!!!!!
Melinda White | July 6, 2013 at 6:46 am | Reply
Thank you for the recommendation, dear Dan. I’m a fan of Carl Addison Swanson, and I would recommend all his books to everyone.
Tom Allen '66 | July 6, 2013 at 9:58 am | Reply
All of the profits from CAS’s book will go to the Wounded Warrior Project http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/. CAS, who crewed US Navy spy planes during his 6-year military stint, is a Vietnam vet.
Fred Cantor | July 6, 2013 at 10:00 am | Reply
I read this and highly recommend it–a perfect book for beach reading– and you don’t have to be a Westporter from that era to enjoy it. There are many universal elements to this sharply observed coming-of-age story and it will not surprise me to soon read in the “Hollywood Reporter” that this has been optioned by a movie producer. (By the way, I have never met Carl, although I hope to do so at the upcoming 06880 party.)
Jack Backiel | July 6, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Reply
I grew up in Westport in the 1950s and early 1960s and Carl is “spot on” when he says Westport was a great town to grow up in during that time frame. It was just our hometown, but looking back, it’s amazing how many famous people lived there. I have a list of about 100 famous people who lived in Westport. Rodney Dangerfield, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Kirk Douglas,Harry Reasoner from 60 Minutes,George Gershwin, J.D. Salanger, and Rod Serling just to name a few, called Westport their home.
Mike Petrino | July 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Reply
The Dude offers always an honest and insightful view of Westport. He cuts through much of the pretense when he does so. He also plays a pretty good game of golf.
Jo Ann Miller | July 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Reply
I live with the “goofball” so I am biased but editing this book made me really think of my young days and many of our sensitivities. Moving to the first person narrative was a good choice as well. Good read. Great charity.
Patricia Driscoll | July 6, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Reply
Ordered my copy yesterday. Looking forward to Carl’s take on Westport in 1960, particularly because I was in his Bedford El class. It’s great that Carl is donating the profits to the WWP.
cathy smith barnett '66 | July 7, 2013 at 11:52 am | Reply
I’m looking forward to reading Carl’s book. I’m sure his reflections on Westport will bring back some memories. Maybe I’ll learn something new because when I was growing up in Westport I was probably in the twilight zone myself.
Joanne Avery | July 8, 2013 at 12:24 am | Reply
Just bought the book. Can’t wait to read it! Also bought the latest Hush McCormick. The Coraline Theme.
In the Wesport News on Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Woog's World: Carl Addison Swanson
Carl Addison Swanson is an avid reader of — and commentator on — “06880.” He is a longtime Westport resident, a keen observer of the town he loves, and a writer. His most recent novel in the famed Hush McCormick series has just been released.
Pig in A Poke is your 3rd book in 3 years. How do you do it?
Out of necessity. It costs a lot of live in Westport.
What does “pig in a poke” actually mean?
It’s an English phrase dating back to the 17th century. They tried to trick you with dog or cat meat, when you thought you were buying ham. In my context it means “watch your ass.” You can never be sure of what you’re
All-American high school athlete is found guilty of date rape. With the help of Hush, he runs from the law. The FBI, NSA, Mafia and bail bondsmen attempt to track him down.
Your protagonist, Hush McCormick, helps people disappear. What’s with that?
He’s a boat bum who likes to help people.
Your alter ego?
The bum part.
All your books start out in Connecticut, but never Westport.
My next book, Double Parked in the Twilight Zone, will be set in Westport in the summer of 1960.
Will Westporters like it?
If they liked Westport in 1960.
You think it’s different now?
The blueprint is very much the same. A buddy once told me that the world is made up of 90% assholes, and the key is to find the 10%. There are still a lot of the 10 per cent here. Far more than other places.
So Hush is retired, and you’re writing a memoir?
You need to read Poke to find that out. But Hush is very tired. I need a new voice.
Some suspect you are the infamous “The Dude Abides” on this blog.
I am much better looking.
In the Wesport News on Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Woog's World: Two kinds of Westporter, and one's not kind
Carl Swanson is a keen observer of behavior -- particularly the Westport kind. A graduate of Staples High School who returned here several years ago, he knows the town well. He appreciates its beauty, the people in it, its history and richness (the non-material type).
But having spent plenty of time away, Carl's also got a keen, objective eye. He notices our quirks, catches our foibles. He sees the good, the bad and the ugly -- and every behavior in between.
Occasionally, Carl sends along some thoughts. A few weeks ago, he noted there were plenty of ways to be "cool" and kind in Westport. Here they are -- with some "Woog's World" comments on each.
For example, Carl said, you can pick up trash on your regular walks up and down your road. And, when you pass someone on the sidewalk or street, you can say "hello" -- even if you don't know him or her.
You can give "Tim or Debbie" a hug at Stop & Shop after they bag your groceries. (This works for most other stores too, of course.)
You can go to a Staples sporting event, even though your own child graduated years ago. In fact, you might find games a lot more fun if you don't have to agonize every time the ball comes near your kid. You could also go to a Staples play or concert, even without any connection to the school. Trust us: You'll be very impressed.
You can wave to police officers and firefighters as they pass you on the road. (Not a good idea if their sirens are blaring and they're moving at excessive rates of speed.) It wouldn't hurt to wave to other drivers too -- particularly if they're waiting to merge into traffic from a parking lot or side street. It's counterintuitive around here to let the other guy go first, but the cost -- a few seconds of your time -- is far outweighed by the stunned surprise you'll see.)
On the other hand, Carl knows rude behavior when he sees it. And he does not have to look far.
You know you're a rude Westporter, Carl says, when you steal your neighbor's newspaper every morning, because you know he catches a later train and, well, it's just sitting there.
You're a rude Westporter if you think the most expensive car at a four-way stop has the right of way. (See three paragraphs above.)
Also noted above: grocery checkout line behavior. No, it's not okay to stand in the "express lane 10 items only" -- with "just" 12, or 14, or 20. And no, you should not put the cashier in an awkward position by asking if it's okay with him or her. Those of us with actual express items are the ones it's not okay with.
Rude Westporters also program their computers to flood Longshore's automated golf tee time program, in order to get a good Saturday morning slot. That's the reason you see the same golfers, week after week, on the course at the most favorite times.
Carl is also no fan of folks who fake like they're picking up their dog droppings at Compo Beach, and instead just kick sand over it. That actually crosses the line in the sand between "pretty rude" and "grotesquely gross."
Then there are the bicyclists, on major thoroughfares like Cross Highway, who bike three across. Ruder still, they yell obscenities at anyone who beeps gently as they try to pass.
Rude too are the Westporters who stand in line -- at the bank, post office, wherever -- yapping on their cell phones while some poor teller or clerk tries to conduct business. Yes, we can hear your conversation. No, we don't care about your upcoming weekend trip to Nantucket, or last week's dinner in the city. In fact, the louder and more insistently you talk, the bigger jerk we think you are.
Most Westporters fall into Carl's first category -- the good guys (and girls). Most of us do the right thing most of the time -- or try to. Occasionally we fail. (I don't wave at cops a lot, but I do give the one-fingered salute to drivers more than I should.)
The number of Westporters who act rude willfully all the time -- because of bad upbringing, anger management issues or just a lousy life -- is, thankfully, low. But there are enough of them -- and their behavior is killing us. So we talk about them. And write newspaper columns about them.
A new school year is near, like the High Holy Days, signal a fresh beginning. It may be a little early for resolutions -- unless you're Jewish -- but why don't we all resolve to be the first kind of Carl's Westporters, not the second?
With an emphasis on the word "kind."
Dan Woog is a Westport writer. Read more from him during the week at www.westport-news.com. His personal blog is www.danwoog06880.com; his e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org