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. “A  lot  of  fun  stuff,”  he  says. 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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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

The plot?
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.

Carl Addison Swanson

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. 

(Pig In A Poke is available at amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. The author’s website is carladdisonswanson.com

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 dwoog@optonline.net


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