COMING in 2013! Author Jerry Newton is currently writing a memoir titled Tales of a Mountain Misfit, which EWH Press expects to publish in late 2013. We asked Jerry to write a bio and introduction to his memoir, and he sent us what you see below. Jerry’s gift for storytelling and his engaging prose have led some people over the years to compare him to Garrison Keillor. In addition to regaling the reader with entertaining stories about his fascinating life, Jerry has written a significant addition to the Americana of the 60′s and 70′s–a period in our country’s history filled with colorful characters and tumultuous cultural change.


Jerry NewtonBorn in 1946, in the mountains of Western NC, I have always considered myself good, poor white trash. Some might say a member of the great “unwashed”, but I think we bathed as much as the next family, albeit in a galvanized washtub snuggled up to a pot-bellied wood stove in winter which scorched half the body while other extremities suffered frost bite. My father died when I was seven and our little family of four survived on social security, welfare and whatever we could scratch out of an acre of land and the surrounding forest and stream.

Over the years, I have maintained an amateur status as far as professions go and have been underpaid for work as an artist, stonemason, teacher, actor, shitake mushroom farmer, and even a short stint as director of a chamber of commerce.



I like to think that what distinguished me from my peers was a high IQ; but not to worry readers—20 years of hard drinking and drugging knocked the edge off that fine instrument, so what I offer you is not erudite blather but old-fashioned storytelling.  These are the “Tales” of my life and time—my victories and defeats (often indistinguishable); my search for identity in terms of politics, religion and sex (not necessarily in that order); and an overriding awareness that all the strange encounters in my life are of my own choosing (although rarely on a conscious level).

I have included in my memoir a chapter about my brother who achieved more notoriety than me by changing his ‘profession’ from North Carolina Highway Patrolman to bank robber and even spent some less-than-quality time in the Charlotte, NC city jail with the celebrity guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (known later as Osho).

There is an old aphorism that goes “A life unexamined is not worth living,” but I also sense that a life over-analyzed is not worth reading about. So, enjoy! It’s just my story this time around.