Essays & other writing

Is there such a thing as autobiographical fiction

— On the relationship between made-up characters and characters based on real people.


How I became a newspaper man

— Working on a handmade hippie newspaper in the '70s.


At the White House

— Our visit to the White House for a reception celebrating the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. hate crimes bill.


Miss Pride

— Has the South changed or not?


Justice Delayed

— Commentary on the conviction of Edgar Ray Killen for manslaughter for the killing of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in 1964 and reminiscences of living in Mississippi at the time.



Tupelo of memory

— This essay was written for Reed's Gift Shop and Bookstore in Tupelo, Mississippi to be included with copies of my novel Until the Dawn. It is a memoir of growing up in Tupelo, one of the two settings for the novel.


Everything for Everybody

— life, love and marriage communal style in the 1970s.


A different room

— A story about my son Bill's first week in school



 — Adventures growing up as an identical twin



 — A mother in Olympia, a dying man in Los Angeles, a young hemophiliac

from Australia — Victims of personal tragedy find love, hope and family confronting their fears. Living in the Bonus Round - Music, suicide, healing broken spirits -- life and love on the Internet in the age of AIDS.


Writing in Faulkner's Shadow: Mississippi Writers Talking

— Writers Barry Hannah, Howard Bahr, Jes Simmons, Larry Johnson and Jack Butler comment on the influence of

William Faulkner, from Mississippi Arts & Letters, July/August 1985.



 — an essay on thoughts about the men who assaulted my son Bill.


Remembering New York

— my first few weeks in New York in 1973


Father an Son

Essay about why I quit painting.

Essays on Art

Portrait of the Artist as an Ageing Man - History and development of my painting, along with a little philosophy and personal history

I Dreamed a Dream of Painting

Essay about why I quit painting.


The case against wall fodder

— A rant against mediocrity


The challenge of abstraction

— The problem with "understanding" abstraction

Art  and Theater Reviews

To read my art and theater reviews go to my blog:   
South Sound Arts etc.

"For me, just one of the cool things about Alec's art critiques, is that he always notices something that got by me, and that surprises me (maybe even perplexes me a bit) because I think I am so observant. I think he just looks completely and openly from Alec's point of view 100%, no pretense, and that keeps what he thinks and has to say about the work, always interesting and unique." Read Alec's Visual Edge column every week in the Weekly Volcano - Paula Tutmarc-Johnson, Two Vaults Gallery


Visual Liberties
a novel

Freedom Trilogy Book Two

Molly Ashton is now a college student majoring in art. She is trying hard to grow up, find her way in the world, but it seems she does nothing but make bad choices ... until she makes friends with Francis Gossing.

Francis is Molly's only friend in college. He is socially awkward but an artistic genius, and he is haunted by a frightening vision of his mother and a man with a gun. He can’t tell if the vision he’s obsessed with is a memory or a nightmare from long ago.

Return to Freedom
a novel

Freedom Trilogy Book Two

When survivors of a hurricane move into a new condo in the little town of Freedom, Mississippi, a storm of another sort begins to brew.

Cover art by
Brian Patrick D Roche
Reunion at The Wetside
a novel


Romance blossoms at Barney's Pub between Alex, a leftwing Democrat, and Jim, a Libertarian-leaning
Republican - old friends from half a century ago.

Meantime, someone is killing off all the old drag queens, and Jim may be the only person who can catch
the killer

... if he doesn't become the next victim.
Reunion at The Wetside book cover
Cover art
Penelope G. Merrell

reviews, excerpts, ordering
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The Backside of Nowhere
a novel

Freedom Trilogy Book One

"Alec Clayton’s The Back Side of Nowhere is his best novel so far, and is a rollicking good read. It contains Hollywood pop gossip as well as downhome humor and veers from the ridiculous to the sublime, with strong characters and important social issues all subsumed into the plot. If you liked Clayton’s other novels you should grab this one immediately. It’s not just good but fun."

Larry Johnson, author of Veins

cover art by Glennray Tutor


The Wives of Marty Winters
a novel

"... a heartfelt tale ... pulses with vivid, authentic scenes and delicious moments."

Diane de la Paz, Weekly Volcano


Imprudent Zeal
a novel

“This book is the great circus train wreck that was America from the 1950s to the 1990s.

... A tour de force of autobiographical fiction.”

Lew Hamburg, The Olympian.

"... the mix of characters felt bone real" -Steven Schalchlin, musician/playwright, in a review on


Until the Dawn
a novel

"Stunning debut novel by a wise new voice in American fiction" -Dave Gantt, librarian, Washington, D.C., in a review on

"...a wonderfully guilty pleasure - Becky Hendrick, author of Getting It: a Guide to Understanding and Appreciating Art.

"...such fertile ground - Larry Johnson, Southern Quarterly.


As If Art Matters  essays and art reviews

 "Alec Clayton has opened my eyes to the art world. He writes intelligently about art without using overblown art jargon."  

Ron Swarner, editor, Weekly Volcano

reviews, excerpts, ordering
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My books are available at Orca Books in Olympia, WA, and online at

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