Dead End


It says a lot about me that the local cemeteries are my favorite place in Batavia. As a kid I spent many summer days, alone, riding my bike over to the cemeteries, and the industrial ruins that sit like a wedge dividing our town into a North & South side. I don’t know why, but it has always drawn me to it. I’d walk the rows of headstones, and read the names and dates, and wonder about the history and the lives that went before. The three cemeteries on Harvester Avenue, are among the most sylvan, and shady spots in town, and I have always felt at peace there. Maudlin children, and Gothic kids everywhere can sympathize, but sometimes life was easier among the dead, than it was among the living.

This past Sunday, I drove over to the cemetery to pay a visit to Dad’s grave, and ended up wandering those shady lanes for an hour, alone, looking for something that I felt like I lost once. It was still there. The emptiness, the peace, the silence.

When I started this blog in 2009, I felt like I had so much to say, and so many stories to share. Now, in the summer of my 44th year, I find myself returning again, and again, to the same places, only to find that the words I have already written about them, sum them up so well I have little left to say.

So I’m saying goodbye. Again.

I’ll still be working to publish the book of historical fiction based upon the E.N. Rowell murder from 1883, and once that is complete, I will most likely move onto compiling the stories, fragments, and memories that I have written here, into some sort of cohesive whole that I also hope to publish. Thank you for all the time you’ve spent reading 20 Prospect, and stopping by the front porch to chat. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

So I leave these words like footprints, pressed into cement, and recorded for posterity. May they someday inspire another introverted child to pick up a pen, and go exploring.

42 thoughts on “Dead End

  1. WHAT?!?!?!
    Oh no you don’t! You are under contract to the Internet sir, and she is a cruel mistress. You can do this willingly or there is always the “handcuffs and radiator” option.
    Silly man. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

  2. Ok, seriously now…
    I see this whole blogging thing as an ebb and flow type of situation. Sometimes I have something fairly stupid to report, other times I just vomit out terrible words strung flimsily together. Most times I just sit and worry about the number of editors that would take a coronary after reading some of my crap.
    Regardless of all that, I still manage to eek out a few posts a year . Wait, do I actually? I need to go back and count.

    • Wait, you still blog?

      I feel bad about quitting. I’ve only ever quit two things in my life. Guitar Lessons and Typing Class. Still kick myself about the guitar thing, but I was a hopeless cause. And the typing class was dragging down my GPA, which was putting my shot at Valedictorian in jeopardy. In the end, I finished second as Salutatorian, to the illustrious Bella’s Valedictorian. I still kicked her butt on the SAT’s though. And Trivial pursuit. (Jesus wept!)

        • Wait, the game of Life or regular life? Since we were talking Trivial Pursuit I thought I’d verify. I still love the multicolored cheese wedges in the pie. It’s like an information trophy of win.

          • Every time I played the game of Life I’d end up with so many kids that I’d have to stack them sideways to carry them in the car. We must have had the Catholic edition.

        • Pfft! Trust me, when our biographers write our lives yours is the one that will be a best seller, and get made into a movie.

          • Please be my biographer. I wouldn’t trust anyone else! And I never knew how to end the game of life. I’d just keep driving around in that stupid car, with the kids, lost and spinning that clattity wheel and never knowing how to end the game….hmm….i sense a metaphor here.

  3. Thanks for all the kind thoughts and sentiments folks. It’s doing wonders for my ego. Please, keep telling me how sad you are about this. I don’t care if you need to lie.

    Also, I am not quitting the internet. I’ll still post snarky comments on other blogs. So it’s not really goodbye.

  4. HOORAY FOR CAPTAIN SPAULDING
    From the film “Animal Crackers” (1930)
    (Bert Kalmar / Harry Ruby)
    Groucho Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont & Chorus

    (All)
    At last we are to meet him,
    The famous Captain Spaulding.
    From climates hot and scalding,
    The Captain has arrived.

    Most heartily we’ll greet him,
    With plain and fancy cheering.
    Until he’s hard of hearing.
    The Captain has arrived.
    At last – The Captain has arrived.

    (Hives)
    Mr. Horatio W. Jamison, Field Secretary to Captain Spaulding.

    (Jamison)
    I represent the Captain who insists on my informing you of these conditions under
    which he camps here.
    In one thing he is very strict, he wants his women young and picked and as for men,
    he won’t have any tramps here.

    (All)
    As for men he won’t have any tramps here,
    There must be no tramps.

    (Jamison)
    The men must all be very old,
    The women warm, the champagne cold.
    It’s under these conditions that he camps here.

    (Voice off Screen)
    I’m announcing Captain Jeffery Spaulding.

    (All)
    He’s announcing Captain Jeffery Spaulding,

    Oh dear, he is coming,
    At last he’s here.

    (Spaulding)
    Hello, I must be going,
    I cannot stay, I came to say, I must be going.
    I’m glad I came, but just the same I must be going.
    La La.

    (Mrs. Rittenhouse)
    For my sake you must stay.
    If you should go away,
    You’d spoil this party I am throwing.

    (Spaulding)
    I’ll stay a week or two,
    I’ll stay the summer thru,
    But I am telling you,
    I must be going.

    (All)
    Before you go,
    Will you oblige us,
    And tell us of your deeds so glowing?

    (Spaulding)
    I’ll do anything you say,
    In fact I’ll even stay!

    (All)
    Good!

    (Spaulding)
    But I must be going.

    (Jamison)
    There’s something that I’d like to say,
    That he’s too modest to relay.
    The Captain is a moral man.
    Sometimes he finds it trying.

    (Spaulding)
    This fact I emphasize with stress,
    I never take a drink unless – Somebody’s buying.

    (All)
    The Captain is a very moral man.

    (Jamison)
    If he hears anything obscene, He’ll naturally repel it.

    (Spaulding)
    I hate a dirty joke I do,
    Unless it’s told by someone who –
    Knows how to tell it.

    (All)
    The Captain is a very moral man.
    Hooray for Captain Spaulding, The African explorer.

    (Spaulding)
    Did someone call me Shnorrer?

    (All)
    Hooray, Hooray, Hooray.

    (Jamison)
    He went into the jungle where all the monkeys throw nuts.

    (Spaulding)
    If I stay here I’ll go nuts.

    (All)
    Hooray, Hooray, Hooray.
    He put all his reliance, In courage and defiance,
    And risked his life for science.

    (Spaulding)
    Hey, hey.

    (Mrs. Rittenhouse)
    You are the only white man to cover every acre.

    (Spaulding)
    I think I’ll try and make her.

    (All)
    Hooray, Hooray, Hooray.
    He put all his reliance, In courage and defiance,
    And risked his life for science.

    (Spaulding)
    Hey, hey.

    (All)
    Hooray for Captain Spaulding, The African explorer.
    He brought his name undying fame
    And that is why we say, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray.

    (Spaulding attempts to speak)
    My friends, I am highly gratified at this magnificent display of effusion and I want
    you to know………

    (All)
    Hooray for Captain Spaulding, The African explorer.
    He brought his name undying fame
    And that is why we say, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray.

    (Spaulding)
    My friends, I am highly gratified at this magnificent display of effusion and I want
    you to know………

    Hooray for Captain Spaulding, The African big hero…..

  5. I’m not done talking about this yet. This is the part where the nun grabs you by your shirt collar, spins you around and continues to lecture even though you thought she couldn’t possibly have more ammunition to riddle your soul with bullets.

  6. I finally reach out to you (again) to find out what the address of your blog is and now 2 weeks later you’re quitting. What the hell? Good thing is that I have 3 years of reading to do so by the time I finish it you should be writing again. Heading up to the UP tomorrow. I’ll say hi for you.

    • What the hell? If you’d have started when I asked you then you’d be up to speed. Now you have to wait for the book.

      PS Have a Pasty for me!

  7. Unbelievable, unthinkable, outrageous! I found this blog a couple of years ago and it has been, for me, a safe harbor in the storm of internet nonsense. I have similar roots in upstate NY., Finger Lakes and Elmira area, and I just got back there last week. The nostalgia that imbues your writing is real and represents the truth of a real sense of place for many people. People recognize truth when they see it and truth lives here in your blog and writing, recognizable by those of us who lived it. Funny how 1980 was more than 30 years ago. Who knew it would happen to us?
    You really should keep musing here, because you’re not just doing it for yourself, whether you know it or not.

  8. Hmm… And there I was thinking, I haven’t paid Tom a visit since I myself got tired of blogging. I’ll bet he’s written some good stuff.

    So you might be surprised. It might be just a break. You might find you have a new theme. Plus, as a published write, you’ll be expected to build and maintain “platform.” So I will NOT say, “Good bye;” rather, I say, “Au revoir.”

  9. What the f? Nobody told me that you’ve killed the series. Sports Night. Homicide. Community. You’d better bring it back soon otherwise Imma come and kick your behind.

    on the other hand, good luck with the book and everything. It does require a lot of focus, not to mention time. I can see how we could be huge distractions. Just when you hit it big, don’t forget to mention your fans.

  10. Well, I kept thinking about this, and I thought I’d offer one last bit. Let me call this advice with imaginary quotes around “advice,” for I claim no authoritative rank. I appeal only to your reason.

    The way it looks to me is that 20 Prospect was a book, and you finished it. Congratulations! It was a GREAT book.

    Now it is time to breathe, and by “breathe,” I mean do stuff like ride a motorcycle to Vancouver, or build a boat, or whatever it is you do when you need to really gather your energy again.

    When you do that, probably while doing that, you will rather suddenly be ready for the next book.

    Me, I did that. Finally, I ended up starting an very pure, absolutely minimal art blog. It has mainly pictures limited to about 200 characters of commentary. Within two days, to my great surprise, it was vastly more popular than my first blog, and it is hardly any work at all to maintain. I love it.

    Comments are turned off. People can only reach me via email, and I do respond, usually right away, so I have kept my contacts. But really, I’m out and about all day working my ass off and promoting myself in the local scene, face to face. The point is, by taking a breather and reassessing, I found that I still did want a blog, but I wanted it to work for me.

    I wish you all success,
    Rick

    • Great advice Richard, and thanks for the kind words. I’m sure once I’ve had time to recharge, I’ll be back in some form. Writing is just something I can’t help but do.

  11. I just found your blog too! I was hoping we could connect because we are working on similar writing projects.

    I do not have a platform yet. I’m working really hard on finishing my the first draft of my novel. I’m working on Chapter 25 today. I have 4 to 5 chapters to go.

    I hope you check into your blog on occasion.

    Sue

  12. Hey. Here’s me still refusing to acknowledge that this is in any way, shape or form over. Even temporarily. Like that psychotic friend who you ask for a break but they still pound on your door over and over again. Yeah, I’m like that person.

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