Condolences.

I posted the following over at Prospero’s obit:

To Michael’s friends and family,

Michael’s passing poses a very 21st-century quandary: How to sincerely acknowledge the passing of someone I’d never met, couldn’t identify in a lineup and yet still feel I “know” — via his near-daily participation in the comments section of my blog.

In fact, it was his silence on the passing of Phil Everly that led one of our number to wonder why we hadn’t heard from him in a while. As he was one of the few who knew “Prospero’s” real name, he googled and got the bad news.

We knew Michael as amazingly intelligent, eccentrically knowledgeable and never boring. His interests, his passions and, of course, his colorful vocabulary — all set him apart from the rest of us mortals.

We who knew him at nancynall.com will miss him mightily. Please know you have our condolences, and best wishes for comfort.

I also plan to make a donation to his charity — Second Helpings of Hilton Head, S.C. — and if any of you are so inclined, I’m sure it would be appreciated.

If you’re just joining us, go check out the previous comments thread. Pros’ daughter and at least one other relative checked in to say thanks for the good wishes.

What a strange world we have constructed, where we are having a virtual wake for a virtual stranger, although someone we “know” via the internet and communicate with, or hear from, almost every day.

Perhaps more will be revealed. I hope so.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if I checked out suddenly. J.C. is in charge of the NN.c archive, and can do with it as he likes. Maybe there’s a book in these millions of words. Maybe there’s a new blogmaster or mistress who wants to wrangle the commenting community. At some point it won’t matter.

I have links, but I think I’ll save them for tomorrow. For now, the news of Prospero’s death cut short the Tonya Harding thread, and late in the day, a newcomer posted this comment, and it bears repeating:

What I recall, though, was how completely and utterly (Harding) reminded me of the people I knew who came from the same parts of Clackamas County she did. These were people who were just accidents waiting to happen, a deadly combination of barely-bright, poorly-educated, indisciplined-and-almost-undisciplinable shit magnets. “Bad stuff” just “happened” to them; car wrecks, arrests, lost jobs, lost husbands and wives. Tonya was a kind of patron saint for those people. She WAS them, just a little bigger, a little sparklier, a little better known.

Exactly.

You Jim Harrison fans might enjoy this:

Once I start, I very rarely change my mind about the nature of the story. And when I begin writing, it’s sound that guides me—language, not plot. Plot can be overrated. What I strive for more is rhythm. When you have the rhythm of a character, the novel becomes almost like a musical composition. It’s like taking dictation, when you’re really attuned to the rhythm of that voice.

You can’t go to it. It has to come to you. You have to find the voice of the character. Your own voice should be irrelevant in a novel. Bad novels are full of opinions, and the writer intruding, when you should leave it to your character.

I love Jim Harrison, but most of his characters sound very similar to one another, but oh well –he’s right about this.

Me, I have a big day Wednesday, and should prepare for it. Let’s all stay this side of the soil for one more, eh?

Posted at 12:30 am in Housekeeping |
 

66 responses to “Condolences.”

  1. Deborah said on January 8, 2014 at 2:11 am

    I’m pretty sure this is Prospero’s face book page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000200112663

  2. coozledad said on January 8, 2014 at 2:19 am

    Man, talk about your lowball offers!:
    http://gawker.com/roger-ailes-offered-staffer-an-extra-100-a-week-for-se-1496839598

    Goddamn cheapskate. That wouldn’t even cover the hip replacements.

  3. Dexter said on January 8, 2014 at 2:40 am

    Flattened. I take fourteen hours away from checking this blog and find that prospero/April Glaspie/MichaelJ / has left the world.
    Lately I felt that something was up…perhaps prospero had taken flight and was in Vienna for the holidays, but no, he would have said if he was traveling.
    Biking to the store, bags breaking open, beer bottles smashing, broken, and prospero venting here at the horrible drivers…all the hatred he felt at so many politicians and no-good bastards everywhere, and the friendship posts and the platitudes he sometimes heaped upon some of here, just out of the blue, even upon me a few times. prospero respected brianstouder so much; it showed, he told us. Many times he would rip nance badly, and nance allowed prospero to keep posting and never banned him. Soon prospero would calm down, then just as soon appear here with a poison pen, just ranting, writing disorientating blasts at whoever was on his mind, and it never stopped him when some of the faithful here told him to GO TO BED NIGHTY NIGHT NOW PROSPERO! He loved telling us about his early days in Detroit, he knew Motown throughout, he incorporated his feelings on the loss of his brother throughout his writings, much like Kerouac wove the theme of his brother Gerrard’s death through his writings, like a constant thought, not to be forgotten.
    Ah shit. Last year both my side and my wife’s side of our family suffered many losses, and many of my former co-workers and friends left. This one is right up there in terms of shock and sadness.

  4. Dexter said on January 8, 2014 at 2:58 am

    OMG…I just scrolled through about a third of caliban’s postings list, stopping every few hundred posts to take a peek. How that man loved to write on this blog.

  5. ROGirl said on January 8, 2014 at 6:25 am

    RE: Tonya vs. Nancy

    Who remembers any of the American ice skating princesses who have come and gone since then? OK, Kristi Yamaguchi, but anyone else? Tonya couldn’t transcend her origins, but she won’t be forgotten.

  6. Jolene said on January 8, 2014 at 7:09 am

    I remembered Sasha Cohen, though I had to google her to be sure I had her name right. (I had remembered her as Sadrah, not Sasha.) Her performance was so joyful tat it’d be hard to forget.

    Here’s a short article about her that appeared about a year ago. http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/2013/01/26/skater-sasha-cohen-reinvents-as-college-student/1867077/

  7. jerry said on January 8, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Prospero’s passing wiill leave nnc a quieter and less enjoyable place. He seemed to have a wide range of knowledge and a mass of strongly held opinions – sometimes expressed rather violently for coherence. But amongst everything else he was always warmly appreciative of his family.

    Nancy, thanks for posting a message to his obit, much better expressd than anything I could say. But I’d like to add my best wishes to his family at the passing of a memorable character.

  8. nancy said on January 8, 2014 at 8:27 am

    It appears as though Mike’s family is reading both here and there. I’m sure they’d appreciate notes on the obit, linked above.

  9. jerry said on January 8, 2014 at 8:32 am

    There were comments on yesterday’s entry from various people who like me read but seldom commented. For me it is partly a matter of time difference and partly that so much of the conversation refers to American matters where I have no experience. But weather: I’m glad to say we are not suffering extreme cold and snow like some of you. But the UK as a whole has been battered by storms with many homes flooded. For me, on the outskirts of London, the worst has been getting caught yesterday and returning home after 10 minutes rain and having to change out of almost everything as I was soaked. But its still a lot better than massive snow.

  10. beb said on January 8, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I’m shocked and saddened by the news of Prospero’s death.

  11. brian stouder said on January 8, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I was wondering about the propriety of posting there.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Nance. I’ll see if I can’t boil down two or three sentences that convey how interesting and enlivening it was to interact with Michael, here at nn.c.

    Given his love of the written word, this way of knowing him – exchanging opinions that you can polish and edit (at least a little!) – makes me think that a random person (like me) really did know him, a little.

  12. Judybusy said on January 8, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Oh, I know I already posted–twice–but I just can’t get over this. He was one of the first thoughts I had today. It’s a great comfort to read everyone’s memories and feelings. Thanks for the community and the sheer respect you all are showing for a man who could be irscible but ultimately cared passionately for the dispossessed of this world.

    To all who have said they hover at the edges, often just reading: please join in! I did about 6 or 7 years ago, and this is the only blog I do so regularly. I have been listened to, supported, and really, very selfishly have gotten so much more out of this space than I could ever give. I keep coming though, because for the most part we can have really good discussions with a fair bit of fun thrown in. All thanks to Nancy, who gets it going almost every day.

  13. Scout said on January 8, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Last night my 14 year relationship suffered a blow I’m not it will survive, and yet, this morning I woke up thinking about Mike. With my entire life on the rocks I came here as I always do in the morning with my coffee to commune with people I’ve never met but whom I believe feel as I do today. Yes Deborah, that most definitely is our Prospero’s page.

  14. Deborah said on January 8, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Scout, hang in there. Your comments are definitely those I seek out here.

  15. Jolene said on January 8, 2014 at 9:18 am

    I second Judybusy’s invitation to join in. Years ago, before I made my first comment, I asked what the norms were for getting acquainted–whether I should, for instance, post a paragraph introducing myself. The answer was something along the lines of, “Just start talking.”

    As in the real world, a community that you are viewing from the fringes can seem like a fully formed, closed unit. But, in fact, it is, at all times, a shape-shifting organism. A few people here have known each other since college, but, in Nancy’s phrase, most of us couldn’t pick each other out of a line-up. Some people have been here longer than I have; others have come along more recently. As yesterday’s posts indicated, a few ave died along the way–some shockingly suddenly and at least one after a long illness that we lived through with her.

    So, speak up as you like. After a while, it’ll feel like home.

  16. Julie Robinson said on January 8, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Scout, I’m so sorry to hear that, you must feel crushed. That you think about others’ pain is a sign of your compassion and perspective. May you find peace, no matter what happens next.

    And to Mike’s family I want say the same thing–may you find peace and solace as you grieve. We’re all reeling here, and I can only imagine the pain you’re feeling. He was a man of fierce intelligence and opinions, and we are all better for having known him, even though it was only online.

  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 8, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Blessings to you, Scout, and I would echo Julie’s reaction.

    As we’re hearing about the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, I’m recalling that often reading Prospero/MichaelJ I would find myself thinking about LBJ. Two men with grand passions, intensely good intentions, perhaps a little lack of restraint in their own self-care and even a lapse or two into excess . . . and then a weighty heave up out of the slough of despond into the good fight, again and again.

    Unlike some, the more I read Caro’s books on that Johnson, the more I find myself sympathizing with and even admiring the man. Some older clergy colleagues of mine had interactions with him in DC, and the good should outweigh the bad in retrospect, but I know for many — Michael Johnson included! — the sins of Vietnam overbalanced the role he had in Civil & Voting Rights, fighting poverty, and promoting community action on a truly nuts and bolts and block by block level.

    The conversation on the other side between LBJ & Prospero: that would be a joy to overhear.

  18. wade said on January 8, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I came here this morning to catch Prospero’s take on Roger Ailes’ latest kerfuffle. Damn!

  19. Charlotte said on January 8, 2014 at 10:27 am

    The virtual mourning thing is odd, but I can attest, can be a real comfort. I’d only been blogging at Livingsmallblog.com for about a year, about my garden, trying to dial back consumerism, cooking, moving to a small town, when my brother died. There are complete strangers out there I think of as friends, who witnesses with me, checked in, made encouraging comments. Very odd, but lovely.

    As for Jim Harrison, I’d argue all his characters sound the same because they’re just all him, talking. He’s a prodigious talker. Getting to hang out a little bit and listen to him talk has been a great pleasure of the last decade or so. However, despite having a longstanding marriage, and two daughters he loves, he is also a truly sexist asshole. A younger woman writer I seem to be lightly mentoring (?!) pointed me toward this article a local guy wrote for Mens Journal: http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/fly-fishing-confidential-20131127 Unfortunately, representative. And makes me so so so glad that I’m no longer dating (and that my beloved is not one of those guys). But I think it’s mostly compensatory these days — I saw Harrison with Matthiesen this summer, and he’s decrepit. I had to help him up the curb. Kind of broke my heart (Mattheisen btw, is a lovely lovely man. Or at least has lovely manners.)

  20. mark said on January 8, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Rest in peace, prospero. I’m greatly saddened by his death and by the thought that his many gifts were so often spent (I suspect) wrestling with his particular demons. I hope (and suspect) his God has welcomed him home, and that prospero is enjoying himself in a place that reqires no anger and provides great peace. My sincere condolences to any family that might see this.

  21. nancy said on January 8, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Who’s decrepit? Harrison or Mattheisen? I guess they’re both old men now.

    McGuane, I’d venture to guess, will be the longest-lived of that bunch. He has that look.

  22. LAMary said on January 8, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Charlotte, I’ve read books by all three of those guys and from that I would guess Mattheisen would be the gentleman. All three turn out some fine work.

  23. Scout said on January 8, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Thank you Deborah, Julie and Jeff. It is oddly comforting be able to share what is going on with people who will not judge or opine about procedure, just be there in support. That is one facet of what Prospero got from this place too and it makes me glad.

  24. Heather said on January 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Yeah, I can’t get past Jim Harrison’s male-centered worldview, even to enjoy his stuff. Not denying he’s talented, just Not For Me.

    Scout, sending you some emotional support. I am sure most if not all of us have been in such a situation at one time or another. Take care of yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

  25. Pam (the sister) said on January 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    I will miss Prospero’s comments. Sometimes when I looked at Nancy’s blog there were so many comments that I did’t have time to read them all, so I would skip most of them to read Prospero’s thoughts which I always thoroughly enjoyed.

  26. Judybusy said on January 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Scout, I’m sorry to hear you are going through a tough time. I’ve been through the break-up of a long-term rleationship as well. Even though I wanted it, it was still very difficult, and so I wish you strength and kindness from Minneapolis.

  27. Charlotte said on January 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Hey Nancy — Matthiesen was driving, and although he needs a cane, he’s in pretty good shape for a guy in his late 80s. Poor Jim, the wheels are totally coming off — had back surgery a year or so ago, and I have to say, that he needed my arm to steady himself getting up the curb was startling in the way I’m beginning to get used to — he’s the same age as my parents (Linda, his wife, was at Stevens College with my mom). They’ve all suddenly gone from being “the grown ups” to being “old people.” I think you’re right about McGuane, he broke a kneecap hunting this fall (fell in a hole) — but he’s the fittest of them all — I think he’s going to live forever. He’s got that skinny, healthy-guy thing going on. Not drinking probably helps.

    I love love love Legends of the Fall, The Man Who’d Forgotten His Name, Dalva, and even the Brown Dog stories, and I’m enormously fond of the difficult old man himself — but Heather, I get it. I can’t read Roth, for instance, because his work just repels me.

  28. LAMary said on January 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    I love Philip Roth’s writing. I go on Roth binges.

  29. Jolene said on January 8, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    A note re memorials for Prospero: The electronic system for accepting contributions at the food pantry noted in Prospero’s obit does not allow you to say that the contribution is a memorial in honor of someone. If you want his daughter and other family members to know about such contributions, you can send a note indicating that your contribution was a memorial to the email address in the electronic thank you that you’ll receive in response to your contribution. I did this last night and got a nice, brief note in response. I assume they’ll eventually let the family know about these contributions.

  30. paddyo' said on January 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Big, big sigh today — and eyes brimming over the fine, fine remarks from our commentariat (as just about always). I am gladdened to mourn with all of you. My deepest condolences to Prospero/Mike’s family.
    The ex-longtime newspaper reporter in me wants to know more, more, more about him and his passing. But the nn.com follower in me finds more solace and meaning in scrolling the (here comes that word again) astonishing archive of his time here.

  31. Joanne K. said on January 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Michael/Prospero’s ex-wife directed me to this blog. I met him and his ex-wife, Donata, in 1977, and we became very good friends. We took vacations together, spent a very funny weekend in New York City, and shared many holidays and other important events. His ex is one of my oldest and dearest friends.

    The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Michael is his incredible intelligence and depth of knowledge. He could talk about almost anything, but what I loved most was our discussions about literature, music, and politics. He and my husband often got into great arguments on politics and culture–one time the four of us were asked to leave a restaurant on Cape Cod because the two of them were arguing LOUDLY about, of all things, Bob Hope, and his merits as a comedian. I agreed with Michael.

    I look forward to reading the posts here where “Prospero” contributed to the discussions. It will be like hearing Michael’s get intellect again.

    I’m so sorry not to have known that Michael was involved in a blogging community, since I host a blog, mostly political and left-leaning (Michael would have loved it), myself, and he would have been a great asset to my readers.

    Michael, you were a unique, brilliant, funny, and sometimes maddening, person in our lives. And we will not see another like you.

    Farewell.

    Joanne K.

  32. Dexter said on January 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    I heard Iggy Pop’s name mentioned on the radio yesterday and I recalled the time nance mentioned Iggy in a favorable way which sent caliban into a frenzy, just cussin’ and ranting, and saying nance did not KNOW Detroit like HE did, goddammitt, because he was ten years older than nance and he he had lived Detroit in real time; oh yes, caliban could be nasty!
    Sometimes, well, most of the time that Motown was a sub-topic here, Bob Seeger would get into caliban’s sights and get a beat-down, because, in caliban’s world, it was really only an MC5 kind of town. KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHERFUCKERS! caliban was the only person I knew who could name almost all of The Funk Brothers. I think perhaps much of prospero’s vitriol was expounded as he wrote of his damnation of one Andrew Breitbart, a man 18 years younger than prospero. Breitbart was simply anathema to caliban’s way. Oh what fun it was to read the great sage, Michael J.

  33. coozledad said on January 8, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    http://wonkette.com/538543/chris-christie-a-petty-vengeful-monster-part-infinity-section-fort-lee-lane-closures-subsection-amateur-hour

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wZZu93VsNA&noredirect=1

    When you drive through New Jersey
    you’d better watch your ass
    Christie might have a hardon
    for your overpass
    if you feel like walking
    you’re gonna be alright
    but if you get stuck driving
    you might be stuck all night
    He’s got the highway patrolmen
    at his command
    And he’s like Gary Oldman
    With a burger in each hand

    You might be safe while he’s eating
    but once he’s washed it down
    He’s gonna blockade the traffic
    to your punkass town

    All the papers said,”Here’s your nominee
    cause he’s a little less than batshit
    and he won’t cap you in the knee.”

    Don’t pay heed to the “moderates”
    cause they don’t know his heart
    You might be in the elevator
    When he stops it to fart.

  34. Dorothy said on January 8, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I commented about Michael’s passing at the end of the comments for yesterday’s post. But I’ve only known about his death for about 2 hours now. Still feels pretty shocking and it’s just so, so sad.

    Scout I’m sorry to hear about your current sadness. I’ll be thinking of you and hope better days are right around the corner.

    Jolene – I play Words with Friends with LAMary and would welcome the chance to play with you, too. That goes for anyone else around here, too. I have a Facebook page, and Nancy has my okay to tell you my last name. If you want to be friends on Facebook send me a request. But I’d like to know what you “go by” here among the commenters to be sure we “know” each other first.

  35. Dexter said on January 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I dunno, coozledad, remember Waits tells us that
    “Down the shore
    Everything’s alright…”

  36. Dexter said on January 8, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-ROB8kI_fw

  37. Deborah said on January 8, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Joanne K, I enjoyed your comment about what Mike was like in person. Thanks.

  38. LAMary said on January 8, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Dorothy plays for blood, Jolene.

  39. Jolene said on January 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Would love to have a new WWF partner, Dorothy. And, as Dorothy said, that goes for anyone else here too. If you’d like to play, ask Nancy to put us in touch. Nance, will you send me either Dorothy’s last name or her email address?

  40. Jolene said on January 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Dorothy plays for blood, Jolene.

    So do I! Or, at least, I try to.

  41. Dave said on January 8, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Yes, I too enjoyed Joanne K’s comments. I often wondered what he was like in person, I recall a post where I was sure that he was answering an e-mail or posting to someone he knew and he just ranted on and on, I’m Michael Johnson, goddammit, but it had nothing to do with any topic anyone else was discussing and he was posting to the wrong site. At the time, I had the thought that this guy drinks himself into insensibility almost every single day. I’m sure it’s among the 7,000+.

    Nancy portrayed him once as the guy at the end of the bar and Dexter’s comments have well summed up how I thought of him but it’s sure going to be quiet without him. I thought he’d be here forever. For crying out loud, he was a year younger than I am.

    Sorry, also, to read of Scout’s heartaches. I, like the others, enjoy this group greatly and don’t like reading of stresses and troubles in someone’s life.

  42. Bob (not Greene) said on January 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Dave, I believe it’s comment 1,857.

  43. LAMary said on January 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    In one game with Dorothy, we managed to us the words twat and prick.

  44. Dave said on January 8, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Yes, Bob (not G), I believe that’s it, it doesn’t read quite like I thought it did but it was surely meant to be posted as an e-mail. I was scanning through, hoping I might find it.

    It’s a shame that Ray Davies does not know that he’s lost one of his biggest fans. One of the posts he wrote says that if Nancy doesn’t like him, she’s an idiot.

    Goodness, he was (at times, infuriatingly) entertaining.

  45. Jolene said on January 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    WWF is quite bizarre in terms of what it allows and what it doesn’t. For instance, it won’t allow slut, but it allows whore. The friend I was playing with when we discovered this said, “I guess that means slut is an insult, but whore is just a job description.”

    It also won’t allow chink, which I understand can be a racial insult, but is also a perfectly serviceable and fairly frequently used word referring to gaps in walls, armor, and such.

    Also, pogo is not allowed. It’s a proper name for a cartoon character and a gaming company, but its use in the name of a toy has long since slid into lower case if, indeed, it was ever commonly written in upper case.

  46. Jean S said on January 8, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I read nnc off and on, and I must say that the kindness being shown to Michael/Prospero and his family is remarkable and truly gracious.

  47. Jean S said on January 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    ah, and before I forget: That Clackamas county analysis of Tonya is spot on. If you travel just beyond the hipster edges of PDX, you run into some sad run-down souls.

  48. LAMary said on January 8, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Jolene the other day I could have made the word FARTJOY wwf wouldn’t allow it. I think it’s a perfectly good word.

  49. Judybusy said on January 8, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    LAMary, I’d stop playing. That’s just wrong!

  50. alex said on January 8, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    LA M–

    It”s “cuz fart & joy are redundant.

    Scout, I’m so sorry to hear your news. Been a while since i had my world turned upside down unexpectedly like that but i remember it vividly. I’m happy to report that my ex and i actually make much better friends than lovers. And we both got exactly what we deserved when we committed to our current spouses. ;)

  51. Jolene said on January 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I think FARTJOY should be a word too, perhaps with a variant to indicate the special joy to farting as an eight-year-old boy in church.

  52. susan said on January 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Jolene, when you fart in church you sit in your own pew.

  53. Dorothy said on January 8, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    I don’t know that I play for blood exactly, but I do hate to lose. I take great pride in the fact that my youngest sister Janet, and former next door neighbor Carol, have improved greatly in scoring since starting to play me. They tell me they learned new words and good strategies from playing me. But they don’t beat me very often.

    The other day I could not play MYC and that pissed me off. My son felt the same way about having JEDI rejected.

  54. Jolene said on January 8, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    What word did you think you were making when you tried to play MYC?

  55. DellaDash said on January 8, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    What did Prospero sound like when he was Michael, Joanne K? Did he have a Boston or Detroit or southern accent? Was his voice a tenor or contralto or baritone?

  56. Dorothy said on January 8, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    MYC is in the dictionary. I have seen it played n Scrabble. It’s a variant of myco, as in mycology.

  57. Dorothy said on January 8, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    And btw we know Jedi is not in the dictionary. He likes to kid a lot, my son.

  58. Julie Robinson said on January 8, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Oh guys, I’m laughing so hard I may have a FARTJOY situation myself. It was a rough day, and that was exactly what I needed.

  59. Maggie Jochild said on January 8, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    I live in physical circumstances more difficult than I generally share, and isolation would be a killer except for my online community, most of which began as co-commenters at Alison Bechdel’s blog. Several dozen of us transferred over to Facebook a few years ago, where we converse daily, and one of my friends from those connections recommend nn.c to me two years ago as a place where I would find my kind of folks. (Thanks, Judybusy!) She was right.

    The first time I checked in, however, I was bewildered by the posts of someone named Caliban, who could be brilliant and seemingly progressive, then devolve into frank gibberish at night. He was treated with kindness and interest, definitely not a troll as I’d experienced them (and we do have one or two here), and I was touched to see when his posts became like ASCII, someone would say the equivalent of “Go home, buddy, you’re drunk.”

    Soon thereafter he transformed into some woman from history, unmistakeably the same voice, and then he became Prospero. The first time I urged my partner Margot to come here and read something, she got back to me with the message “Explain Prospero, please.”

    I didn’t want to incur his wrath but was equally nervous when he waxed approval about something I’d said. I was jolted at the news of his death and have been genuinely mourning his death. There was so much to him. I hope it was an easy and good death, I very much hope that for him and his loved ones.

    I read Nancy Nall each morning as I eat breakfast, how I prepare for a morning routine that is always difficult and painful even on the good days. I mull over what I read here as I work my way through that routine. Y’all mean the world to me, a daily window into conversation between diverse folks who are, most of us, doing everything we can to make the world better for us having been in it. I know that was true for Prospero. He had a lion-sized heart, and he was very much in process. I hate it that he ran out of time.

  60. Joanne K. said on January 8, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    “What did Prospero sound like when he was Michael, Joanne K? Did he have a Boston or Detroit or southern accent? Was his voice a tenor or contralto or baritone?”

    Michael had what I would call a “California” accent. It wasn’t regional; it was neutral. But at times he could go all southern on us, if he was in the mood. He was exceptionally handsome, but never full of himself. I loved his wit. I remember that he introduced me to Warren Zevon. “His hair was perfect.” Michael paid attention to details like that and encouraged us to appreciate them, too.

    I was very much into a radio program here in the Boston area call “Trivia.” I used to call up and answer various trivia questions. I answered enough correctly to win me a spot as an “expert” on a live radio broadcast, and to invite friends to come along. Michael, Donata, my husband and I arrived at the radio station in Boston. When we arrived, we saw two 70s hippies who looked at us and asked, “Do you do weed?”

    Ha! We said yeah. Then we were amazed to discover that these two guys ran the whole damn show while high! And they were always right! I did the show with Michael, his wife and my husband listening in. I can’t say I remember too much, but it was a lot of fun just answering the challenging trivia questions the callers gave me. I could see Michael in the room adjacent to the studio I was in laughing and enjoying the whole show.

    As I write this, more and more memories come to me. I so regret I did not stay in touch with him. I’ve read his comments and see that he never lost his ability to get to the heart of any discussion and carry it forth with his brilliance.

    But I am grateful that I knew him when I did.

    Joanne K.

  61. Suzanne said on January 8, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Our internet has had storm related issues the past couple of days, so I haven’t checked in until now. So sorry to hear about Prospero! He was always entertaining to say the least. RIP.

  62. alex said on January 8, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    On cellphone hate this cuz wanna write.

    Nance was actually with me on the night of my big disillusionment, Scout. We were going to have a “girls’ night out” swilling cocktails and exchanging scuttlebutt while my partner was going to go counsel a friend who needed a shoulder to cry on. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to be there, it was explained, because my presence would inhibit someone who needed to bare his soul. By sheer coincidence this soul-baring session ended up taking place at the same off-the-beaten path roadhouse where Nancy suggested she & i meet up. Woody allen comedy ensues.

  63. Sue said on January 8, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Prospero was so much a part of the core/heart of this group that people knew something was wrong because an Everly Brother died. Think about that.
    And kudos to all commenters on sending Pros off with kindness and affection. Not one off-note in two days of honest, respectful, and gracious remarks.

  64. LAMary said on January 8, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Just to live up to my name dropping reputation I think I should note that Phil Everly died in the hospital where I work. I didn’t know he was there which is as it should be.

  65. Dexter said on January 9, 2014 at 12:35 am

    LAMary, name dropping is so much fun. My turn. Eric Clapton’s wife had a baby in the Delaware, Ohio hospital where my daughter’s friend worked. I once rode an Amtrak with football announcer John Madden. I saw Sandy Koufax pitch his last game ever in Wrigley Field. I saw just one US President , Gerald Ford, and I saw him three times. So coincidental. As a young lad, I served Senator Birch Bayh two cans of Fresca at a fundraiser. He passed on the baked chicken and peas. I screamed at Vice President Agnew and he looked right at me and called me a “bleeding heart”. (Vietnam days, so sad) I made the Walter Cronkite news for that caper. I was imprisoned in a school bus, waiting for President George Herbert Walker Bush to walk across the Mackinac bridge , Labor Day, 1992, as he was campaigning for reelection. We had to wait forever to be bused across to St. Ignace to begin our walk back over. Never saw him, though.
    And best for last…I saw Mickey Mantle hit a home run in 1965.

  66. brian stouder said on January 9, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Dex – I saw Pete Rose hit a homerun(!) into rightfield (we were in the right field red seats – high above it) at the ‘old’ Riverfront…which was kinda new, then.

    Now THAT was rare!

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