1500. Reaching the pinnacle

 

Bruce hadn’t achieved much in his life. There was one thing, however, he could do: he could be the first in the history of the world to climb one particular peak of the local mountain range. Reaching the top of this peak had been an insurmountable problem for many who had attempted it. Although few had died in the attempt, no one had arrived where apparently “no human had ever trod before”.

It wasn’t the most earth-shattering thing to do, but Bruce would attempt it come what may. At least to himself he would achieve something of note: a legend in his own mind.

He set out.

After many strenuous days, after falling rocks and slippery shingle slides, after warm days and freezing nights, after scratches and insect bites, after encountering inquisitive tourist parties and aspiring solo mountaineers, he had only a few feet left to go. He reached up to the last crevice on the mountain peak to pull himself up to the top. And…

… he did! He did it! “At last!” he said, “at last I have arrived where no human had ever trod before!” The view wasn’t as spectacular has he had imagined. And scattered about were a couple of squashed coke cans and some cigarette butts.

Post Script:

Dear Reader,

This is the 1500th story on this blog, and the final posting! I would like to end on a personal note:

Back in 1986 I was studying for a degree in a relatively famous institution in Boston, Massachusetts. It was possibly the most flamboyantly happy time of my life. I was very popular! North America was big, and I came from a tiny island at the bottom of the globe. I revelled in the vastness of it all, and delighted in the generosity and openness of Americans!

When I came back to New Zealand, in the first month I received over two hundred letters. This was the days before the media revolution. I began to answer the letters, starting with the ones from people that I didn’t have a clue who they were! The people I was closest to could wait. The people I didn’t know answered. I replied to them again. The people I knew the best waited. And waited. And in the end, all drifted away.

These days I would not know who is dead and who is alive. These people are memories, but no longer personal friends. This seems to be the friendship cycle in my life.

For the past 1500 stories – and some music and poems as well – I have enjoyed the company of many – some for a long long time. I would like to mention names but won’t! Most I don’t know much about. Have you family? Where do you live? In many cases I’m not sure I even know your real name. That’s the strangeness of friends on the blogs! Some I have offended, and I’m sorry.

Thank you to all who walked all or part of the way with me (those of you who are still alive!) I have enjoyed the privilege of your company. I suspect there are other adventures waiting for me. I hope so.

I sometimes thought (in highfalutin moments) that some people (maybe creative-writing teachers) might like to use these stories as “starters” for their pupils to extend to new and exciting conclusions. There are enough weekly starters to last roughly 38 years before a teacher need begin to repeat! (Boring bloody teacher, repeating stuff after 38 years).

I wish you every possible wonderful thing for always.

Bruce

59 thoughts on “1500. Reaching the pinnacle

  1. Ryan

    Such a fitting story to be the last! Bruce reached his personal pinnacle only to be disappointed with what he finds. This was a stroke of genius! I would hate to lose touch with you. Please stay in contact. Here’s my email: ryanimpink@gmail.com Hugs brother! No hyperbole, our little back and forths over our stories have carved a special place in my heart for you. You’ve been a part of an extraordinary (for good and bad) part of my life.

    Reply
  2. Yvonne

    It’s been quite a voyage. Some of your stories made me laugh, others evoked groans, a few made me think “I can’t stomach any more of this.” But, the next offering would arrive and I couldn’t wait to see what you had in store for us on that day. You have an intelligent, quirky mind, BA.

    Your poetry was a surprise, and you taught us about the different forms of this form of writing. Your poems also introduced us to the gentle but incisive Cynthia, whom we all miss a lot.

    Go forth, young Bruce Almighty,to a well deserved break from this self imposed journey. I wonder what the future will bring you?

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      It has been a long time, and you have been one of the most faithful of all followers, and one of the most interesting to boot! I wonder too what the future will hold! At 69 and with chronic heart disease the future is probably going to involve a lot of pills! Will stay in touch!

      Reply
  3. Eric Tonningsen

    Screw scaling pinnacles. My sense is you (cue Sinatra) did it your way, Bruce. And what a glorious horse you’ve ridden (metaphorically, of course). I have truly enjoyed your stories; a delightful mix of thoughtful and twisted (not plain!) prose. Thank you. I wish you immense happiness as you create time and space to enjoy that beautiful island down below. At 69, you have plenty of reserves upon which to draw. Vaya con Dios, friend.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thanks so much, Eric. I shall of course be taking the occasional peek at your blog (as I say on my horse). We have strode the blogs for quite a few years – off and on!

      Reply
  4. Andrea Stephenson

    Well you’ve gone and done it, you brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye again Bruce. I’ve marvelled at your creativity in being able to conjure so many stories, poems and pieces of music. I’ve enjoyed the banter, the devilish murders and your generosity in comments. I hope you enjoy the next chapter and pop in now and again to say hello, not to mention let us know if you return to the online world.

    Reply
  5. chrisnelson61

    A fitting close to a wonderful journey which I have enjoyed being a part of – although I’m not entirely convinced that it is over! I feel certain that, despite any medical issues, you will grace us all with your presence in the near future.
    As always, my very best to you, Sir.

    Reply
  6. Yvonne

    Entry from a secret journal.

    Tuesday morning. A sense of ennui has settled like a cloud of fog around my being. How will I go forward? Something is missing from my life.

    Reply
  7. umashankar

    And some said Life could be fair.

    However, the epical disillusionment of the ‘last story’ is barely a scratch on the monumental achievement of your weblog. I have happily savoured those dew drops morning after morning, and that is not the only void I am going to face each day. I will crave for the warmth of the ensuing conversation after each post, the quick witted banter and repartee, puns and word plays that not many are capable of. Those glistening beads of humour and twisted endings encompass the bearings of the wicked world in totality. To me they have been nourishments for a language I have loved, through the particularly liquid and vivacious stream of phrases unleashed by but tiny stories. They have been the twittering and consolations of a cohort in an increasingly friendless world. You have certainly reached the pinnacle of your art as portrayed by the cynically hued story, and you have completed a pilgrimage that most of us are not equipped to even begin. The undying optimist in me shall yearn for a rendezvous with you on other paths and moors, on a plane where the sun never sets.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Those in your family must think they’re Royalty, for you have a way with words that makes the listener think they’re more important than they are!! I’m sure we shall bump into each other here and there and possibly not too infrequently. I shall treasure your comments – they belong to the stories!

      Reply
  8. willowwrites

    Well, isn’t that just the way life is, trash and butts.
    Sorry to see you go, Bruce. You’ve accomplished much. I enjoy your stories and your comments…especially between you and Uma…such boys 🙂
    Hope to read more from you somehow, somewhere, someway…hmm, sounds like a Barbara Streisand song.
    Wishing you the best! – Vicki

    Reply
  9. alexraphael

    Well if it indeed the last story then it’s a great one to end on. Has been a real pleasure reading your stories, swapping puns and overall interaction. Totally agree with all the comments (well except the fish one ha). Thank you for all the good times.

    Reply
  10. Chelsea Owens

    Your last story, and you didn’t even have him fall off the mountain to be trampled by sherpas and accidentally drawn and quartered by confused tourists?!

    Where you off to next?

    Reply
  11. Yvonne

    Harumph! I just knew you couldn’t stop with your scribbles, unless you have an identity thief. I just saw your terrible offering of “Yuletide balls” on another blog. Now I know where to find you.

    Reply
  12. inesephoto

    Dear Bruce, I enjoyed your little stories, and I also enjoyed the extensions of the stories – the comments. No other place like your blog. Please, if you are back and start a new blog, let me know. Wishing you all the very best for the future, and please take a good care of your health.
    Merry Christmas! There are more pinnacles you will reach.

    Reply
  13. Sylvie Ge

    Thank you for the stories Bruce. 1500 hundreds, like age, is just a number. Hope you will feel like just passing it and keek the blogosphere entertained with your unusual stories. Happy new Year and all the best with your new adventures, which I hope you will keep your readers informed about. 🙂🙂

    Reply
  14. Array

    Bruce, I was going to ask when you were going to dip your toes into 2019’s waters. Then I saw your post. Since the early seventeenth century, when I was a child, I never liked goodbyes–all the more presently because I think of you as a friend. Together we survived Cynthia ‘s untimely departure, didn’t we? So, blog or no blog, let’s keep in touch. Islanders need to stick together, it’s simple as that (gropes around for box of tissue paper on desk then pulls himself together).

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Yes – I shall definitely keep a finger in your pie. AND – I’m thinking of occasionally making a bloggerglorious contribution as I have just finished writing (inspired by Ibert) 15 little piano sketches that I have nowhere to put unless I succumb to a blog-posting. Surviving Cynthia (I mean surviving beyond Cynthia) was no mean feat. Shall definitely stay in touch.

      Reply
      1. exiledprospero

        Musical interludes, freshly baked pies… I feel a blog coming on.

        Your first challenge is to compose and perform a dance entitled ‘Unsquare Tarantella’ in 7/4 ( with no discernible tonal center) while concurrently baking a banoffee pie.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Goodman Post author

          I think you’ve just turned me on. I mean “like a radio”. How to get a Tarantella in 7/4 without sounding square is going to be fun – especially without a tonal centre, which is one of the many elements of music I failed at.

          Reply
  15. Talkalittledo - For Life Is Funny.

    Bruce, I know I have been very inconsistent with my reading and my comments on your stories. But seeing this goodbye piece is painful. My son lives in Australia, and when I visit them I always tell my grand daughter that my good friend Bruce lives just across the sea in New Zealand and sometimes I tell her one of your stories.
    In India, we have a belief. If you cough while eating, someone is thinking of you and wishing you well.
    Well now you know who is the reason you had to reach for that glass of water in the middle of a meal.
    Thank you for all the likes and comments on my blog.
    Bye. Catch you later.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Well, you are one of the wonderful personages that we would never meet if not blogging. I love your”interviews” of interesting (and significant in their way)people. I shall continue to be a fan. And thank for you kind comment. I suspect I shall be back!!

      Reply
  16. Nitin

    It’s been fantastic reading you Bruce. And no classic Bruce twist this time! I’m grateful to have read your work over the last five years. I’ve always enjoyed your way of conveying so much with so little and adding that ever feisty tinge of humor to everything you write. I might be selfish by asking for a 1500 A to Z but I understand. I will reply to the mail you sent me. I enjoyed reading it and want to give it a good response. Take care of yourself.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thanks Nitin. Yes, I know how you feel about wanting to send a “good response” to an email – things take so much blasted time and there’s not a lot of time hanging about! So there’s no hurry or obligation in the matter. To be honest, I’m a little bit lost without doing a story each day. I was going to start on a novel, but that’s easier said than done.

      Reply

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