The Final Curtain1 by Billy Ray Chitwood

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“The Final Curtain1” 

        I’ve always been a Frank Sinatra guy and “My Way” has accompanied me on many romantic adventures. “My Way” has been one of those ‘etchings’ to enjoy with someone special at the end of a candlelight and wine dinner, a song that can be parsed and qualified in so many ways…guess that’s my best reason for the blog title.
        It isn’t so much that those lines in the song, “The Final Curtain,” need to conjure up morbid thoughts and ‘let’s all be sentimental’ thoughts. In fact,”The Final Curtain” can conjure up benign thoughts, those that lift the spirit and put an extra swagger in our strides.
        I’m pretty much a ‘romantic’ with some life dreams realized and some that still wish to be. Mostly, these days, my writing speaks to me in so many ways, telling me so many truths about myself. Through the characters pecked out on the laptop, in their actions, reactions, interactions, there are glimpses of me, mini-portraits never seen before. Some are scary. Some are strangely uplifting and gratifying. Some glimpses make me sad. Some make me happy. Some make me confident. Some make me doubt myself.
        There is this ‘thing’ that always keeps me rooted to some true genetic spot: we can be no more in life than what we are intended to be.
        So, what’s with all the gibberish about “The Final Curtain” and the writing and the glimpses? Truth is, I’m aging with a great deal of reluctance, going through the ‘pages’ past, present, and future, still searching for the elusive and the unattainable, trying very hard to make up for some wasted moments in this passage. I’m here in the ‘wings’ and the curtain has not closed and I’m wanting to know about you, how you differ so much from me, how we are so much alike, how we can somehow better know each other.
        One of my favorite poet/writers is an ex-priest named James Kavanaugh. Among all his work, he has written two beautiful books of poetry: “There Are Men Too Gentle To Walk Among Wolves” and “Will You Be My Friend?” There is so much of his verse with which I identify. His words speak to me with the most marvelous clarity. With my Appalachian bible-belt roots, there is little wonder.
        Sinatra and Kavanaugh are my two favorite ‘etchings’ with some Kahlil Gibran thrown in, each of them fodder for the romantic and soulful parts of me. There is of course nothing wrong with the different tastes in music. There are those who like the brassy groups, the rappers, and the new gents and ladies of song — most of my soul dances favor the ballads. We can’t all like the same music. And, yes, of course, age, time, and place carry our predictable favorites.
        Now, ‘will you be my friend?’ Are you a ‘romantic’ – dreamer – pragmatist – young adult – baby boomer – timid – out-going… How do you approach the page on which you are about to spill your guts — or, your character’s guts? How much of you do you leave on the written pages of your books? You tell me, and I’ll tell you.
        If this kind of soulful musing is not your thing, pass me by…’thirty-one flavors’ you know. If you do like to muse and don’t mind sharing, jump on in. I’ll be lurking around the ‘curtain’ to see if someone shows up on stage. There’s a lot of time before the final curtain.
Billy Ray Chitwood
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13 thoughts on “The Final Curtain1 by Billy Ray Chitwood

  1. I’ll go with his “Fly Me To The Moon” or I’ll take “Strangers In The Night”. We’ll skip “These Boots Were Made For Walking”.

    Enjoyed your blog – write more. Brightened up a morning that started with a few negative people.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I do write. Currently working on a parenting book. Rather egotistic of me probably as no degree in anything relating to parenting. Just a ton of decades with wonderful children and a few tips that made my life easier. Like, whoever divided the cake got last dibs. Talk about evenly cut pieces!

        I read your Bailey Crane mystery stories and they were fun reads. You have a great way with words.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Noble writing, I would say — raising kids in the digital world can surely bring distress. Just reading your e-mails, you seem to have a nice, easy style in your writing. I’m hoping the ‘Parenting’ book will be completed and bring you much satisfaction and success. So, finish the book, then I can see what this old man did right and wrong with my kids. ALSO, if perchance you have a moment, read one or all of my eight books. You can view them at: or Yes, I’m soliciting sales of my books, but, truth be known, it’s the process of writing that gives me the most joy…

        Have a wonderful day, Anne. My very best to you in your writing efforts.

        Billy Ray


  2. I’ll take “Fly Me To the Moon” too. Can you really “spill your guts” in your writing? I can’t. One thing I’ve learned though is that family members and friends often don’t ever get around to reading the book. So, what’s the hesitation to broach subject matter that is a definite part of you but not something you’d necessarily like to reveal? Of course, you can always attribute the really mean spirited, downright nasty — or especially, the lecherous thoughts and actions to the characters in the story. Don’t ask me how to explain how those thoughts managed to get onto the page if you didn’t conjure them though..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Larry,

      You’re right, family members for some reason does not want to see you — the image, whatever that might be, is what they prefer to carry.

      Regarding ‘spilling your guts’ it’s likely easier as you get older, when the grim reaper is somewhere in the shadows. I’ve never done a great deal that’s bad in my life, really bad, like murder, rape, child molesting, the real ugly stuff. But I have done some things of which I’m not too proud, mostly, booze and ladies, chasing images I call ‘white buffalos,’ marriages, divorces… At the moment, I’m sorting through the cobwebs and writing about some of that stuff: I’m in the editing stages, and it will be ready shortly. In this one, guess I am ‘spilling my guts,’ telling it like it is, in case anyone is interested, cares, and might get something out of it. How will people look at me after reading what I write? Doesn’t much matter, really. My ‘confessional’ chamber is bigger than the Catholic Church and much more public, but it’s okay — I’m still who I’ve always been – a romantic, a dreamer, a wanderlust, and an Appalachian reject. The final point is this: the process of writing is what it’s all about for me; there’s something happening between me, my soul, and those black keys on the laptop when I’m writing, and, well, there’s just at times a lot of joy in turning the phrases you want and painting the verbal picture you want. Commercially, of course, I’d like to sell tons of books, get that validation that I’m pretty good at my craft, but, in the end, the ride’s been fun and sad, and it’s all going to stay there in Cyberspace until the digital world comes tumbling down…

      Sorry to be so windy! See what you prompted?

      My best to you, Larry. Keep writing, and let me know what you’ve written — I’ve been known to buy a book now and then (especially, those cheaper ‘E-ones.

      Billy Ray


      1. Hi Billy Ray — You really touched a nerve with your references to Sinatra. They don’t get any better. “In the wee small hours of the morning…” “I’ve got you under my skin …” How can this guy nail it so? And why should I, a regular slob from the midwest feel so connected to Sinatra, from Joisy? I don’t know, Rose. (from “Moonstruck”). I have a novel: “A Bridge to Treachery”. It;’s a thriller…but it’s not a thriller through and through. It’s also about moral compasses, marital fidelity, women and men.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Wodke,

      “Ole Blue Eyes” surely had a way with a ballad. He and my mom died about the same time, and he better be up there crooning to her. He did it ‘his way.’

      My best wishes to you.

      Billy Ray


    2. Larry,

      It seems some people just have that ‘electrical current’ within them, that charisma that makes us gravitate toward them. For me, it was his music and his life style that drew me to him — there was some simpatico, if you will, with the man. Not just mid-westerners connected with Sinatra. The world connected with him.

      Glad to hear about “A Bridge to Treachery” — will be checking it out.

      Thanks for your good input.

      Billy Ray


  3. Hi Bill. I just read “The Final Curtain” and enjoyed it, as I do all of your writing (i.e., books and blogs). You write about things to which most everyone can relate. Contemporary music that becomes the soundtrack of our lives is particularly interesting to me. Although Sinatra was old when I was young, we still played “New York, New York” at closing time at the beer bar I tended at 22 years old. Two or three bartenders would hop up onto the bar and do a sort of chorus line, which all seemed wild and uninhibited at the time, but in retrospect was perhaps more unprofessional and drunken behavior. In my soon-to-be published memoir I put special songs into each chapter to recapture the time and how I felt then. Of course my songs tend to be more Electric Light Orchestra and Rolling Stones, but like I said, Sinatra made it in as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very kind, Christoph…thanks for your kind words. I’m a rather slow reader and have been trying to catch up on my reading for years…it will never happen! Social media is important but it takes a lot of time and energy away from our reading and writing…and, marketing – ouch! 🙂 Add to all that, I’m not very adept in this digital world. So, it’s delirious and it’s fun! I know how much effort you expend to support other authors – the interviews, the reviews! One of these days I’ve got to create a beautiful award for you – with no obligatory conditions attached… Always my best to you. 🙂


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