Voice Synchronicities

Charting Synchronicities. (Prosopee derivative work: Augurar [Schéma_synchronicité.jpg] [CC BY-SA 3.0 {http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0}], via Wikimedia Commons)

Charting Synchronicities. (Prosopee derivative work: Augurar [Schéma_synchronicité.jpg] [CC BY-SA 3.0 {http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0}], via Wikimedia Commons)

I couldn’t write about these until I made my new novel’s title (Voice) public, but the past couple of months I’ve been seeing all kinds of media and movies and commercials tied to “voices.” Many will say it’s merely a case of being more aware of whatever it is I’m doing. But I have to say I’ve had this manuscript on the back-burner for almost 20 years, and it’s always been on my mind. Pardon the pun.

Should I revive it?

Should I change it’s title?

Should I edit out the sex scenes?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve given this manuscript tons of attention and/or thought over the years. But it’s literally only been the past few months to a year where I’ve seen a spate of “Voice“-related media:

The Affair the Showtime TV show.

The Birdman movie, with all its voices.

A “Make your voice heard – take this survey” e-mail survey I recently received.

The TV show “The Whispers.”

A billboard or two “talking” about “voices.”

A line in the poem, “Song of The Choosing,” by the deceased Jane Roberts, just made public (see the Black Sheep #126, the August/September 2015 issue, page 5): “And the hidden voices….”

On the SyFy Channel, August 18, at 6:30 in the morning MDT, was the series Paranormal Witness, the episode “A Ghostly Affair.” One of the people in the show was named “Rebecca.”

Voice. (© 2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Voice. (© 2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

And as I wrote the cover-reveal post, I was playing Pandora, and the Hinder song “Better Than Me” played, which includes the line “…miss your hair in my face…”; you just have to love the synchronicity there!

There is a connectedness to all things. We just have to be aware of this and be open to them.

What should we make of all this “connectedness”?

Everything we do touches something else. Nothing occurs in a vacuum. Consider what it is you’re doing and how it will affect the world. You. Consider what this means to you. Everything has meaning. Just because we may not be able to discern a reason for something at the time of the event does not mean it has no meaning.

Everything is connected.

Consider the implications of that statement.

(The Butterfly Effect)

They are…quite far-reaching….

Voice is Released!

Voice. (©2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Voice. (©2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Sex, love, and metaphysics. This intense sometimes explicit story is about what people do in the dark…especially when they’re hiding from themselves. A daring, sexy—even inspirational—read that explores relationships both familial and romantic and the tragedies that result from fractures in both. Voice is hard-hitting and unflinching…even uncomfortable…a novel for anyone who’s ever loved more than one.

After 16 years and much angst, this novel is finally seeing the light of day! It’s also my longest published novel to date, at over 120,000 words.

Voice—my sexy, visionary fiction—is now available! Is it literary? Visionary? Erotica? Romance?

Truly, it is a little of each. But, whatever it is, it is my most mainstream effort ever. As I’ve said multiple times, I never wrote it, never intended it as erotic fiction. I still don’t even picture the story that way in my head. It is a story about people. It happens to have some explicit sex scenes in it, just like some novels have explicit violence in them. It turns out I actually wrote it as more of a love story: it’s a story about a guy who falls in love with a voice in his head.

That’s it.

I never had the plot nor story outlined…it just came to me as I wrote it. And I honestly did not know how it was going to end until I hit the “.” key after the last word in the manuscript. I do not exaggerate. I remember this vividly: I was banging along on the keyboard, excited how things had unfolded…wrote the last word. Hit the period key. Went to add a next page…and paused.

It was perfect. It surprised me. I ended it right there.

I’ve written a few “apologetic” pieces about the whole “erotica thing,” but…no more apologies.

It is what it is.

Writing Voice did more than expand my writing…it expanded my mind. My understanding of what I feel I’m capable of doing. Voice helped me go to emotional depths I’d never gone to before. At least in my own head. You, the readers, will tell me if I hit the mark or not. But, writing Voice took me down emotional rabbit holes. I found ways to write about the deep, sometimes hidden and painfully emotional details deep within stories. Which is really want I’ve wanted to do and hope I can do again. I’ve always wanted to write powerfully moving stories about the human condition. I didn’t want to just write about aliens or the supernatural. I wanted to write stories that were emotionally kick-ass as well as paranormal. I want to make people cry. Anger them. Excite them. Voice helped me learn how to “go there.” In Psychic I wrote a highly unpleasant rape scene. It was needed, so I did it. I didn’t flinch away from it. That scene’s power and mechanics came from having written Voice. In The Uninvited, I wrote graphic violence. I had to. They were important to the emotional context of the story. The ability to write out those scenes grew out of having worked on Voice.

And the utter irony?

When I finally made my way back to Voice and made that decision to actually follow through and put it out there…all the work I’d done on all my other novels all came back to help in making Voice the absolutely best, the most honest, emotional, and powerfully uncomfortable work I’ve ever created. And I’m proud of it—and I don’t use words like “pride.” If it wasn’t for Voice, none of the other novels would have been as good as they are…and if it wasn’t for the other novels, Voice wouldn’t be as good as it is. Or so I’ve heard from a couple readers (you just can’t trust me…).

And it is a powerful, emotional journey…but, really, that’s up to each of you to determine. I can’t please everyone, as a couple of my reviews show.

Sex, love, and metaphysics. This intense sometimes explicit story is about what people do in the dark…especially when they’re hiding from themselves.

I love this story, the setting. The whole gestalt. ERO and Voice rank as my favorite efforts. I hope you will also get lost in Voice and find the story. I did wonder if a couple of those who proofed and read it would ever talk to me again…and, well, so far they are. So, I have that going for me…which is nice….

Of those who’ve already read it, one reader told me half jokingly she wasn’t sure she could look me in the eyes “just now” when we first talked after her having read it.

That was so cool!

We laughed!

It meant I’d written something that had her look at me differently. And if she looked at me differently…how differently was she also looking at others? The world?

That meant I had expanded someone’s Weltanschauung.

That I had given another a different perspective.

Which is SO cool!

But I hadn’t done this alone!

There were others. Named and unnamed. I can never thank enough those who took a chance on this story—and me—to read it. Those who listened patiently to my conversational angst about should-I-or-shouldn’t-I? In one case, Mandy Pratt, who did the lion’s share of proofing and editing, having spent April to July picking things apart and pointing out misspelled words (dang it!) and messing with my head with shades of meaning—and, oh, let’s not even begin to talk about my own annoying employment of M-dashes and ellipses!

Yes, she kept me honest. Thanks, Mandy!

To Edie, Amy, Karen, Lon, and Joseph—thank you all for taking time out of your life to help out in the various ways you all did! Amy—you read this twice! Amy, an actual editor, read this back in 2002 or 2003…and when I asked if she was up for reading it again, she actually leapt at the chance (okay, maybe not actually launching herself up and into the air, but consider that “artistic license”…)! Karen, for helping me refine my “pitches” (Karen was there at the beginning, waaay back at a writers conference in the late nineties—thank you for sticking with me through all this, Karen!), back cover text, sounding board, et cetera. Joseph Reininger, no longer in the book retail business, was the first to read Voice and, again, waaay back in the 90s, and his reception of it literally stunned me. Never had I ever received such glowing praise (his is the blurb in the front of the novel) for anything I’d written up to that point! And he sold books! Reads tons of them. Wow. Joseph, yes, it’s finally going to see the light of day—thank you for all of your support!

And perhaps the oddest thanks goes to Joelle Yudin.

She was an Associate Editor at HarperCollins from 2000 – 2006. I’d sent a query to a publisher, and the long-and-the-short-of-it was that it had gotten routed to her. She’d read it, and on January 3, 2003, had sent me the following note:

“<Name withheld> passed along your proposal to me for my thoughts. I found the premise to be quite intriguing and so I shared it with my colleagues. Unfortunately, I will be passing, as I could not get them excited about it. I wish you the best of luck with this.”

I looked back in my writing ledger (yes, I have one; I keep track of things like this), and on January 23, 2003, at about 11:20 a.m. MT, I called her.

Yes, actually called her and I actually got her.

I wanted to know why the oligarchy’d passed on it. I do remember she’d been so kind and easy to talk to and didn’t slough me off in the slightest. What I wrote in my ledger was that Joelle said she thought my writing was good, my “voice” (heh-heh, pardon the pun) interesting, but her colleagues thought the manuscript “small,” in that they were unsure if it would “stand up in the market.” That it was “all about the $$$.” That the “size” of the piece wasn’t “large” enough and they recommended a small publisher. Then, at the end of all my notes I’d added: “Very (underlined) nice lady and open and forthcoming. Even said ‘sorry.'”

So, Joelle, I will always remember you and your kindness…your interest in Voice. Thank you for all of it! If I can ever get in contact with you, I’m sending you a gratis copy or two!

So…here it is.

Voice.

Now what??, Mandy had asked. Now what, indeed!

I gotta find something else to work on….

****

Voice is currently available at CreateSpace, and within 3 – 5 business days (keep checking), will be available at Amazon.com.

***Note: currently I am offline because of a crashed modem. I will go back online early next week, at which time I will enable the e-books.***

If anyone would like a signed paperback, feel free to send this or any other of my work to the following address—WITH THE PROPER POSTAGE OR IT WILL NOT BE RETURNED. I will use any unreturned books as free giveaways. Send to:

F. P. Dorchak, P. O. Box 49393, Colorado Springs, CO 80949.

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Morningside Cemetery, Malone, New York

Morningside Cemetery, Malone, NY, July 16, 2015

Morningside Cemetery, Malone, NY, July 16, 2015

The next stop on our whirlwind North Country tour of July 16, 2015 was the Morningside Cemetery, in Malone, NY. Curiously, as I wrote and researched this post, I found that the cemetery is formed in the shape of a “heart”! How cool is that? Click this link to see that. What my stepmom wanted to show me was the resting place of U. S. Vice President William Wheeler (1876-1880).

I’m nodding all-knowledgeable-like when she told me this, but inside I’m, like, “Vice President William Who?!

Isn’t that terrible?

U. S. Vice President William A. Wheeler, Morningside Cemetery, Malone, New York, July 16, 2015

U. S. Vice President William A. Wheeler, Morningside Cemetery, Malone, New York, July 16, 2015

Sure, I know there are presidents and VPs that extend back beyond the age of social media history, but, um, I don’t remember them all, sorry. And I’m not a student of politics. I learned what I needed to in grade and high school and hoped it helped frame my mind for the future, but, apparently, I’m in good company, for Rutherford B. Hayes also once asked: “Who is Wheeler?

Sorry, Mr. Vice President!

There are some other notables interred here, including Orville Gibson, who founded the Gibson Guitar Company. He was also born in Chateaugay, new York—I never knew that. Apparently there was speculation Gibson suffered some form of mental illness. I don’t think we saw his gravestone, but I do believe my stepmom may have mentioned him. Click here for more information on Mr. Gibson.

Anyway, the Vice President’s resting place is beautiful—in fact the entire cemetery is. Rolling hills, tons of trees and shadows, and some really cool-looking grave art. Just like you’d expect a northeastern cemetery to look like! It was quiet, nary another (soul?) around, and the two of us just walked among the gravestones….

 

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Cheese and The Town of Chateaugay, New York

McCadam Cheese Store, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

McCadam Cheese Store, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

After visiting the Saint Patrick Cemetery, my stepmom and I did a little “tour” of the town of Chateaugay itself. It being a during a work day, it was quite deserted. There’s the town proper, then there’s also lower Chateaugay River, where a few other places, like the Hollywood Restaurant are (great restaurant, great view of the Chateaugay River, where we watched some people boat right off the river to the restaurant!).

Anyway, we stopped in Chateaugay proper to see what we could check out, but not much was open–the library and town offices were all closed. We did visit an antique store, called Ann-Tique Anny, but the “funny” thing we visited was…a cheese store!

McCadam Cheese Industrial Works, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

McCadam Cheese Industrial Works, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

Yes, the venerable North Country actually has its own brand of nationally (internationally?) known cheese: McCadam cheese! I’ve seen this cheese in stores out where I presently live, in Colorado, but I had forgotten all about their location until my stepmom, the ex-Franklin Country Clerk and Recorder (who knows everything about everything-upstate New York) took me for a drive!

This just made me laugh and smile…while not an official connoisseur of The Cheeses, I am quite the fan of The Cheeses.

Yes, cheese is almost like candy to me.

“You people” like your chocolates and sweeties and whatnots, and me and my people like our swisses and chedders and goudas. “You people” reach for milk chocolate…we reach for brie.

Sn-ap!

McCadam Cheese "Oz Scarecrow" Sign, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

McCadam Cheese “Oz Scarecrow” Sign, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

Yeah. I’m out of the Cheese Closet.

I know there are others out there…so join me in our own “rainbow” of hope…our “cheesebow,” if you will. Be proud!

Okay, enough Cheese Pride.

So, forgotten, had I, about McCadam and the North Country—I mean, I did know there was a cheese factory somewhere out here, but it was kinda cool to be reminded of it and to actually arrive at the very factory where its cheeses are made.

Well, okay, the outlet store, if you wanna get technical.

But we did drive past all the agro-industrial stuff on the way in, so one could saaay that…yeah…I’d actually been to the factory.

Kinda.

Okay, near it.

Show Us Your Sign! McCadam Cheese, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

Show Us Your Sign! McCadam Cheese, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

I loved the small-town atmosphere of the store, from the neat, folksy signs (I don’t like the term “signage”…it’s not a word, we already had a word before it came along, this new word is longer than it needs to be, so let’s stop using it!), and just the whole North Country general store thing. I like general stores. You just never know what you’re gonna find in them. In more populated locales general stores are called your Wal-Marts and Costcos, but in the less populated, rural and boondocky locations, yeah, they’re “general stores,” and I love em! They’re small, cozy, and personable.

So, we shopped around…I looked at cheese…bought a black cherry soda (in a bottle!)…and my stepmom bought gardening boots. We both had a pleasant conversation with the lady at the register, and of course she and my stepmom knew some of the same people.

Cause that’s how we roll in the North Country.

Every time I go out in public with my dad and stepmom it’s like being out with movie stars. They know everyone and everyone knows them.

Lots of Cornmeal For Scrubbing! McCadam Cheese, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

Lots of Cornmeal For Scrubbing! McCadam Cheese, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

So, out we exited, me with my black cherry bev-er-age and my stepmom with her flowered rubber boots, and we headed to our next destination: Morningside Cemetery, in Malone.

My stepmom knows how to show a guy a good time.

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Saint Patrick Cemetery, Chateaugay, New York

Saint Patrick Cemetery, Chateaugay, NY, July 16, 2015

Saint Patrick Cemetery, Chateaugay, NY, July 16, 2015

After having visited High Falls Park, my stepmom and I briefly stopped by the Saint Patrick Cemetery, which is just off the appropriately named  Cemetery Road. I’d noticed it when we drove in to visit the falls, as we hooked a left off Route 11.

Saint Patrick’s was a good-sized cemetery, and I didn’t spend too much time there, since we had other things to do and a whirl-wind schedule-of-our-own-making to meet, but my stepmom did indulge me and stop, and I did walk among the dead for a bit under an utterly gorgeous blue North Country sky with barely a cloud. Upon our return to Malone, we also stopped at the Morningside Cemetery, which will be in another post.

 

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High Falls Park, Chateaugay, New York

High Falls on the Chateaugay River, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

High Falls on the Chateaugay River, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

I never realized how close to my folk’s place a beautiful set of waterfalls existed! On July 16th of my upstate New York vacation, my stepmother and I visited High Falls Park, where the High Falls on Chateaugay River roars. It’s 120 feet high, and is defined as a “ribbon falls,” which means a waterfall whose height is notably higher than the crest width. I.e. (let’s get mathematical here), the height divided by 2 is equal or greater than the crest width. Note that there is no international standard in defining waterfalls, but the definition I took was developed by members of the Western New York Waterfall Survey of 1994, which is based on visual appearances. I found this definition in the book, Waterfalls of New York State, published by Firefly Books, which is a beautiful book!

High Falls' 200+ Steps Down

High Falls’ 200+ Steps Down

To get here, first you have to be in up-upstate New York. Then you drive to High Falls Park (click here for directions), go inside the camp store, pay your $2 (yes, it’s just $2 for adults, $1 for students and seniors), and proceed through the building and out into the back, where the trail begins. The trial is open 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., summer hours. The park is open May 1st through October 15th.

The trail is a well-maintained dirt path, where the last 350 feet is, well, um, near straight down over 200 wooden (and some stone) steps through thick New York vegetation. It’s quite the cool hike, as my pictures show!

The Chateaugay River is one of the smaller, and most northerly rivers in upstate NY. Its source is just a few miles upstream, in Clinton County, but the Waterfalls of New York State says the river officially begins in Franklin Country, where the waterfall resides. The river heads north after the falls and enters Quebec, where it is known as the Rivière Châteauguay. I love that name: “Chât-eau-guay“! This waterfall is the closest NYS waterfall to Canada.

Dragonfly on My Hand, High Falls Park Trail, NY, July 16, 2015

Dragonfly on My Hand, High Falls Park Trail, NY, July 16, 2015

My stepmom and I made our way down the 200+ steps and came out at the base of the falls, which was a rocky shore that also boasted a park bench atop one of its boulders. Out in the water of the falls (and visible in some of the pictures) was a guy fishing. As I explored the shore, I found tons of minnows in the shallows (I know “minnow” refers to a specific fish type…but I saw tons of “small fish” in the water, is my point). We spent some time there enjoying the view.

On the way out, one could proceed back up the steps, but my stepmom said there was another trail that looped back, and most likely wasn’t as steep. She’d been here before, years ago, and didn’t remember those steps we came down on…but did remember the trail we took back, which was more level—except for the last so-many yards. We did have to return to the top of the chasm! On our way there, along the Chateaugay, a dragonfly lit upon my hand. How cool! I love dragonflies!

If your knees and legs are up to it, this is a great short hike to see some spectacular North Country waterfalls! For such a stunning view, you just can’t go wrong at $2 a head!

 

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Long Live The Suicide King, by Aaron Michael Ritchey

Long Live The Suicide King, © Aaron Michael Ritchey

Long Live The Suicide King, © Aaron Michael Ritchey

A book about suicide can be a touchy thing.

This brooding novel is about a teenager going through the throes of suicidal tendencies. It puts you in the head of 17-year old JD Dillenger, as he contemplates the taking of his own life. It puts you in the head of all the high school drama and angst…of all the misguided and overconfident certainty that only comes with adolescence…but, here you’re not quite sure if it is all just high school drama and angst or the real thing. You know…for a novel.

What isn’t so misguided in this conversation is the sense of despair and what’s-the-point that seems so prevalent in today’s society—and with good reason. Look at this Forever War we’re in. The state of the world…well, at least as the media portrays it. Then throw in all the usual teenage angst to boot: messed-up friends…lack of direction…lack of self-esteem…confusing religious ideas…parents that are never around and have their own issues. School. I can see why the youth of today (hell, anyone!) feel so out of control. So hopeless.

Suicidal.

Yeah, then throw some drug use into the mix.

That is the point of Aaron Michael Ritchey’s intense and darkly humorous novel. That there is a reason to live, and we each have to find it. We have to find the parts of life that make it worth living…but we can’t always do that alone. We have to find what it is that makes life beautiful to each of us, and sometimes we need a helping hand. That there are missteps along the way…and there are definite consequences to our actions, as Ritchey points out…but we can course-correct and still make it.

In the back matter of this novel, Aaron has suicide prevention information. Aaron himself also talks about his own brush with the suicidal, so he definitely knows whereof he speaks. I know Aaron—okay, just a little bit (you see, once you meet him, everyone wants to feel they intimately know “Aaron-Michael-Ritchey“)—but what I know about him is that he is an outgoing, fun and funny—sometimes overly caffeinated?—dude. He’s a great conversationalist and just a blast to hang around and bullshit with, so, you’d never know he had such a deep, dark problem earlier in his life…which is the thing about suicidal tendencies: you can’t always know just by looking at somebody. I worked with three people who ended up taking their own lives, and I never saw “this” in any of them.

Long Live The Suicide King gives a teenager’s perspective on a dark topic, and Aaron does it quite well..so much so that I felt I was back in high school. It shows that if you have teenagers—or anyone, for that matter—with behavior like JD’s, don’t dismiss it and think it minor. Don’t chalk it up to teenage drama and ignore it. Confront it immediately. Seek professional help.

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A Walk on the W!ld Side!

The W!ld Center, Tupper Lake, New York, July 14, 2015

The W!ld Center, Tupper Lake, New York, July 14, 2015

On July 14, 2015, during my vacation to upstate New York, I made a trip to Tupper Lake, New York’s The W!ld Center, which is a natural history museum of upstate New York. Here are directions to the place. Their mission is to “Ignite an enduring passion for the Adirondacks where people and nature can thrive together and set an example for the world.” This is a really cool place that details life in the Adirondacks, from past to present. It is comprised of inside-naturalist-museum-stuff and an outside walk-through-the-woods stuff. At the museum there’s even a cafe that abuts a pond at sitting level, which is really cool! I’d wanted to visit this place for the past couple of years (it opened in 2004), but what really got my interest, was a new exhibit, called the “W!ld Walk.”

The W!ld Walk is an elevated platform, as high as 25 feet above the forest floor. It has various informative and kid-fun “stations” to visit that highlight various aspects of the Adirondack woodlands (see gallery, below). It’s a different perspective on the whole naturalist walk. My stepmom and I had fun visiting all the stations and gazing out over the forest below us. It was quite busy, and I heartily recommend a visit here!

 

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Full Voice Cover!

Voice Cover (© 2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Voice Cover (© 2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Here is the full, front-to-back cover for Voice, which I’m expecting to release August 14th…if everything goes smoothly.

This cover just stabs into my soul.

I absolutely love the design! I give Lon words, and it’s like…when he works his magic…the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts! His choice of color and font and layout all add incredible dimension to the words themselves. They take on more power…a greater enormity. It’s really cool how graphic artistry does that.

The cover is as intense and mysterious as the story itself.

I can’t wait to print out a copy and actually hold it in my hands!

I’m simply antsy with anticipation—and I hope you all are, too!

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Donnelly’s Corners 2015

Donnelly's Corners, July 14, 2015

Donnelly’s Corners, July 14, 2015

The first stop on my trip to upstate New York, the week of July 13th, 2015 was Donnelly’s Corners Soft ice Cream, at the corner of State Route 86 and 186, between Saranac Lake and Lake Clear (the address is 1564 State Route 86, Saranac Lake, New York). No trip to upstate New York is complete without a stop here! I wrote about Donnelly’s on my trip last year, so see that post for more in-depth information.

Know it. Love it. Donnelly's Corners Soft Ice Cream Flavor Schedule, 2015

Know it. Love it. Donnelly’s Corners Soft Ice Cream Flavor Schedule, 2015

Last year I arrived at Donnelly’s on a Tuesday, and this year turned out to be no exception! Tuesday means the two-flavor twister is vanilla and either red or black raspberry. Black raspberry and vanilla are my favorite Donnelly’s flavors! This was not planned, but worked out beautifully!

Donnelly’s consistently gets great reviews. Check out the Yelp pages.

Donnelly's Corners is a Very Special Place. Upstate New York Registry of Very Special Places, July, 2015.

Donnelly’s Corners is a Very Special Place. Upstate New York Registry of Very Special Places, July, 2015.

They’re open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The shack closes down after Labor Day weekend.

Donnelly’s Corners is also on the registry of “Very Special Places” in upstate New York.

So, you have the rest of the summer! Make at least one stop at this iconic upstate New York landmark! I’ve been going to it since the 1960s! There is no better ice cream!

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Just another WordPress.com weblog

Becky Clark, Author

A teenager trapped in a middle-aged body

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