Ruminations is where I share works in progress. Please follow the pointers below to learn more about me and the stories you’ll find on these pages. Thank you for visiting. Please return and tell a friend.
Who is Tom Abate and what does he write about?
Stories and commentary based on research, interviews, and observations.
Satire, fiction, humor, and advice from the Dead Blogger’s Society.
Experiences and events that formed my character and inform my work and beliefs.
Chalk that up to the foolishness of youth. But even now, pushing 70, I’m still trying to catch soap bubbles before they pop.
In June of 1980 I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where I’d been editor of the campus newspaper. That experience convinced me that journalists were a sick breed, and that I ought to be one of them. The sensible career path would’ve been to gather my clips and look for a job at a small-town daily, working long hours for low pay and learning bitterness. Instead, I decided to start an alternative newspaper. But where? I had put...Read More
A chance encounter over the Fourth of July weekend should make us wonder why some Americans seem ready to discard freedoms that rest of world envies.
It had been the stranger across the table who started a conversation that veered toward irony this Fourth of July weekend. “Smoke not good,” he had said, in accented English. “Too much particulate matter.” We were seated at an outdoor coffee shop and the breeze had carried the scent past him a moment before it reached me. “Barbeque?” he guessed. I sniffed and shook my head. “Paper,” I replied, then made the leap from his black hair and Asian features...Read More
I took this to heart and spent 30 years practicing nonfiction. Have I learned enough to make stuff up convincingly?
In 1990, I gave up trying to publish a novel based on my experiences as an enlisted man serving in the U.S. Navy around the time that the fall of Saigon ended the Vietnam War. I made the decision to become a journalist rather than a novelist after getting a thoughtful rejection letter from Robert Giroux, a now deceased founding partner of the literary house Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. In those days, when it was still possible to get an...Read More