“I contain multitudes,” boasted Whitman in his Song Of Myself. Charles G. Hill, ur-blogger and proprietor of Dustbury.com, contained multitudes as well, perhaps more so than Whitman. He was a frequent commenter here, leaving about 160 different notes and linking to here from Dustbury a dozen or so times. His own blog offered perspectives on NBA basketball, women’s fashion, My Little Pony fanfic, the music of Rebecca “Friday” Black, and other topics seemingly without political, or moral, limit. He had an adult son, and he had once had a family, but in his seventh decade he conceived a tremendous fondness for TTAC’s (and, occasionally, Hagerty’s) transgender contributor Cameron Aubernon.
On September 3, 2019, Hill was involved in an auto accident which paralyzed him from the neck down. He died a few days later. In recent years he had been laid low — by financial troubles, by advanced spinal stenosis, by power outages and other freak occurrences. His output on Twitter and in his own blog more and more frequently referenced the debilitating pain in which he found himself. We’d had a conversation a few years back in which he expressed a lack of conviction that things could possibly improve. He wasn’t self-pitying; rather, he simply understood the facts of the matter well enough not to delude himself with further hope.
It shames me that I didn’t notice Hill’s absence from the Web for a few months. Truthfully speaking, I figured he had a long way left to go. It wasn’t until the past week that I thought to check in at Dustbury, only to see that the site hadn’t been updated since what I now know to be the day before the crash. Many people have written eulogies for him in the months since. This is perhaps the most comprehensive of them and it would reward a few minutes of your attention, the same way that Dustbury.com itself would keep almost any intelligent fellow occupied for quite some time.
Of all the things that Charles wrote, what sticks with me is a casual comment he made on this very site six years before his death, with regards to the song “All The Things You Are”
I know the song; I learned it from Sinatra, who waxed it before I was born. It’s a cynical age, though: no one even wants to try to sell wistful. And if I ever felt that way about anyone — well, it hardly matters now.
Godspeed, Charles G. Hill. To your perception, your pain, your loneliness, your sorrow. To the multitudes contained in you.