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ralph robert moore

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autobiographical writings
introduction

lately 1998 | lately 1999 | lately 2000 | lately 2001 | lately 2002 | lately 2003 | lately 2004 | lately 2005 | lately 2006 | lately 2007 | lately 2008 | lately 2009 | lately 2010 | lately 2011 | lately 2012 | lately 2013 | lately 2014 | lately 2015 | lately 2016 | lately 2017 | autobiography

Everything I write is about myself. Even when I write about others, real or imagined, I am still, of course, writing about me.

Soon after I started SENTENCE, I decided to include an occasional piece, on the Index page, on what was going on in my life. If I enjoy a particular author, I'm curious what their life is like, and so likewise I thought people reading my stories might enjoy having some idea of what I'm like, outside my fiction.

Originally, these pieces, which I soon titled Lately, appeared about once a month, but at the start of 2001 I decided to post them weekly. That frequency allowed me to go into greater detail not only about the more significant events in my life, but also, and maybe of greater interest, my day-to-day life.

So in the past few years I've written not only about the death of both our mothers, how I lost my day job, and got it back, the time I had to testify in court, and my wife Mary's stroke, but also about all the little events of life, getting repairs done, discovering a new store, showing up for jury duty, getting a bone marrow transplant on a tooth.

In some of those Latelys I recounted events in my life from decades ago, and after writing quite a few such reminiscences, I realized that in addition to the weekly Latelys, I also wanted to write my autobiography. To tell the story of my life, of how I got from was to am.

It's one thing to write about a specific event in life, and quite another to try to put all of one's life down on paper. I soon discovered that in order to have my autobiography make sense, and read as a story, which indeed it is, I needed to eliminate hundreds of memories I had of myself and others, because to include all those memories would reduce my autobiography to anecdote, rather a journey of self-discovery.

That, to me, has been the hardest part of writing my autobiography. While living my life I always felt someday I'd write down all my unique experiences, preserving every memory, but now I realize that can't be done. One day in the mid-eighties, while Mary and I were living in California, we parallel-parked as usual in San Mateo Park, a green pick-up swimming into the space in front of us. The driver hopped out, middle-aged man in work clothes, unhinging the logo'd gate at the back end of the pick-up's bed, pulling out, slanting down, a wide sheet of unpainted plywood, down which hobbled a gray, three-legged weimaraner. "We'll always remember this moment," I said to Mary, as both of us, in the front seat of our Mustang, bit into our roast beef sandwiches, and we will, but the recounting of it, and so many thousands of other memories, will not make the edit.

lately
introduction

I started this on-line diary back in late 1998, as a means of sharing with you what my life is like. Although a writer's interior life is often very exciting, new ideas docking against each other like space ships, most writers don't live the type of exterior lives that produce headlines. I'm no exception. Even so, I hope you enjoy the entries, and I hope they help you to get to know me a little better.

For each year, entries are presented in chronological order, starting with the earliest.

lately
1998

An American Celebration of New Friendships About to Go Bad Early November, 1998
The Future is Never as Populated as You Assumed It Would Be November 29, 1998
Like Laying Out a Flagstone Path December 22, 1998

I didn't start writing the Lately column until late 1998, and at that point wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to say. As it turned out, in the second column I wrote about the sudden death of both our mothers.

lately
1999

SENTENCE Statistics for 1998 January 2, 1999
Traveling, Transferring, Thundering February 6, 1999
I Told Him I Love Him March 27, 1999
The Best Delight May 15, 1999
Everything You Do July 10, 1999
God's Great Kindness August 13, 1999
The Bed That Will Never Have That Body in it Again September 18, 1999
Do Roses Know Their Thorns Are Painful? October 16, 1999
Nostalgic For 19 December 13, 1999

In 1999 I stayed at a frequency of about one column a month. The most personal column was on my father's visit. As things are (distance, circumstance), that visit may turn out to be the last time we meet, face to face. I also wrote about death and television, and my fond farewell to writing '19' as part of the current year.

lately
2000

SENTENCE Statistics for 1999 January 8, 2000
Fat Cats February 13, 2000
Large, Beige Box May 20, 2000
We Usually Know When Something Has Ended June 24, 2000
The Difficulties of Seeing September 3, 2000
I Get Fired October 27, 2000
Like Landing a Man on the Moon November 24, 2000
We Buried Elf Today November 30, 2000

2000 started with me, like many Americans, gloating about our good fortune on the stock market, but by the end of the year I lost my job, and a month after that, our favorite cat, Elf, died. In between those big events, I talked about an accident on the highway, and how I felt turning fifty.

lately
2001

SENTENCE Statistics for 2000 January 6, 2001
Big Shits and Little Shits March 3, 2001
The Length of My Cock March 24, 2001
Goodbye to JUMP DOWN THE HOLE March 24, 2001
Rob Moore vs. Ralph Robert Moore March 31, 2001
Green and Gray World April 7, 2001
Photographing Time April 14, 2001
Burning Words April 21, 2001
It Stays in the Ground April 28, 2001
"Wasn't That the Best Salad You've Ever Had in Your Life?" May 5, 2001
I Get Called for Jury Duty May 12, 2001
I Finish Writing My Fourth Novel May 19, 2001
SENTENCE Start May 27, 2001
That Smell of Timelessness June 3, 2001
Swelling Red Bumps June 9, 2001
My First Flash Movie June 16, 2001
One of My Own Little Miseries June 23, 2001
These Things Matter June 30, 2001
The Lady and The Periodontist July 7, 2001
Bad Luck Arrives on the Wings of Houseflies July 14, 2001
Small, Square Holes in the White Texturized Ceiling July 21, 2001
Do Insects Go To Heaven? July 28, 2001
No Place Like It August 4, 2001
"That's What It's All About" August 18, 2001
The Loneliest Sound In The World August 25, 2001
So There I Was September 1, 2001
Loud, Wet Intimacy September 8, 2001
"The Orphan, the Widow, and the Slain of America" September 15, 2001
Nothing But Blue Skies September 22, 2001
"Aram Deet, Hissa Accat!" September 29, 2001
The Surgeon's Scalpel Is A Slow Bullet October 6, 2001
Cleavable October 13, 2001
Good-Bye to the Boy in the Bones of My Face October 20, 2001
"He May Not Remember This Conversation Afterwards" October 27, 2001
Do They Not Know What's Beneath The Clothes? November 3, 2001
Silent Except For The Sound Of Me Taking Off My Jacket November 10, 2001
Like Talking To Snails November 17, 2001
And It Would All Be Free November 24, 2001
The Front Of Winter Has Not Been Kind To Us December 1, 2001
I Look At It Sometimes December 8, 2001
A Terrible Thing, To See Something New December 15, 2001
Both In Its Six-Fingered Grip December 29, 2001

In 2001, I started receiving fan mail meant for football player Rob Moore, reflected on how we're influenced by all the people in our lives, and remembered reading in bed as a child. In May I got called for jury duty, and had to testify in court on an unrelated matter later in the year. I had to review all the archived documents related to the company I used to work for, and we celebrated the tenth anniversary of Mary and me living in our house. I ended 2001 getting bone marrow surgery on a molar. This was also the year, of course, of September 11.

lately
2002

SENTENCE Statistics for 2001 January 5, 2002
We Continue To Struggle With Machines January 12, 2002
When Dancers Are Farthest Apart January 19, 2002
What If God Is Stupid? January 26, 2002
If We Could Just Step Back February 23, 2002
All Of Them With Shopping Carts March 2, 2002
Mad Dog Weed, Skull Cap, Dong Quai March 9, 2002
As Tightly Fisted As A Magician's Hand Just Before The Magic March 16, 2002
The Drizzle Outside The Windows That Goes On For Hours March 23, 2002
Unbelievable March 30, 2002
The Most Romantic Notion In The World April 6, 2002
"They're Sending A 28,000 Pound Burger To The International Space Station!" April 13, 2002
Note April 20, 2002
Update May 4, 2002
very caution June 1, 2002
"I Want To Make My Movie" June 8, 2002
Someday June 15, 2002
Pedaling Towards Good Health June 22, 2002
More Popular Than Real Huge Boobs June 29, 2002
Picture of Mary July 6, 2002
Fun With Our Bodies July 13, 2002
Biggest, Scariest, Drained July 20, 2002
Arnie Maddox: A Little Bit About Me July 27, 2002
Arnie Maddox: The Crying Squirrel August 3, 2002
Arnie Maddox: Lipton's Beef Stroganoff August 10, 2002
Arnie Maddox: Who Am I? August 17, 2002
Arnie Maddox: Not An Easy Thing To Do August 24, 2002
Arnie Maddox: Date Supplies August 31, 2002
I See Like Superman September 7, 2002
We're Buying A New Blouse September 14, 2002
Like The Invisible Man's Bandaged Head September 21, 2002
Familiar Phantom September 28, 2002
In Any Event October 5, 2002
The Colors of Life October 12, 2002
Machine Happenstance October 19, 2002
This Glorious Week Of Laziness October 26, 2002
Let's Twist November 2, 2002
We Will Never, Ever Know All That Our Mothers Did For Us November 9, 2002
No One Was Impressed November 16, 2002
Hot Aluminum Tubs Full Of Turkey November 23, 2002
Like A Flying Saucer That Smells Really Good November 30, 2002
Hands Grasping Empty Air For The Ropes Of Church Bells December 7, 2002
And Then Made That Wall Be Heaven December 14, 2002

We started 2002 with a visit from Mary's dad. A month or so later, I wrote about strange dreams from my childhood. Mary had a devastating stroke in April of 2002. I wrote about the stroke itself, her stay at the hospital, and her return home, here, here, and here. Later in the year, as Mary continued her recovery, I thought up new ways to make money, our cat, Lady, gave birth to five kittens, and I recalled all the famous people I've met.

lately
2003

Calling When No One Is There January 11, 2003
Just One More Square On The Calendar January 18, 2003
SENTENCE Statistics for 2002 January 25, 2003
Waving Over Her Head A Ruler February 1, 2003
The Springy Plastic Of Their Stitches February 8, 2003
"They Wouldn't Know What To Do" February 22, 2003
The Only Diaphragm Approved By God March 1, 2003
Small, Glass Ghosts March 8, 2003
That Page, That Cat, That Date March 15, 2003
Then The Old People Started Throwing Up March 22, 2003
Such A Normal Thing To Do March 29, 2003
In Memorium: Rudo (1990 - 2003) April 5, 2003
Nostagic For Bad Weather April 12, 2003
That Solid Touch of Flesh and Bone April 19, 2003
The 'RG' Factor April 26, 2003
Always That Mix May 3, 2003
One of Our Finest Accomplishments May 10, 2003
Burglars in Black Clothes I Have to Throw Chairs At May 17, 2003
How Many People Are in My Mouth? June 7, 2003
A Diamond's Plumbing June 14, 2003
All I Need to Remember June 21, 2003
Handcuffs for Babies June 28, 2003
The Tiniest Green Bell Pepper in the World July 5, 2003
Folded Dollars in his Donated Clothes July 12, 2003
A Belief in Magic July 19, 2003
A Wonder to the Whole Fucking World July 26, 2003
The Shape Keeps Changing August 2, 2003
New Uses for Fruitcake August 9, 2003
Do Insects Have Names for Each Other? August 16, 2003
Sometimes I Feel Like I'm Living in a Low Budget Science Fiction Movie August 23, 2003
1,127,347 Words August 30, 2003
Nothing So Cool as a Twelve-Foot Stepladder September 6, 2003
Me So Tired September 13, 2003
Fear of 2.3 Robs September 20, 2003
If Actresses Were Lamps September 27, 2003
Discovered by Dogs October 4, 2003
The Tragedy of Very Expensive Scrambled Eggs October 11, 2003
Her Heart October 18, 2003
"No, But I Do Have a Turkey" October 25, 2003
Like Waves Crashing November 8, 2003
Unfamiliar Men November 15, 2003
I Should Be So Lucky December 1, 2003

At the beginning of 2003 I was thinking about all the weird coincidences Mary and I have had in our lives. I constructed an imaginary castle while trying to fall asleep, tried Google's translation software, had further bone graft surgery on my teeth, and killed a bunch of ants. This was also the year our cat Rudo died.

lately
2004

We've Always Been Sitting Out Here January 5, 2004
I Don't Want to be a Wineglass February 1, 2004
The Most Precious, Which We Cannot Hold March 1, 2004
There's Always a Line April 1, 2004
The Sword Gets Shorter Over the Years May 1, 2004
Born Between Fire June 1, 2004
As If Surfing July 1, 2004
"Look At This!" August 1, 2004
Thunder, or Trucks? September 1, 2004
The Future is Orange October 1, 2004
Listen to the Banjos in the Sky November 1, 2004
Floored December 1, 2004

Once Spring returned to north Texas, I spent an entire day sawing down a huge tree limb. In May, our beloved, cranky cat Chirper died. In July, I was thinking of risky things I did as a kid, and in October, I recalled board games and processed foods from my childhood. In November, like everyone else with an Internet connection, I commented on the upcoming presidential election.

lately
2005

"There's My Rainbow!" January 1, 2005
Bones Bleed February 1, 2005
This is the World of Prayer March 1, 2005
Ready to Slap You Awake April 1, 2005
Sometimes Even Better Than Sex May 1, 2005
Our Raven is Red June 1, 2005
What Waterfalls We'll Wash Under July 1, 2005
Cow Appreciation Day August 1, 2005
Rob the King is Naked September 1, 2005
Like the Ghosts They Became October 1, 2005
Brewing Coffee for a Firehouse November 1, 2005
Be in Snow December 1, 2005

Mary and I had to appear before a judge in order for her to be awarded Social Security disability benefits for her stroke. Mary's dad, Joe, visited us again for the Christmas holidays, but broke his arm during his visit. In July, I lost my job, and the next month had to pack up all the files I had at home and ship them to my former company. I needed my Social Security card in order to apply for a new job, and had to search everywhere for it.

lately
2006

Crash January 1, 2006
Years Before I Arrived February 1, 2006
The Past is in the Sky March 1, 2006
But Not Here April 1, 2006
She Brightened May 1, 2006
Do You Ever Do That? June 1, 2006
Some Thoughts on 'The Sopranos' July 1, 2006
"We Are Required To Ask, Sir" August 1, 2006
Is That Water Ever Going to Boil September 1, 2006
But a Boy October 1, 2006
I've Never Seen an Empty One November 1, 2006
Something Once So Wild December 1, 2006

Early in the year, I wrote about the rapturous joy of eating steamed clams. We went through a couple of deaths this year, Mary's sister, Katie, and later in the year, my Dad. In the late Fall I lost my job, then came down with a bad cold, but overall, it was a pretty good year.


lately
2007

Humble as a Bumblebee January 1, 2007
A Lot of Better Sentences Died During Those Years February 1, 2007
The Two Futures March 1, 2007
Pointless Africa April 1, 2007
The Sky Is Going to Kill People Today May 1, 2007
The World Again June 1, 2007
By the Birds July 1, 2007
Please Press One August 1, 2007
Not Netflixable September 1, 2007
Let the World Leak October 1, 2007
On the Best of Days November 1, 2007
I Was Fascinated by How Tall the Sandwich Was December 1, 2007

In February I asked a number of editors of literary journals why they don't accept email submissions. A month later, Mary and I tried to figure out the meaning to mysterious objects we occasionally find in our home. I tried turning the subject lines of spam emails into a poem, had an encounter, early one morning, with a live crawfish on our sidewalk, found out how a problem can lead to a great gift, and towards the end of the year realized our world is imperfect, but that's okay.


lately
2008

In the Details January 1, 2008
Confessions of a Male Model February 1, 2008
Dead Flies Floating Past Ice Cubes March 1, 2008
The Safety of Shadows April 1, 2008
The Middle Stays Raw May 1, 2008
Some People Are Afraid to Bring Their Ribs to Memphis June 1, 2008
"I'm Taking Care Of It Now" July 1, 2008
That Scary Emptiness We Always Knew Was There August 1, 2008
HBO Switches to Toned-Down Versions of Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm September 1, 2008
The Seventh White Styrofoam Bowl October 1, 2008
More Precious Than Diamonds or Silver or Gold November 1, 2008
Like Chocolate Milkshake December 1, 2008

In January I did an analysis of the absurd criteria used by the Motion Picture Association of America for their "ratings reasons". The next month, I devoted a column to what people say to your face, versus what they really think of you. Later in the year, I sprained my back, talked about a power outage in our home, and discussed where I get my ideas. In October, I wrote about the death of our cat, Athena.


lately
2009

The Tunnel to Taste God January 1, 2009
Maybe We Won't Find It Funny Anymore February 1, 2009
Our Love Is Everywhere We've Been March 1, 2009
Too Bad You Can't Sell It As A Sandwich April 1, 2009
It Was A Lot Of Fun Knocking On All Those Doors May 1, 2009
Remove The Eyes June 1, 2009
Our Small Large World Without Answers September 1, 2009
Out Into The Birds And Heat And Insect Noise October 1, 2009
It Safely Stays A Mystery November 1, 2009
Waving Our Arms Under The White Sky December 1, 2009

In February we had a month of petty irritations. As bad as that month was, September was far worse, when we went through one disaster after another. But there were plenty of good times throughout the year as well. I Googled our favorite restaurants across America, some of which we hadn't visited in decades, to see if they were still in business, and in November I took a virtual tour of interesting-sounding restaurants around the world. I also found time to reminisce about the old-fashioned Geocities family pages that were rapidly disappearing from the Web.


lately
2010

How To Say Goodbye January 1, 2010
How I Move My Head February 1, 2010
Blinding Whiteness On The Ground March 1, 2010
Water Sustains Life, But Destroys Everything Else April 1, 2010
Things I Think Of While I Try To Fall Asleep May 1, 2010
Usually, It's A Prank June 1, 2010
Shooting Chicken July 1, 2010
As So Often Happens August 1, 2010
Note September 1, 2010
The Big Fingers October 1, 2010
Little Birds November 1, 2010
Rest In Joy December 1, 2010

I started off the year compiling the different tag lines reality competition shows use to dismiss a contestant. In February, I initiated a new feature on SENTENCE, a video Lately that would accompany each month's text Lately. I began work on a documentary on Joe's life (Mary's dad), and discussed my 5 favorite simple foods. In August, something wonderful happened as we were mowing the lawn. Joe died suddenly, but soon after that, as we had with Mary's mom, we received communications from the other side.


lately
2011

It's Possible To Be Polite And Still Be Rude January 1, 2011
I Smell Blood February 1, 2011
Better Living Through Water Vapor March 1, 2011
No Sun Inside My Chest Or Skull April 1, 2011
Eat Them As They Want To Be Eaten May 1, 2011
South of the Border June 1, 2011
It Was Just Really Odd July 1, 2011
Pinkly Lick Up August 1, 2011
Note September 1, 2011
As If We Were Timing It Like Thunder October 1, 2011
All Our Ghosts Were Gone November 1, 2011
That's The Way Cats Work December 1, 2011

I started off the year discovering that even polite people can be rude. Mary and I decided to get our wills done, just one of the many steps you take as you start to age. As summer approached, in June, I devoted a Lately to all my favorite Mexican food recipes. Towards fall, one of our cats, Sheba, died in our bed while we held him. A month or so after that, a powerful storm blew through our neighborhood, leaving us without electricity, Internet access, and phone service.


lately
2012

Both With Firm Handshakes January 1, 2012
Conscious of the Clock February 1, 2012
How I Do It March 1, 2012
"Did You Ever, In Your Wildest Imagination...?" April 1, 2012
The City Was Destroyed May 1, 2012
Unfortunately June 1, 2012
I Get a Colonoscopy July 1, 2012
Until The Cows Come Home And Get Turned Into Cheeseburgers August 1, 2012
"Have You Heard?" September 1, 2012
55 Questions October 1, 2012
Probably Not Too Far Away November 1, 2012
A Peach That Will Bring You To Dreams December 1, 2012

In April, Mary and I bought a pair of guns. We didn't use them the next month when we had to destroy a massive bee hive inside our roof, calling out a professional instead. I had a colonoscopy a couple of months later, which was certainly a new experience for me. In October I answered 55 questions, and the following month we had to completely replace our downstairs heating and air conditioning system.


lately
2013

Like God Looking Down Into Our Day January 1, 2013
Rolling In Place February 1, 2013
As Dead As Me March 1 and April 1, 2013
And There's No Wall May 1, 2013
When You're Young, You're Kind June 1, 2013
Maybe Sometimes Owning A Tuxedo Makes A Difference July 1, 2013
We Survive in Quotes August 1, 2013
I Have Probably Eaten Thousands September 1, 2013
Dramatic Drum Roll October 1, 2013
All The Demons Retreat To The Restroom November 1 and December 1, 2013

Early in the year I had to kill a rodent in the attic. In May I reminisced about all the jobs I've held in my life. I also discussed the ark my grandparents' neighbors built, how we survive in quotes, and near the end of the year met for lunch with some of the characters from my stories.


lately
2014

The Kindness of Enemies January 1, 2014
Sometimes You Don't Solve February 1, 2014
Turtles in the Attic (Again) March 1, 2014
Imperfection June 1, 2014
I'm Jessica Lange July 1, 2014
You're No Longer the Cure August 1, 2014
Run That Red Light September 1, 2014
I Am Waiting October 1, 2014
Ghosters November 1, 2014
Like They Do In Movies December 1, 2014



lately
2015

Revived And Presentable February 1, 2015
Your Body Is A Hotel March 1, 2015
Mashed Potatoes April 1, 2015
Cat-strated May 1, 2015
New, Expanded Edition of Father Figure July 1, 2015
Dark And Anonoymous August 1, 2015
Featureless Horizon September 1, 2015
EAP: RRM Remix October 1, 2015
Waiting Redux November 1, 2015



lately
2016

Because It Never Existed January 1, 2016
To Protect The Ones I Love February 1, 2016
What Makes Us Happy, What Do We Return To? March 1, 2016
Like They're Colors April 1, 2016
My Many Murders May 1, 2016
And I Will Be So Happy June 1, 2016
But Would You Agree It's Also Kind of Hilarious? July 1, 2016
Just A Shell I Left Behind Some Bushes August 1, 2016
To Spray Water Down Like Applause September 1, 2016
You Can Never Spit It All Out November 1, 2016



lately
2017

Life Tip 516c January 1, 2017
The Next Mother February 1, 2017


welcome to me
introduction

volume one: the crib years

section one | section two

All autobiographies are false, whether they're lines on a face, an airplane or bar conversation, or structured sentences. We're born with two mysteries: the mystery of life and the mystery of ourselves, and we don't solve either in the short gaming time we're given. All we can do is guess.

What follows is a read of my life. Throughout, I've tried always to be honest. When it suits my purposes. Because so much material has to be left out of any autobiography, in order to show patterns, I cannot give the truth of my life, but rather only a sense of my life.

The links above are to the first two of three sections comprising Volume One: The Crib Years. Additional sections will be added as I write them.