ralph robert moore
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Copyright © 2015 by Ralph Robert Moore.
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Return to lately 2015.
revived and presentable
february 1, 2015
Q: So what have you been up to lately? It's been a while since we talked.
A: We've been enjoying the luxury of not having to go out. That's the best, when Mary and I just wake up when we want, eat when we want, do whatever we want. Wandering through our rooms, looking out our windows. Birds, squirrels, butterflies. Cats inside, four-pawed on white carpet or polished wood, looking up at our impossible heights, meowing. If one or the other of us wakes up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep, it really doesn't matter, because we own our days. We don't have to do anything we don't want to do when a new morning starts. The only annoyance the occasional ring of the sunlit phone on our bedroom desk from telemarketers, but that's so easy to ignore.
It's really nice being home. You have everything you need right there. No reason to go out. When Mary had her stroke, back in 2002, it was absolutely devastating to us, but the end result was that it evolved into us realizing our greatest dream, being able to stay home with each other twenty-four hours a day. Who could want more? A crisis is almost always an opportunity.
Q: How about your writings?
A: As periodically happens, I went through a period where I felt uninspired. All these hastily scribbled notes for story ideas in my hands, and looking at them, their cross-outs and misspellings, I just didn't feel any interest in developing the sighs and knives into actual stories. What's usually called writer's block. They were too pat, too similar to what I've already done. "Say something once, why say it again?" And this birth that doesn't work out is something that comes up on a regular basis, like a menstrual cycle. I really do believe writer's block is your subconscious telling you, It's time to try something different. So rather than panic, I just waited for the good ideas to arrive. Which they always do. A lot of times, in those situations, I find it's best to think about my past. The situations I've been in, the people I've known. There's always a lot of great story ideas in those memories.
Q: So you're writing again?
A: Yeah. My writer's block occurred late last year. An early Christmas present. Since then I've written "Not Everything Has a Name" (7,800 words); "Thursday" (4,500); and "Same Thing for Breakfast" (7,800). And I'm about to belly-flop into a new story, with two or three viable story ideas in the white mists beyond that. I usually write a story a month.
A: I feel good, physically. Some minor problems. You know. As you get older, you start to wear out, but that process takes a long time. I've been blessed with excellent health all my life, so I expect that unfair advantage to continue. (Until that inevitable day when it doesn't.) That's a lesson you learn from gardening: Strong shoots tend to turn into hardy plants; weak shoots droop and dry no matter how much you water them.
Q: What do you think about while you fall asleep? Is it something different each night?
A: No, it's usually the same. As I've gotten older, I've had more and more trouble falling asleep at night, and staying asleep. A worry is that I'll wake up at some point with a great story idea, because that's so inconvenient to write down in the darkness. I have to bend over the edge of the mattress, finger-find my yellow legal pad and a pen, figure which end of the pen is the clickable end, then write down the thought, because I can't see the paper in front of me, in large, block letters. If it's an elaborate idea it's a real pain in the ass. But I do feel a duty to write all the ideas down; you never know where they'll lead. They're clues, and I'm a detective.
Q: Tell me a great recipe that's fucking fantastic, but doesn't involve a lot of steps.
A: One of my favorite morning meals-- we have it once a month, on Saturdays-- is a steak and pepper sandwich. For two people, buy a rib eye steak, a green and red bell pepper, and two soft sub rolls. Cut the bell peppers into strips and fry them in olive oil. Fry the steak, seasoned heavily with seasoning salt and lemon pepper, in a separate pan, also in olive oil, until the steak is dark, the inside still rare. Slice the top of each roll open. Microwave for twenty seconds. Heavily moisten the warm white interiors of the rolls with a vinaigrette dressing-- Italian dressing works best. Slice the rib eye into thick strips, cutting away any gristle. Load each sub with both peppers, and sliced steak. It is absolutely, juice rolling down your wrists, delicious. Most recipes have one ingredient that really makes the meal, and in this case it's the vinaigrette. The acidity cuts through the richness of the steak and peppers.
Q: What are you currently watching on TV?
A: Is this where I'm supposed to name all these high-quality shows to establish how refined I am? But I can't. The Bachelor, Celebrity Apprentice, Justified, American Horror Story: Freak Show, Banshee, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, American Idol, Face Off, Modern Family, a whole bunch of cooking competition shows, and movies we DVR'd like Last of the Mohicans, Atonement, Eyes Wide Shut, Broken Arrow. On DVD, we're going through the first seven seasons of the American version of The Office. We're in season 6 right now. Earlier today we saw Scott's Tots. "I thought by the age of thirty I'd be a millionaire. But I wasn't. Then I thought I'd be a millionaire at forty. But at forty I had less money than I did when I was thirty." Absolutely heartbreaking.
Q: What's the best organ?
A: If you're talking about for eating, it's the liver. I absolutely love chicken livers. Sear them until they're blackly bronzed in butter, interior still ruby, then eat them right out of the skillet, caught on the tips of your fork's tines. If you're talking otherwise, it's skin. Holding the hand of someone you love is feeling the warmth of their soul. Mary and I hold hands a lot.
Q: If you could have dinner with any dead person, who would it be?
A: Okay. Assuming they're revived and presentable? Because otherwise, not too appetizing. Probably no one I knew in life, because chances are I've already had dinner with them, or didn't for a reason. And probably not a famous historical personage like Julius Caser or Galileo, because of the language problem. It'd be embarrassing. We'd be reduced to hand gestures and exaggerated facial expressions. So probably Julia Child. And we'd ask her to cook the meal. Which I'm sure she wouldn't mind doing. Pretty nice bragging rights. Next day at work, Brad comes waltzing in and says something like, We had scallop roe with burnt kale last night, and we can say something like, Oh, okay, that must have been 'interesting.' But guess what? We had a dead person cook our dinner last night. And you know who that dead person was? Julia fucking Child. Yeah, that's right, Brad. Put your right hand on the bottom of your chin and push up. Your jaw is hanging open. Of course, this is all contingent on the dead dinner guest not coming back as a zombie, because then that's a different conversation.
Q: What would make the world a better place?
A: If at our location in north Texas we could order fresh produce over the Internet, and get it delivered to our front door. And world peace, etc.