ralph robert moore
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Copyright © 2003 by Ralph Robert Moore.
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that page, that cat, that date
march 15, 2003
When Mary had her stroke at work on April 17, 2002, she was immediately rushed by ambulance to the nearest emergency room. Since then, all her personal effects at her job have just been sitting in her office. Last week, we arranged with Mary's friend, Gayle, to pack up all Mary's personal belongings and ship them to us.
They arrived here at our home this past Monday, March 10, in a box about the same size you use when moving on.
The box was packed to the lids. Mary pulled out two lightweight jackets she used to keep in her office, looking at them again for the first time in about a year. A heavy box the size of a hardcover book turned out to contain all the change she had thrown into her desk drawer over the years. The coins, released when she unknowingly tilted the box, spilled all over our bed, waterfalling off the edge, onto slippers and carpet.
There were a few old issues of Time magazine, two trays of her business cards, each about half-full, one with the company's name before its name change, one with the new name. A few framed pictures of me. I remember Mary deciding, years and years ago, which ones she would bring in. Some coffee mugs. A cat calendar, one of those square-shaped calendars you put on your desk, with a page for each day of the year, each page featuring a photograph of a cat. At the end of each work day, you rip off the top page, baring the page for the next day. The calendar was stopped at the page for April 17, 2002, the day of Mary's stroke.
As we knew it would be, but it was still eerie seeing that page, that cat, that date.
We threw out the old Time magazines, added the change, once we had scooped it all up, to a big black and white porcelain bowl we have in our kitchen, already filled to a treasure chest's level with coin. I asked Mary what she wanted to do with the cat calendar. Keep it? Throw it out?
She looked down at the square-shaped calendar in her hands, the cheerful, curly-fonted date. "Let's keep it."
"Yeah. Let's keep it."
If you're a regular visitor to SENTENCE, you may notice it looks a little different this week.
As I've mentioned in a couple of recent Latelys, I've been restructuring SENTENCE to give it a cleaner look, and to make it easier to navigate the site.
I remember when I first started this site, in January of 1998, how proud I'd feel whenever I added a new internal link to the Index page, representing yet another section on-line. Over the years, though, so many internal links have been added that I was up to forty-three individual sections, most of which then branched off to any number of subsections.
For example, if a visitor wanted to read my fiction, there were thirteen different links they had to choose from to decide if they wanted to read excerpts from my novels, or read my early short stories, my Sex Act stories, Antarctica, and so on.
What I've done now is establish twelve major pages for SENTENCE.
If you want to read my fiction, instead of trying to choose from thirteen different links, you just go to the fiction page, which includes links on that page to all the fiction which appears on this site, as well as my commentary on each type of fiction.
Same thing for my essays, for the interactive features on the site, and so on.
It makes everything much simpler.
Some of the twelve pages are rather long, the gray scroll bar at the right side of the screen shrinking up towards the top, but I kind of like that. There are a number of different theories as to how long a web page should be, some people believing you should never have a page longer than will fit on a monitor's screen without scrolling, but I realized I've always been attracted to the opposite, to pages where the scroll bar is a thin line, suggesting vast content waiting below the monitor's screen for the touch of my mouse.
Now that I've cleaned up the twelve major pages, I'm beginning the process of cleaning up the content pages, of which there are hundreds. For my purposes, a content page is one that features the text of a short story, novel excerpt, essay, Lately entry. For an example of how the new content pages will look, peek at the page for my short story big inches.
Some of you might reasonably say, I like the new design, Rob, but why is your stupid face plastered on each page?
The answer to that is that when I visit a site, especially an author's site, I like to know what the writer looks like. Much like when I'm considering buying a book, I'll usually turn the book over in my hands to see the photograph on the back cover, or when I'm in a cemetery, I'll usually gravitate towards those headstones that feature a circular, weatherproof picture of the occupant.
I guess I just like faces.