ralph robert moore
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Copyright © 2003 by Ralph Robert Moore.
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always that mix
may 3, 2003
My novel Father Figure was published earlier this week by Bookbooters, in trade paperback, eBook and CD-ROM editions.
I'm honored they accepted my novel (Bookbooters rejects ninety-five percent of the manuscripts it receives), and pleased they agreed to publish it absolutely unexpurgated, every word intact.
Over the years, a number of publishers and agents expressed interest in Father Figure, but only if I agreed to "tone down" a large number of passages in the novel. Of course, I refused.
Bookbooters though is a collective run by writers, who are trying to do something very different in publishing: publish works they believe have merit, without forcing the author to submit to an editing process which homogenizes their work into what the publisher believes the public "wants". They respect the author of a work, and for that reason I respect them. This is not to say they don't thoroughly review the text, and make proofreading suggestions, but the final decision always rests with the author. What they're doing is very brave. I salute them.
Writers have favorites among their creations. Of everything I've written so far, Father Figure is my own favorite.
Part of the reason for art, I believe, is a desire on the part of the artist to survive death.
And I'm no different. I write for my own enjoyment, for the technical pleasure of the problem-solving exercise, fitting and refitting words in a sentence until that sentence clicks in place, but more so to share my thoughts, not only with my contemporaries, but to toss my thoughts into the future, a thought in a bottle that might be discovered in the back stacks of a library, the discount bins of a thrift store, the URL of a distant server, years after my death. I want people who are not born yet to someday turn to their lover in bed and read a passage I wrote; ignore the lunch beside them on the lip of a plaza fountain because they're so caught up in one of my plots; float upside down on their way to Callisto, my text illuminated on the electronic screen in their hands, their laughter and tears rising to the riveted ceiling.
The novel can be ordered here.
The trade paperback is $15.50. It's 450 pages long.
The e-book, $6.95, may be ordered in all popular electronic formats:
The CD-ROM version is $11.45. It includes the full eBook text, in multiple formats.
Here's an editorial review of the novel:
To read excerpts from Father Figure, please go here.
My dad has a bad heart.
Twenty years ago, when Mary and I moved from California to Maine, we stopped off at Greenwich, Connecticut to spend a few days with my family. During that visit, my dad went to his doctor complaining of night sweats, a general feeling of extreme tiredness, and was immediately admitted to the hospital with a leaking aortic valve. A few days later, the doctors performed open-heart surgery on him, removing his defective valve, substituting a porcine replacement.
Afterwards, he joked he sometimes felt the urge to go, "Oink! Oink!"
That's my dad.
Porcine replacement valves are only scheduled to last ten years, but he's had his for twenty.
The past week, he began experiencing extreme physical tiredness. Rising from bed would wear him out.
He's 82, but has always kept active. Just last year, he and his friend, Kay, took a long cruise down to Venezuela.
This past Monday, he checked himself into the local hospital. Tests determined the aortic valve is leaking badly, and needs to be replaced. I finally got hold of him Wednesday, after some difficulty locating him in the hospital system. He had just returned from surgery to test the viability of his arteries, and was about to be transferred to Bridgeport, for open heart surgery this past Friday.
His spirits were up, although his voice was weak. We had a long telephone talk, a lot of it him telling me the details of his will, that his funeral and grave plot were already paid for, and so on. He's looking forward to getting the operation over with, getting his strength back. And we joked a little about the different court shows on TV, which we both watch (he loves going to Stamford and sitting in on trials). "That Judge Judy, I wouldn't want to appear before her." As I always do, I ended the call telling him I love him. He told me he loved me. "I'll speak to you again, Bobby."
I called the hospital about six o'clock yesterday evening, but he was still in surgery. I tried again this morning. The operation was a success, but he's in post-op intensive care, and there are no phones in the rooms (which I remember now was the case last year when Mary was in intensive care).
But we'll speak again.
When Bookbooters first put Father Figure up for sale, this past Sunday, I brought Mary over to my computer screen to proudly show her the page devoted to buying the book. It was a big moment for me, after so many years. She bent forward, excited, grinning, to look at the page, as I started reading it to her, and just at that happy moment, one of our kittens leaped up on her hand, using the back of her hand as a springboard to get to the top of my chair, the kitten's rear claw opening up a vein on the top of Mary's hand, blood immediately bubbling up out of her hand, since her blood is so thin now, because of the coumadin she's taking to avoid another stroke.
I yanked some Kleenex out of the box, put it over the bubbling, told her to press down while I ran downstairs to get bandages.
Back upstairs, we lifted the Kleenex off, blood still bubbling up, dripping onto the floor.
I strapped a bandage in place, we pressed down on the wound. The bleeding stopped.
Blood on the floor, my Bookbooters page on the monitor.
It's always that mix, isn't it?