Guest Author Roger Moore. A story plus 4Q Interview
Today on the Scribbler we're excited to be trying a new format. There is a wonderful short story followed up by a 4Q Interview with Professor Emeritus Roger Moore who is an award-winning academic,
poet, short story writer, novelist, film maker and visual artist. You can discover more about this talented gentleman by visiting his links below. Remembrance Day has been featured on commuterlit.com. Copyright is held by the author. Used by permission.
old man watched a drop of red wine slide slowly down the side of the bottle.
was November 11, his birthday.
years ago, Father John had taken the boy's ear lobe between thumb and
forefinger and pinched the nail deep into the flesh until the blood ran.
afternoon you will go down to the bamboo grove and cut a cane. Bring that cane
to me and I will bless it."
night, the boy woke up. Snuffles, snores, and an occasional sob broke the dormitory's
silence. The bamboo was a long, cold serpent drawn up in bed beside him.
next day he awoke to his seventh birthday.
John beckoned and the boy followed him to his cell and knelt with his hands
stretched out like those of Christ on the Cross. The priest struck him with the
bamboo cane six times on each hand.
Your Savior, blessed be His name, suffered more, much more for you," the
priest sighed. "Examine your soul. Find fault with each flaw, for you are
boy spent his birthday kneeling in prayer. He contemplated the wounds of
Christ. He imagined each blow of the hammer and imagined the pain of cold nails
biting into his warm flesh. He tasted bitter vinegar as it dripped off the
sponge, gasped at the thrusting spear, felt the lash's sting as it fell across his
flesh. He became the flagellated Christ and knelt before the crucifix, staring
at himself eyeball to eyeball in the same way he looked at himself in the
crucified Christ gazed back at him, his brother, his soul mate, his double.
eye you see is not an eye because you see it," Father John droned on.
"It is an eye because it sees you. Christ sees you as you kneel there. He
sees. He knows. He judges. Examine your soul with care," the priest raised
his right hand and made the sign of the cross in the empty air. "Stay
there until I return."
an hour, a red drop of paint slipped slowly from the nail hole in Christ's
right hand. The boy blinked. The red drop trembled then fell.
two hours, Christ opened his eyes and smiled at the boy.
three hours, salt-water formed at the corner of Christ's eye. It glistened in a
sunbeam that entered through the cell's narrow window.
After four hours, tears began to flow down
flesh and painted wooden face.
was Remembrance Day, the boy's birthday. He was seven years old.
years later, the old man sat at the table. He watched the red wine trickle down
the bottle. He remembered it all and his tears flowed again.
4Q: When did you
RMI was sent to a boarding school at an
early age, when I was six or seven years old. I don't remember when exactly,
and I don't remember much about the first two boarding schools I attended. What
I do remember is being sat down every Sunday morning at a desk in a classroom
along with all the other boys and being told to write a letter home to my
parents. Those letters were censored and the resultant mild-as-milk prose was
mailed home once a week. The reality of what I went through at my first two
boarding schools and the wonderful words of the weekly letter praising the
virtues of the boarding school life remain in my mind as a constant reminder of
the ability of words to contrast the world that is with the world as it ought
to be. I continued the habit of the weekly letter home until I left school at eighteen
years old. Letter writing has continued as a constant in my life, reinforced
now by the wonder of e-mail. Another constant is the real journal that I kept,
written under the bedclothes by flashlight and telling a different story from
the official one, yet just as false as the weekly letter. The third school I
was sent to, age eleven, was very different and much less oppressive; it allowed
more freedom, encouraged a certain amount of autonomy and creativity: the
content of my letters surely changed as a result. Certainly my out-of-class
writing did, and one of the first poems that I remember writing imitated the
style of the Villon ballades that we were studying in French class. This poem of
which I can still remember the refrain dates back to when I was fourteen years
4Q: How and when did
you become interested in multi-media?
RMIn 1995 I was invited by members of the
Faculty of Education at the University of New Brunswick to become involved in
the Oaxaca Project, a Faculty Exchange Program with the Escuela de Idiomas in the Universidad
Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, in Mexico. When I arrived in Oaxaca, I
presented four traditional seminars on teaching second languages to a faculty group
that was computer literate. Even the students knew more about computers than I
did. I found this lack of knowledge on my part to be a source of much
embarrassment and I swore to take steps to improve my knowledge of the uses of
technology. The next year, 1996, I won
two university awards, one for teaching and one for research.While the teaching award offered no financial
reward, the research award did and I invested my winnings in the first phase of
a Certificate of Multi-Media Studies at the University of New Brunswick. I
started the certificate in 1996 and finished it in 1999. I began the
Certificate with a phobia for computers, but by the time I finished the
certificate, my wife and I had built a webpage and had posted the first Ongoing
Online Quevedo Bibliography, Francisco de Quevedo being the seventeenth-century
Spanish poet on whose works I did my doctoral studies at the University of
Toronto. Clare and I have always been interested in photography and we soon built
web pages that showed aspects of the archaeological sites in the Oaxaca Valley.
I was very interested in the possibilities of online teaching and several of my
own courses soon involved having the students build their own webpages onto
which they posted their essays. The traditional essay thus morphed into the web
page creation. In 2002 I was granted a half-sabbatical and I enrolled in the
Digital Film and Video Course run by Tony Merzetti at UNB. This allowed me to
develop an interest in both film and video and my short film Birthday Suit, adapted from one of my own
short stories of the same name, won second place in the Rogers Viewers Prize in
the NB Silver Screen Film Festival of 2004. I wrote, directed, edited, and
produced Birthday Suit, under the guidance
of Tony Merzetti, my NB Film Co-op mentor, and participated in one way or
another, both in front of and behind the camera, with another dozen New
Brunswick short films. My webpage contains a description of the making of this
movie. In 2007, I was invited to deliver the Sixteenth Milham Lecture at UNB
and the making of this movie was the subject of that lecture.
RMMy childhood was, in many ways, lost. I was
(and still am) an only child and I scarcely remember my parents. They both
worked and I only ever saw them on the evenings and weekends during school
holidays. Looking back, I realize how little I knew and know about them. My own
reality was a life at boarding school that was remarkably unpleasant in the
first two schools, but not too bad in the third school, the one I attended from
age 11 until age 18. My childhood at home was a shuffling from grandparent to
grandparent and from aunt to aunt, interspersed with summer holidays on the
continent with one or both of my parents. My life in school was the usual one
of the only child separated from his parents and family. This separation was
intensified when I went to school in England and the differences between my
Welsh family and my new English self were augmented. This
"difference" was accentuated by my ability to speak foreign
languages. I was banned from speaking Welsh, though I did pick up little bits
here and there from my maternal grandfather who was the last person in the
family to speak any Welsh, but I made up for this by speaking French, Spanish,
a little bit of Basque, and smatterings of language from whatever country we
visited during the summer holidays abroad. This childhood of loneliness in a
world of adults gave me one enormous blessing: the ability to entertain myself
by creating a wonderful world filled with chessmen, puzzles, toy soldiers, a
model railway, and an avid interest in books. This creativity remained with me
throughout my life and has been a source of great comfort in my coaching,
teaching, research, and creative careers.
Q4: What are you
working on right now?
RMI have several projects on the go, as
always. In 2010, my novel, People of the Mist, won an honorable
mention in the David Adams Richards Award of the WFNB. I took it to the Humber
School of Creative Writing in 2012 and completed a creative writing certificate
with them, using the novel as a focus. I am still working on the novel. While
at Humber, I met a group of wonderful people who wrote mainly in prose and I
have remained in touch with them via an online writing group that we
constructed together and still maintain online. I have written short stories
for some time and have had
some good fortune with them recently. One story was
short-listed by the CBC short story competition (2010), another won the WFNB
that same year, and two more received honorable mentions in the WFNS Atlantic
Competition and in the WFNB Creative Non-Fiction competition in later years. In
addition, I won the WFNB short story competition (2015) with a fifth story. It
is time now for me to gather these stories together and publish them in a
single integrated volume. I am working on this and, at the same time, since I
have about fifty stories written, I am also thinking of a second, and possibly
a third, collection. Meanwhile, I have gathered my best poems into a Selected, and I will be sending this off
to various publishers in the course of this year. In 2014 I was diagnosed with
prostate cancer and my fight against this awful disease lasted right through
until 2015. I am cancer free right now, for which I would like to thank all
those people who worked on and with me to bring about my cure. I kept a journal
throughout the diagnosis / treatment / cure period and I have written a book of
poems that I have also condensed into a chapbook. Both sets of poems are out at
poetry competitions right now and I will be publishing them sometime during the
course of 2016. I will self-publish and give copies to my friends if there is
no interest from the commercial presses to which I intend to submit them.
More details about my career in various forms of creativity
can be found on the following sites: