In Memoriam – James A. Moore

Reposted from Facebook:

The thing you have to know about Jim Moore is this:
When I was still a little baby fiction writer churning out White Wolf tie-in novels, Jim advised me that I should seek broader horizons and that I needed to come to this gathering of horror writers called Necon. He explained what Necon was to me and who would be there, and I said it sounded really interesting but that I didn’t know if I could do it (because in those days I never let myself do anything). Jim nodded and then told me that if I didn’t go to Necon, he would rip my legs off and beat me to death with them on the spot. So I went to Necon. One of the best decisions I ever made.
Then again, it might be the time he encouraged me in 1997 to use the HWA directory to cold call Ray Bradbury’s house for reasons that are unimportant now. It was a terrible idea, but it reflected perfectly Jim’s belief that we were all here, the mighty and the meek, to help one another, and that to not attempt the impossible was to guarantee failure.
Or it could be all the times he would walk into my office at White Wolf when he was freelancing game writing for us. For a big man, he could move like a cat, and he would materialize behind me, put his hands on my shoulders and ask pleasantly, “Do you have any work for me?” I pretty much always answered yes – he was a valuable and trusted and imaginative writer, and he made such lovely toys for the sandbox we were playing in. But he never knew what I was doing behind the scenes. If Jim had one flaw, he was a classic over-writer. If I contracted him for 10K words, I would get 20K, and I wouldn’t be able to use them all (and if I didn’t use them, I couldn’t pay for them, so….). What I ended up doing was that every time I needed 10K words from Jim, I would contract him for 5K, knowing that he was going to give me 10K. I would then cheerfully take what he delivered, make sure he got paid for the whole thing, and we were both happy. He didn’t know that until 2 years ago, and when I told him, he laughed uproariously.
Or maybe it’s the love he had with his first wife, Bonnie, that made them a joy to be with. And that love, after Bonnie’s passing, was purified and transformed into the heartbreaking DINNER FOR ONE: A JOURNEY TO HEALING. To go from monsters and gore to something so delicate and warm was an act of consummate love and skill.
No, no, it’s the fact that in his first attempt at X-Files style sci-fi paranoia horror, FIREWORKS, he Tuckerized me as a rabbi, all because previously I’d managed to explode a Tupperware container of homemade matzah ball soup I was bringing to him all over the back seat of my car. The car smelled like soup for a solid year, and it was a constant source of laughter.
Who knows? It could have been the joy he found later in life with his old high school sweetheart, Tessa, who put a smile back on his face that was so good to see.
Perhaps it was the way he was always encouraging others to stretch their boundaries and bust out of their self-described envelopes. With me, he hounded me to try my hand at sword and sorcery because he was having so much fun doing it, and when I finally worked up the nerve, he snatched the story up with words of praise I had never been expecting.
Many people would think it was the way he was always excited to greet new friends and old with one of his bone-crushing Sasquatch-level hugs. He shared that love equally with everyone he met, a constant font of affection that raised the spirits of the already happy and brought comfort to those who needed it.
Other folks would say that it was his relentless efforts to elevate new writers. He always had someone for you to meet, and nine times out of ten it was someone you had professionally admired for years who just happened to be there. Jim’s introduction was the golden ticket into the secret world, and he shared it freely with any he thought would benefit. I remember telling him back in the day how much I loved the work of a particular author, and he remembered. Two years later, he grabbed me at a White Wolf party at DragonCon, hustled me across the floor, and introduced me to the object of my professional admiration. He had remembered, and he had gone so far above and beyond to do so that my head spun.
Or maybe…..maybe not.
I have a million Jim Moore stories, and they are all written in the language of love and laughter and respect.
And now, sorrow, because I will never get one of those back-cracking hugs again. Because he is gone.
All I can do is share those stories in the spirit of love, and to try to carry on what Jim taught me: about professionalism, about writing, about life, and about people.
May his memory be a blessing for all of us.
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