Eating Authors: Dave Creek

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Dave Creek

Whenever I’m scheduled to attend a convention, I like to review the list of other program participants to see who’ll be there. Who I know and who I’ve never met before. And who I might check out as a possible invitee to EATING AUTHORS. I tell you this because it’s how I came to meet this week’s guest, Dave Creek.

You may already know him from his short fiction (he’s sold more than twenty stories appear in Analog alone), or from his novel-length fiction (including the epic The Great Human War series — of which Book 3, The Unmoving Stars, came out just over a month ago).

Dave’s bio includes details like being retired from a career as a television news producer, and living in Louisville with his a wife and son. But to me, he’ll always be the guy who showed up at the Nebula Conference and handed a few copies of his work to a relative stranger for a prison library project that I was running. That probably tells you all you need to know right there.

LMS: Welcome, Dave. So, tell me about the best and most memorable meal you’ve ever had.

DC: My best meal was a couple of years ago, but before the “reveal,” it requires a lot of context.

My wife Dana describes us as not having a “refined palate.” Where we go for most of our meals is largely determined by what coupons we have. That means a lot of Logan’s Roadhouse and Steak ’n Shake (and why isn’t there another apostrophe after the n?). We do like Ikea’s Swedish meatballs, though.

So I don’t have any stories about fancy French meals near the Louvre or exotic street food.

The Unmoving Stars

Here’s what I do have. Just before Christmas in 2014, I went to my doctor for what we’ll call a “stomach ailment.” Let’s just draw a discreet veil over any more details, especially in a food blog.

My doctor is normally pretty laid-back, so imagine my concern when he began taking my blood pressure as I was sitting down, then standing up, then performing some other examinations. After a moment, he told me, “I’m admitting you right now,” and he handed me some paperwork and I went to a nearby hospital.

You know this drill. More examinations. So the doctor decides something’s wrong in there, and I’m scheduled for an endoscopy the next morning. So — no food tonight other than clear broth and Jello. And for me, there’s never any room for Jello. Yuck.

The next morning, the endoscopy goes off without a hitch. But they still can’t figure out what the problem is. So, even better news — a colonoscopy scheduled for the next morning.

If you’ve had this wonderful procedure, you know the “prep” is the worst part. You drink this foul stuff and, well, it clears the path, we’ll say, for the next day’s festivities. Yeah, let’s pull that discreet veil across this part, too.

Are you sure asking me to participate in EATING AUTHORS was a good idea, Lawrence?

Some Distant Shore

The next day, the colonoscopy happens and, finally, an answer! I have a stomach ulcer. Fortunately not a severe one, and eventually I’m given some medication to take care of it.

So, you ask, where’s the damn “best meal” come in?

By now it’s been two days of clear broth and refusing Jello. I don’t know yet if I’m going to be released from the hospital this day, but I’ve been told I can eat anything I want. An aide takes my lunch request even though I don’t know whether I’ll be there for it.

Oh, and it’s Christmas Eve, which isn’t as big a deal at this agnostic’s house as it is for many other people, but I’d still like to get home.

While I’m waiting, Dana arrives with the hope of being able to take me home soon. On the way, since she hasn’t had lunch, she’s picked up a Moby Dick fish sandwich and some onion rings. For those of you not in the Louisville area, Moby Dick serves fast-food fish which is actually pretty tasty, and has great onion rings. It’s not to be confused with other Moby Dick restaurants which a Google search discovered in Washington, D.C., British Columbia, and elsewhere.

The Human Equations

Anyway, when I say their fish and onion rings are tasty, I mean that in a casual, fast-food kind of way. Most visitors to the Louvre would be appalled.

But after two days of pretty much nothin’, when Dana realizes she’s full and offers me the remainder of her meal, my first bite of her sandwich was pure gastronomic heaven. Moby Dick’s fish and onion rings would be insufferably mundane to those with a refined palate (which, remember, we are not), but I gobbled them down within moments.

Then the hospital lunch arrived. Most of if disappeared quickly, too (two days of clear broth!), but I couldn’t tell you what was on the menu.

So there you have it. Probably the most ordinary (did I say mundane?) meal in EATING AUTHORS history. I sincerely hope no one has a better? worse? one.

Thanks, Dave. Man, I can’t wait to see the look on your face when you and Dana go to Paris and discover they’ve just opened up a new Moby Dick’s franchise two blocks from the Louvre.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

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