On Outgrowing Lorrie Moore

In college and grad school, I was obsessed with Lorrie Moore. I couldn’t get enough of her work. I read Anagrams at least once a year, and I lived with the anxiety of her influence–cracking Moore-style jokes and puns in my own work; crafting whispery, smart-but-lost female characters who tripped over obvious stumbling blocks. She was the writer I wanted to read. And she was the writer I wanted to be.

And now . . . no. Moore has a story in the latest New Yorker, and while many of the sentences are beautiful and pregnant with longing, she still can’t stop cracking the jokes, and making the puns, and elbowing us with asides. Which draws our attention away from the characters’ pain and to her own language. And I’d much rather stay with the characters, really stay on them, and see what happens. I don’t want to flinch and divert. I want to dive in deep.

3 Responses to “On Outgrowing Lorrie Moore”

  1. Jordan says:

    A good joke — and I think a lot of Moore’s jokes are very, very good — does draw your attention to it, but as a means of getting you to drop your natural defense against “staying on the characters.”

  2. [...] come: more on Moore, plus Macbeth, Much Ado, and maybe a little John [...]

  3. [...] my fervid readers will no doubt recall, in July I posted a wee bit about my relationship with Lorrie Moore. And now, the [...]

Leave a Reply