I went to London with my daughter Kate last month to see Lorrie Moore at the South Bank Centre. Although the weather was not warm there was a summery magic to the evening. I was impressed with Blackfriars station and its view of the London skyline. The Thames was gloriously grey and rolling and I finally managed to locate the South Bank's open air book market.She knew there were only small joys in life - the big ones were too complicated to be joys when you got all through. Lorrie Moore, Like Life
Lorrie Moore read from Bark her new collection of short stories. Her deadpan delivery of her story Thank You For Having Me which begins with musings on the death of Michael Jackson and moves on to a wedding where the bridesmaid dresses are described as 'one the light peach of baby aspirin, one the sea-foam green of low-dose clonazepam, the other the pale daffodil of the next lowest dose of clonazepam ' had the whole audience laughing. The humour is black but also somehow liberating.
When asked for advice by aspiring writers in the audience she recommended to be in it for the long haul, to read and write what you love and to have separate work to make money so that you can be kind to your writing. She also spoke about a story she'd written called You're Ugly, Too which attracted a lot of attention and has been much anthologised from her Like Life collection.
You're Ugly, Too is indeed a remarkable story but I would highly recommend Joy from the same collection. It's a story about a woman called Jane who loves to sing and works on a cheese counter in the local mall spreading the crackers with samples for customers to taste. She takes her cat Fluffers to the vet and meets some tiny children with their cat Gooby. It's funny and sweet and sad.
I don't think I'm going to get a break from work until at least September so I'm having a little summer staycation in the garden with some Lorrie Moore short story collections - Birds of America, Like Life, Bark and a re-read of Self-Help. I've also just read her wonderful coming of age novella Who Will Run The Frog Hospital?
Have you read Lorrie Moore?