Friday, January 14, 2005
Aww, Starbucks, you shouldn't have.
No, really. You shouldn't have. This is liquid chocolate, junkieman. What are you, some kind of sadistic Willie Wonka?
Wait, hold on. Maybe it's just me. On second thought, I'm positive that it fits somewhere nicely in the new Food Pyramid. Maybe you know something we don't. Maybe soon we will be invaded, enslaved and glad that we packed on that extra supply of fat reserves for us to burn through.
You are too sweet to us, Starbucks.
This is a day late but hey, happy belated birthday!
So I ripped this out of Garrison Keillor's "The Writer's Almanac" email from yesterday. Yeah, I know, I sound 104 years old for admitting I'm subscribed to that. But anyway since Lorrie Moore is such an eencredible fakkin writer (that's Australian for "exceptionally good") and is highly recommended by David Sedaris (who made my glasses fog up October 17th, 2003), I thought I'd wish her a belated birthday and force you to ordering a Lorrie Moore book now. If you want to read something damn good, treat yourself to Lorrie Moore. It's good for you, might give you a slight buzz, plus it won't give you a myocardial infarction like liquid chocolate:
It's the birthday of short story writer Lorrie Moore, (books by this author) born in Glens Falls, New York (1957). She's the author of the short story collections Like Life (1990) and Birds of America (1998). She skipped a grade in school when she was growing up, and the difference in age between she and her classmates made her feel especially small and shy. She said, "I felt so completely thin that I was afraid to walk over grates. I thought I would fall down the slightest crevice and disappear."
She started writing in college, and published her first story in Seventeen magazine. She was so happy she proceeded to send them everything she'd ever written. She said, "They couldn't get rid of me. I was like a stalker. I sent them everything, and of course they didn't want anything more from me."
It was only after she told her parents about her publication that she found out they had both wanted to be writers themselves. Her father went up into the attic and brought down stories that he'd once submitted to the New Yorker, and her mother admitted that she'd given up journalism for nursing.
In grad school, Moore realized she had to decide whether she wanted to devote her life to writing or to the piano, which had been her first love. She said, "The typewriter and the piano were actually similar ideas, for my mind and for my hands. I was completely unaccomplished musically [but] I was having ecstatic experiences in the practice room and wasn't getting any writing done. So I had to choose." She chose writing, and published her first book of short stories by the time she was twenty-six years old.
Lorrie Moore's first book was Self Help(1985), in which the stories were written in the style of how-to manuals, including "How to Be an Other Woman," "How to Talk to Your Mother," and "How to Be a Writer."
"How to Be a Writer" begins, "First, try to be something, anything, else. A movie star/astronaut. A movie star/missionary. A movie star/kindergarten teacher. President of the World. Fail miserably. It is best if you fail at an early age—say, 14. Early, critical disillusionment is necessary so that at 15 you can write long haiku sequences about thwarted desire."
When she was asked in an interview why she writes so often about characters who make lots of jokes, she said, "I feel that when you look out into the world, the world is funny. And people are funny. And that people always try to make each other laugh. I've never been to a dinner party where nobody said anything funny. If you're going to ignore that [as a fiction writer], what are you doing?"