“For love to last, you had to have illusions or have no illusions at all. But you had to stick to one or the other. It was the switching back and forth that endangered things.” (Lorrie Moore, Like Life)
The genius of Lorrie Moore is in the bare and bone-chilling fact that we never know whether what we have are illusions or non-illusions. And all we ever do is switch back and forth from one not-knowing to the other not-knowing– always endangered. The artisitic genius I speak of is in knowing this and striving to prove otherwise.
Lorrie Moore isn’t the only one who sees the cracks the rest of the world is blind to. But she does collect them in her arms, smiles tenderly, takes a long, slow whiff and gingerly presents them to us– as a mother showing off her newborn does, mere hours after it labored forth, out of her. “Touch the unbearable softness of that cheek,” she says. “Put your face against those lips and feel the impossibility of that breath.”
She will make you weep. For yourself. For the world. But the tears she makes you weep will lift you. And make you laugh.
Self Help (1985)
Like Life (1990)
Birds of America (1998)
A Gate at the Stairs (2009)