Seeing Lorrie Moore in a Crowded Room

It was March 9th, 2018 when I was first in the presence of Lorrie Moore.

Setting: Tampa, Florida. AWP Conference.

Mood: Giddy.

Me and my best friend, Jen, a fellow Lorrie Moore Obsessive, went into the conference room early, before the last panel had even left. Once people started filing out, we pounced on the best seats.

For background: Jen and I have made up scenarios where we drive to Wisconsin where Lorrie Moore lived and have lunch with her under the guise of an interview. We have had a writing group where we made up Tom Swifties in admiration of Lorrie Moore’s. We have texted each other underlined sentences many times, traded books with each other. We’re fucking obsessed.

So Tampa. Conference room.

When Lorrie Moore took the stage, I nudged Jen and she nodded excitedly.
And then, L.M. herself read for a few minutes, an excerpt from her forthcoming memoir.

It was about when she got married in the courthouse and a news crew was there, hoping to film a newlywed couple who married for welfare benefits.
“But we’re not on welfare,” Lorrie Moore protested.
“C’mon,” her new husband said, “it’ll be funny.”
“No,” she answered.
“The bride said no,” the judge said, and that is how my marriage began, Lorrie Moore finished.

When the interviewer asked her if her ex-husband would be mad that she wrote about this, without asking his permission, Lorrie Moore replied, “it’ll be fine. I’m quite sure.”

Lorrie Moore was, as expected, funny and calm.

About writing, there is always an excuse not to do it. You have kids that you’re raising, your job keeps you too busy, you’re tired, insert a million and seven other reasons here.
But as Lorrie Moore said, “Life keeps changing and you have to work around it. You’re a prisoner to the stuff in your life. You’re just making it up as you go along.”

I have five days to put together the third MFA packet of this semester, my second to last one ever. If I think about that for more than a second, I get overwhelmed. But I’ll just make it up as I go along.

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