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Lorrie Moore

  • ... shopping for clothes is like masturbation — everyone does it, but it isn't very interesting and therefore should be done alone, in an embarrassed fashion, and never be the topic of party conversation.

  • I don't care if I'm a fish, I still want a bicycle.

  • She knew there were only small joys in life — the big ones were too complicated to be joys when you got all through — and once you realized that, it took a lot of the pressure off.

  • His life seemed to be untacking itself, lying loose about him like a blouse.

  • He didn't like to travel much, but he didn't mind it in other people.

  • Often when she phoned her parents, they each got on separate extensions and just talked to each other. They discussed money problems and the other's faults with a ferocity they couldn't quite manage face to face.

  • ... he had the kind of mustache a college roommate of hers used to say looked like it had crawled up to find a warm spot to die.

  • Her gaze dropped to her hands, which had started to move around nervously, independently, like small rodents kept as pets.

  • Love without intimacy, she knew, was an unsung tune. It was all in your head.

  • It had all the appeal of a bar of soap in a gas station.

  • As the most recently arrived to earthly life, children can seem in lingering possession of some heavenly lidless eye.

    • Lorrie Moore,
    • ed., introduction, I Know Some Things ()
  • He was thinking, but she could tell he wasn't good at it.

  • She was in bed, a book propped in her lap — a biography of a French feminist, which she was reading for the hairdo information.

  • ... the compulsion to read and write — and it seems to me it should be, even must be, a compulsion — is a bit of mental wiring the species has selected, over time, in order, as the life span increases, to keep us interested in ourselves.

    • Lorrie Moore,
    • in Clare Boylan, ed., The Agony and the Ego ()
  • Writing is both the excursion into and the excursion out of one's life. That is the queasy paradox of the artistic life. It is the thing that, like love, removes one both painfully and deliciously from the ordinary shape of existence. It joins another queasy paradox: that life is both an amazing, hilarious, blessed gift and that it is also intolerable.

    • Lorrie Moore,
    • in Clare Boylan, ed., The Agony and the Ego ()
  • Perhaps one would be wise when young even to avoid thinking of oneself as a writer — for there's something a little stopped and satisfied, too healthy, in that. Better to think of writing, of what one does as an activity, rather than an identity — to write, I write; we write; to keep the calling a verb rather than a noun; to keep working at the thing, at all hours, in all places, so that your life does not become a pose, a pornography of wishing.

    • Lorrie Moore,
    • in Clare Boylan, ed., The Agony and the Ego ()
  • Forgiveness lives alone and far off down the road, but bitterness and art are close, gossipy neighbors, sharing the same clothesline, hanging out their things, getting their laundry confused.

Lorrie Moore, U.S. writer

(1957)