Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lorrie Moore's New Book

On Thursday I got to meet one of my very favorite authors, Lorrie Moore. I only discovered her work last spring, when we were assigned to read her first story collection, Self Help, in my Creative Writing class. For me, it was love at first sentence. I read the entirety of Self Help in one sitting, and promptly went to Amazon and ordered all the other titles by Lorrie Moore I could find.

When you find an author who really "knocks you out" -- as Holden Caulfield says in another one of my favorite books, Catcher in the Rye -- it is such an exciting, invigorating experience. Lorrie Moore came into my life at a time when I was struggling with my writing. My "voice" felt static, used-up, cliched. I felt like I was writing the same story over and over. I was frustrated. I had trouble coming up with ideas.

Self Help was like a giant jolt of energy to my dead car battery. All of a sudden, a wide world of creative possibilities opened up in my mind. Her widely-anthologized story "How to Be a Writer" is a must-read for anyone who has ever tried his or her hand at the writing life.

Amazingly witty, darkly comic, and both smart and wise, Lorrie Moore is, in my opinion, one of the best writers around. To put it simply, when I read her work, I fall in love with writing all over again.

Her latest book, a novel titled A Gate at the Stairs, has just been released to wide acclaim. On Thursday, I got to listen to Moore give a reading and interview at the Los Angeles Public Library. She was charming, funny, gracious and insightful. After her talk, I was actually acutely nervous as I waited in line for her to sign my copies of her books. I felt like a tween girl meeting her favorite celebrity. What would I say? What could I ever say to express to this woman how much I loved her work?

I love my name for many reasons. I am named after my paternal grandfather, who is incredibly special to me. I also love that my name is unique -- I don't meet many other people named Dallas. And I love how my name is a great conversation starter when I first meet people. Lorrie Moore went to sign my book and asked, "Dallas? Is that your name?" I explained how I was named after my grandfather and had just visited the city of Dallas for the first time. And the door opened for a nice, albeit brief, conversation with my author idol.

Who are some of your favorite authors? Have you been able to meet them? I'd love to hear your stories!

1 comment:

Shane R. Toogood said...

I can't wait to read that! My favorite author is Edgar Allan Poe. Although I didn't get to meet him, I did meet J. K. Rowling a few years ago. She and I had a very brief "hello," but it was very genuine (plus, I like to tell everyone that she didn't talk to anyone else-and from what I could see, she didn't). I also love Neil Gaiman, R. L. Stine (who doesn't love Goosebumps?) and most recently, Gillian Flynn. (I'm going to read Catcher in the Rye finally! You know I was never required to read it in high school?)