Lane Moore On Queer Loneliness, Trauma, and Nostalgia

Lane Moore is an award-winning comedian, actor, author, and musician whose original show Tinder Live! has traveled across the country to sold-out crowds and whose debut novel How to Be Alone is an Amazon bestseller. And she’s only getting started.

In her first book, Moore digs into the difficulties of finding connection both with others and ourselves, especially in reckoning with the trauma and triumph of growing up queer. INTO spoke with Moore about the book, sharing her most vulnerable moments, and what re-energizes her in the wake of an ever-isolating online and IRL culture.

photo by Amber Marlow

You’re a hardcore hustler. You’re everywhere and doing everything right now: acting, writing, performing Tinder Live!, producing music with your band It Was Romance. How did you find time to write How To Be Alone?

Lane Moore: I definitely had to make the time, but I’d wanted to write books since I was little, so it actually gave me even more focus to have deadlines and due dates. So much of the work I do, I’m providing my own deadlines and due dates, so there’s a little flexibility there, but with the book it was like, “Yeah, this is just straight up due on this date, so.”

So much of the book takes you back to your childhood and growing up queer — the tragedy, and triumph, and everything in between. How did you go about the process for recalling these memories and preserving these experiences on paper?

LM: They’re very fresh in my mind because I’m a super nostalgic person. I think about and relive and rewrite in my head all the time, so I’m kind of, for better or worse, constantly reliving my past and trying to wring out every bit of lesson or perspective I can in whatever happened then.

Who do you hope picks up and reads How to Be Alone?

LM: People who know all too well that you can have people around you who were technically there, but you were still totally alone, and how that almost hurts even more than if there was no one there at all. People whose childhoods still feel unresolved. People with too many feelings.

Your book is being featured on a number of Best Books lists so far. Congratulations and well-deserved! As a queer woman writer, what is that feeling like and what do you hope for the future of representation in storytelling and publishing?

LM: Thank you! I’ve really loved the queer people who’ve told me that reading the book made them really vividly remember similar queer teenage experiences and I think that’s so amazing. We don’t read a ton of queer perspectives, especially if they’re bisexual or fluid, so the more people are able to see their world reflected, or parts of themselves reflected, the less alone people feel. Being seen in any way is truly so comforting.

What have the reactions been so far to the book — are there any that stand out and affirm your motivation for telling your story in such a way, or vice versa?

LM:  Every single response is so beautiful and means so much to me. One in particular that meant a lot to me was a friend of mine who just started reading the book texting me, “I understand already why this book took so much out of you.” While I was writing it everyone around me was like, “Yay you’re writing a book you must be so happy!” and in reality I was the loneliest and saddest I’d been since I was a child, it was so painful. But I knew people were only being so casual because they didn’t know what kind of book I was writing. So to now have friends read it and say, “Wow, now that I’m reading this, I know why you’ve been in so much pain” feels so validating.

Your Twitter is a place where I think a lot of people feel like they get to know a lot of your thoughts and feelings, and people really feel like they really know you. What can people who know you expect to learn about you from the book?

LM: That my life has not been chill, to say the very least. It’s a tough balance to strike for sure because I think some people who know my humor writing in The Onion and the New Yorker might be expecting a straightforward humor book, and it definitely isn’t that because I didn’t want it to be. Like a lot of comedians, my backstory and my life off stage has been really, really intense and painful, and I’m grateful we live in a time where people can hopefully see, “Ohhhh, I’m actually super interested to hear someone who’s really funny talk about more serious issues, while also being funny, but maybe also giving it the resonance it needs because these issues are important, and maybe even a big reason why this person is funny.”

There’s a lot of bad news out there right now and plenty of justifiable reasons for feeling lonely. Is there anything that you find hope in that energizes you in the face of all this? Big or small.

LM: My dog Lights, absolutely. I look at her happy little dog face and it always cheers me up, every single time. I dreamed of meeting her pretty much my whole life and no matter what’s happening, I know she loves me and supports me and is proud of me. It’s an incredible feeling and dogs are magic.

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