As I mentioned in the first post on this story, Lorrie Moore's "People Like That Are the Only People Here" is generally believed to be at least somewhat autobiographical. I knew I'd read an interview where she'd talked a bit about that but I couldn't find it -- until Sara O'Leary provided a link in the comments. Thanks so much, Sara. Here:
The story is told with no names; only Mother, Father and Baby. The mother is a writer and stands smoking on the hospital balcony, so traumatised by what is happening that part of her wants to get on a bus and be driven away. The father suggests that she write about it, and she says: "I'm not that good. I can't do this. I can do - what can I do? I can do quasi-amusing phone dialogue. I can do succinct descriptions of weather . . . I do the careful ironies of daydream. I do the marshy ideas on which intimate life is built." After the story came out, it was assumed by some at her local hospital that references made in it to procedural mistakes were aimed at them.
Moore sighs. "They felt that I was hard on the medical students, and hard on the doctors. The nurses were pleased and the patient-advocacy people were pleased and, frankly, I got a lot of invitations from other medical centres to come and speak. But the local place was much more conflicted. Is that about us? I make this throwaway remark about doctors at home sleeping in their mission-style beds, and one of the doctors said to my husband: tell your wife I had a mission bed before they were fashionable." She widens her eyes. "I don't know anything about anybody's bed." She also had letters from parents with sick children who wrote to say thank you.
To her amazement, Moore's son is growing up to be a sports fanatic and is so good at football that he's on the Olympic development team and is flown around the country for matches and training. "It's very exciting, and very worrisome for a mother. His health is kind of delicate and at the same time he's a jock. It's the worst of both worlds. So he'll fall, he'll collapse sometimes." He nags his mother to take more exercise. "He wants to be my personal trainer and all the dance lessons of my childhood come flooding back."
And while I was on the Guardian site, I noticed they've just published a new short story by her, called "Foes."