Nobody writes suspense with the comic flair of the great Christopher Moore, the man behind such classics as Lamb, Coyote Blue, A Dirty Job, Noir, The Serpent of Venice, Fool and…well, I could go on forever. Suffice to say the man can write. In today’s edition of Creativity and COVID-19, he shares his insights into how to stay creative in the midst of a pandemic.
OM: We’ve all been impacted in some way or another by this pandemic. You’re in the Bay Area, so you’ve been right in the middle of it. How has this situation impacted you?
Moore: We moved in the 1st week of social isolation, something that had been planned for months. I’ve spent most of the last few weeks getting a new house unpacked and up and running, and either fixing stuff or trying to put together contractors and tasks amid social distancing. It’s been weird.
OM: Stress is not really conducive to being creative. How are you managing your creativity during this time? Have you developed any new routines or habits that are helping?
Moore: I haven’t had time to actually sit down and write. I’ve tried to write some jokes for Twitter and read research. In short, I haven’t been that creative. Most of the comic stuff I come up with is simply coping and processing. We’re all writing dark humor right now, aren’t we?
OM: How about the creativity you are taking in – what books and music or movies or TV have you been catching up on? Do you find any inspiration in those works that are helping your own writing?
Moore: I’ve been reading Jenny Offil’s, Weather, and she’s pretty brilliant in a very unique way — a poet novelist. Finally caught Jo Jo Rabbit, which was funny and sad and marginally silly. There are always things to learn from the work of talented artists. Like everyone, I’m binging good TV and can’t get enough comic relief. Schitt’s Creek has been a fine escape. I have been rationing episodes so I don’t run out before the plague is over.
OM: You write comic fantasy. I’m sure you’re not finding anything funny about any of this, but is there anything positive you have been able to take from this so far?
Moore: I’m thinking of funny stuff every day, but it’s all about coping. They just cancelled the tour for my new book, wisely, but I had already planned on doing a bad TED talk about trying to write absurd humor in the increasingly weird political climate since 2016, and now this! This is so weird, and we are all writing jokes to try to deal with it amid an amazing challenge to our sensibilities. I suppose there’s a sense of gratitude that so far my family and I are healthy, but I don’t know how that translates going forward. I feel like I’m processing all this. I just keep saying, “This is so weird.”
OM: Have you got any new projects we can tell folks about?
Moore: I’m hoping to start a new book set in 1947 San Francisco soon, and Shakespeare for Squirrels, the 3rd in my series about the Shakespearian fool Pocket comes out in May. Everything feels like it’s on hold right now.