In the first story of Something For Everyone, Moore describes a creeping hole in a pair of nylons that gets bigger and bigger during an urgent sexual encounter in a shoe closet. For the character wearing the nylons, physical possibilities open up as the tights unravel – she finds herself transcending boundaries she didn’t think were possible.
It’s the kind of magic that permeates the whole book.
Lisa Moore brings a particular wizardry to whatever she touches, but her command of the short story is such that when she bends its rules, we look at old ideas in new ways. With Moore, limits disappear and there is no either/or – you’re allowed to have your cake and eat it too. You can be dead and alive at the same time (“The Fjord of Eternity”). You can be the gayest guy in town and still have mindblowing sex with a woman in a storage room at the Avalon Mall (“A Beautiful Flare”).
Her command of the short story is such that when she bends its rules, we look at old ideas in new ways.
The characters in Moore’s collection are trapped in precarity. There’s a family of six working four jobs between them to keep up a two-bedroom apartment (“The Viper’s Revenge”) and an adult basic education class filled with hard-done young adults working their asses off, even though they’re unlikely to ever get a job (“The Challenges and Rewards of Re-entering the Workforce”).
But even while caught in an impasse, Moore’s characters are mesmerized by hopes of transcending their entrapment – by possibilities that open outward like the imprint of heat in the plasma of a modern Brannock foot measurer (“A Beautiful Flare”). Like the collection itself, the characters represent things and look at ways of being that haven’t been tried before.
The stories in Something for Everyone are like prizes in pass-the-parcel. They tie up neatly, but they’re loose enough so that when you move the package, the corner edge tears, and the wrapping opens up like a hole in a pair of nylons, and you realize there are a lot more layers underneath that need to be peeled back and teased apart.
And yes – there is something for everyone. There’s a subtle social justice bent – an English professor who carries a naloxone kit strapped to her thigh, and a sex worker with the same first name as a woman in the industry who was murdered in St. John’s last year (“Skywalk”). There’s a manic triple orgasm (“A Beautiful Flare”). There’s even a locally treasured, glittering-wig-wearing-gilt-guitar-carrying musician who could be the sublime lovechild of David Bowie and Ron Hynes (“The Fjord of Eternity”).
In Something for Everyone, Santa’s reindeer are part of an ancient herd whose bones rise up out of Icelandic peat bogs every Christmas Eve to zip through time and space (“Lighting Up the Dark”). As for Santa, he moves in a way that can’t be felt or measured or even thought of as speed and he can turn back time, because for him time doesn’t actually exist – he bypasses “tired notions of duration and the idea of moving from point A to point B.”
By the time you finish this collection, you might believe Santa Claus is real.