Earlier this summer, HelloGiggles exclusively revealed the cover for writer, comedian, and musician Lane Moore’s first collection of essays, How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don’t. And now, the book is finally here. When you look at its cover, which shows an illustration of all the things that occupy Lane’s mind, you’ll think, Dang. Jim Halpert, 90s TV shows, AND too many feelings? I share a brain with this woman. You’ll definitely laugh out loud while reading How to Be Alone. But there will also be many times when you’ll gasp, cry, or sit in shocked silence, because Lane hasn’t had an easy life. As the title suggests, she’s spent most of it alone.
In How to Be Alone, Lane writes openly and honestly about growing up with toxic parents, making ends meet without a support system, and never feeling loved or worthy of love. She also writes about experiencing bi-phobia, her obsession with romance, and the time she spent living in her car. We spoke with Lane about loneliness, self-care, and turning her pain into art. Depending on your life experience, Lane’s book may surprise you. But no matter what, it’ll make you feel a lot less alone. And that’s exactly why every millennial should read it.
HelloGiggles: A lot of people have great intentions but say the wrong thing. What’s the appropriate response to your story? What do you hate that people say, and what would you rather hear instead?
Lane Moore: That’s a truly beautiful question. I don’t know if there’s one perfect response. I just really hope people relate on some level, and even if they don’t relate, that they laughed a lot, or felt seen in some way, felt loved in some way, while reading this book.
HG: A reoccurring theme of the book is you facing a difficult situation and saying, “Well, it’s better than nothing.” When did you start to realize that it’s okay for you to want more? From work, friendships, relationships, everything?
LM: Very recently. Like, upsettingly recently. But I never had anyone to show me. There’s a bell hooks quote in the book that I love that talks about this very thing. You can’t practice love and self-care and your own worth if you’ve never been shown any of those things, especially early in life. But you can try to do it anyway and that’s the goal.
HG: Artists like to think that they struggled early in their careers. And maybe they did, but it’s rarely as real as your struggle. How can people pursue a creative life when they don’t have money or a safety net?
LM: Most of my career has been me just never giving up, making things no matter what, and wearing all the hats if I couldn’t hire anyone. “We need an editor? Great, I’ll learn the editing software.” It was me getting creative and always believing I’d find a way. And I always did.
HG: Was there one big memorable moment where you stopped and thought, “I’m going to turn my pain into art,” whether music or writing?
LM: I think pretty much the second I was born that was present. I came into this world, into a ton of pain, and immediately started creating. I’m so grateful that my brain was wired that way or I don’t know if I’d have made it.
HG: You embrace being a romantic person. There’s nothing wrong with being romantic and wanting love and wanting someone incredible to share your life with. Why do you think it’s so hard for people to say that these days?
LM: Whew. There’s a reason this weaves through the whole book, because I can’t concisely say one reason. A big part of the book was exploring childhood patterns and what your parents were like and all of that, as a lens for why you do or don’t connect with people now. And that’s what most people don’t really talk about.
HG: In the second-to-last chapter, as you’re recapping the end of a relationship, you write about bi-phobia and how many people have a hard time understanding why bisexual people can’t choose “gay” or “straight.” Do you feel pressure to pick a label?
LM: It’s constant. Even now, as someone who actively writes about this and lives in a world that understands a little more than it used to, I still feel pressures to “choose” or hear people say bi-phobic stuff or see shitty bi-phobic jokes on TV and it bums me out. But I hope this book helps.
HG: Was the writing process cathartic? Is the final product what you thought it would be?
LM: I feel like people want me to say I’m healed! And married! And I never feel pain! And that’s not the case, and that was exactly what I wanted to do with this book: write a book about loneliness from the perspective of someone whose story isn’t all wrapped up and healed and solved, but who has made and is making progress and has learned a lot. I don’t like painful stories that wrap up in a pretty bow. My story’s just beginning.
How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don’t is available wherever books are sold.