Crone, Moira 1952-
CRONE, Moira 1952-
PERSONAL: Born August 10, 1952, in Goldsboro, NC; daughter of James Clarence (an accountant) and Ethel (an executive assistant; maiden name, Donnelly) Crone; married Rodger L. Kamentz (a poet and writer), October 14, 1979; children: Anya Miriam, Kezia Vida.
CAREER: Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD, tutor in reading and English as a second language, 1977-78; Goucher College, Towson, MD, lecturer in English, 1979-81; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, instructor, 1981-83, assistant professor, 1983-86, associate professor, beginning 1986, currently professor of English and director of M.F.A. program in creative writing. Johns Hopkins University, lecturer, 1979-81; Prague Summer Seminars, faculty member, 2000-02. Bethesda Writers' Center, member of board of directors, 1981; Fiction Collective, New York, NY, member of board of directors.
MEMBER: Authors Guild, Associated Writing Programs of America, Society for the Study of the Short Story in English, Phi Kappa Phi.
AWARDS, HONORS: Fellow at Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College, 1987-88; Collin C. Diboll award, Pirates Alley Faulkner Society, 1993, for Dream State: Stories; Ragdale Foundation fellow, 1995.
The Winnebago Mysteries and Other Stories, Fiction Collective (New York, NY), 1982.
The Life of Lucy Fern (novel), Part One and Part Two, Adult Fiction (Cambridge, NY), 1983.
A Period of Confinement (novel), Putnam (New York, NY), 1986.
Dream State: Stories, University Press of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 1995.
Work represented in anthologies, including American Made, Fiction Collective (New York, NY), 1986; New Stories by Southern Women, University of South California Press (Columbia, SC), 1990; and New Best Stories from the South, Algonquin Books (Chapel Hill, NC), 1996. Contributor of short stories to magazines, including New Yorker, Gettysburg Review, North American Review, Negative Capability, Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, American Voice, Mademoiselle, Western Humanities Review, and Southern Review. Coeditor, City Lit, 1980; founder and editor of New Delta Review, 1983-86.
SIDELIGHTS: In her stories and novels, Moira Crone "emphasizes that most people are scared of human relationships because so much can and does go wrong," as Paul A. Doyle wrote in Contemporary Novelists. Crone's stories tell of a college-aged daughter who leaves school to wander the country in a Winnebago, of a woman whose father has abandoned the family only to call for help whenever he is broke and drunk, and of a young father cheating on his wife with a teenaged girl.
"The strength of Crone's short fiction," wrote a critic for Publishers Weekly, "is the realism that the author grants to her characters and their situations." Although, as Gary Krist wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "many of Ms. Crone's characters are . . . adrift, as confused as they are self-aware, as uncertain of what they want to say as they are forthcoming," Crone "presents her characters and themes with much sensitivity and perception," according to Doyle. "Even when we become exasperated with a character's behavior, we usually understand the reasons—often totally illogical and perverse—for the actions," commented Doyle.
In Dream State: Stories, Crone sets her stories in the Deep South of Louisiana, writing of the Cajuns, Creoles and French Quarter characters in what Krist described as "arguably . . . patronizing" and reminiscent of "well-meaning anthropology." Still, Krist believed, the collection "successfully presents a fresh version of the Deep South, one that is exotic without being either grotesque or romanticized."
Crone once told CA: "I was born in the tobacco country of North Carolina in 1952. My father was a native of the region, and my mother was from Brooklyn, New York. I spent my childhood in the same house where my father was born, with frequent visits to New York City to visit my grandmother and other relatives. In 1970 I entered Smith College, where I worked with V. S. Pritchett.
"After graduation, I lived in Boston and studied with another British author, Penelope Mortimer. In 1976 I was offered a fellowship for the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, where John Barth and Leslie Epstein taught. From 1977 to 1980 I worked as a teacher of English as a second language to Spanish-speaking adults in the Fells Point section of Baltimore and as a fiction workshop teacher. I also began publishing in literary magazines. Since 1981 I have lived in Louisiana, with extended stays out of the country—in France in 1983 and Jerusalem in 1986.
"My first book, The Winnebago Mysteries and Other Stories, was accepted for publication in 1980. It is a novella and a collection of stories I wrote during the late seventies. The strong reception of my book of stories helped me find a place for my novel, A Period of Confinement, a book about pregnancy and motherhood, and art.
"My next book is about the way a second generation absorbs the intentional and unintentional inflictions they receive as children and how their parents' losses and disappointments are transmuted into their own. It is a coming-of-age novel, concerning the attachments that threaten people and the need for separation, and for betrayal, as well as for forgiveness.
"My primary concerns as a writer have always been the questions of separation—questions about difference and individuation. I am centrally obsessed with motherhood and the conundrum of identity motherhood presents to mothers and children."
More recently, Crone wrote: "My writing process involves the gathering of, and the editing or re-visioning of, ideas, impressions, anecdotes. I often rewrite a story a hundred times, trying out new points of view, new angles, new approaches. A good ending is a discovery, first for the writer, and eventually for the reader. I usually work backwards from the ending, once I have uncovered it. The final discovery in a story, for me, is the motivation of the narrator, the character of the narrator, whether that narrator speaks in third or first person. The story process ends when I know the answer to these questions: 'Who is telling us this? Why does he want us to know it?'"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Novelists, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1995, review of Dream State: Stories, p. 965.
New York Times Book Review, October 29, 1995, Gary Krist, review of Dream State, p. 35.
Publishers Weekly, August 28, 1995, review of Dream State, p. 103.
Short Story, fall, 1995, review of Dream State, pp. 81-90.