A Conversation with Luise Mörke

Interviewed by Lassiter Jamison a Fiction Editor at Chaotic Merge

Lassiter Jamison: “Memory Foam” is a beautiful mix of the relatable and the absurd (as if life). Has anything close to the events of this story happened to you personally?

Luise Mörke: The best way I can answer this without getting close to the word count of the story itself:
none of it is invented, but nothing has happened quite as it does in the story.

LJ: What sort of stories do you most like to tell?

LM: I write a lot of criticism and academic texts, so stories become vessels for the ideas and
affects that do not fit those other genres: desire, ugly feelings, anything that’s messy and
difficult to account for in a text that’s based on an argument. That said, my essayistic
tendencies, language circling around a constellation of ideas and motifs, come through in
fiction too – so does my love of film. I often think in scenes and spatialized set-ups.

LJ: I’m curious about the man at the intersection. His all-caps speech is the last thing we as
readers ‘hear’ before the story ends. What made you decide to conclude “Memory Foam”
this way?

LM: The narrator lives a pretty subdued life and spends her time contemplating or consuming
things that encapsulate the feeling of absence from oneself: the disembodied erotics of
ASMR, the heat of an empty summer day, Marguerite Duras’s eight bottles of Bordeaux a
day. I was looking for ways to introduce a sudden mood shift that would break through the
rotten air of privileged languor. The man at the intersection is based on a person I
encountered on my way to the grocery store one day. His loud yelling sounded almost
prophetic, but of course everyone around tried hard to ignore him. That day, I actually
listened to his words and asked myself why speech has to be delivered in certain ways to
actually be recognized as such.

LJ: Last but not least, do you have any chaotic writing habits?

LM: The day I heard about the Pushcart nomination, I slept until noon and then spent three more
hours in bed, writing on my laptop – does that count as chaotic? In the past couple of weeks,
this has been happening a lot, but I’ve also been on the other end, waking up at six to write.
Seasons change, habits change. A chaotic constant is the assemblage of tea pots, mugs,
glasses, plates, and chocolate wrappers that collects on my desk during a writing day.

Who is Luise Mörke?

Luise Mörke (She/her ) is a writer and graduate student of art history based in Berlin.

Read Luise Mörke’s Work In Issue 3

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