Imagine this. You’re an actor. You’re up for a serious role. You’ve researched the part. You know the plot inside and out. You’re prepared. Confident. You get up to audition. And someone passes gas in an unusually loud manner and you begin to laugh. And you laugh and you laugh and you laugh. And you can’t even stop long enough to deliver the lines you have studied so diligently. Can’t perform your audition. Can’t engage in your craft. You leave the audition telling yourself, “If only it had been a comedy…”
Sometimes as a writer of humor, I feel that way. Only in reverse. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing stories with a comedic tone. But we all know real life is rift with moments that are far from fun. Or funny. Yet, in spite of the slings and arrows life shoots, comedy and humor writers still have to think--and write--funny. No matter what.
For example. I had great hopes of finishing the last fifty pages of my latest Calamity Jayne caper this past weekend. What happened? Oh come on. By now, you all should know the answer to that question. That’s right. SNOW! Heavy, wet, back-breaking SNOW. Now, for someone who has forgotten what it feels like not to wear a set of thermals beneath her clothing, who has had to shovel snow off the roof in a freaking blizzard, and who is already openly at war with Mother Nature, another snow event tends to make that person rather grumpy.
So Sunday afternoon I donned my Michael Myers coveralls once again, went out and shoveled my guts out, came back in overheated, my hair plastered to my head, my lips muttering some not-nice things about Iowa. In my office, Tressa Turner called out via an open Word file, “Get in here and help me solve this bloody mystery!” I made an about face and headed to the kitchen to make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
Monday morning I awoke, determined to make up for lost time. I had just made a cup of decaf coffee and sat down at the computer when one of my daughters tracked me down.
“I can’t get into my car,” she said. “The doors are frozen shut.”
“All four of them?” I asked.
I pull on the old coveralls (it’s like -25 wind chill) and grab a great big honking screwdriver and go out to break into a car. Unfortunately, I discover not only have the doors frozen shut, but the locks, as well. Two hours later I managed to get the car unlocked, pried open one of the doors, got in and turned the key, and--you guessed it. Nothing.
I took my shovel and went back out and clear what I’d cleared before, shaking my shovel rather than a fist at the city snow plow operator as he drove by on the other side of the street burying my neighbors’ walks this time around.
Still fifty pages from ‘the end’ I sat down at the computer.
“Well?” Tressa said. “I’m waiting.”
“Me, too,” I told her.
“For what?” Tressa asked.
“To feel funny,” I said.
“Get over it,” Tressa ordered. “I want my friggin’ love scene. Get to it or I’ll snarf your Godiva chocolate and hide your cuddle duds.”
Now that’s what you call motivation.
So, when life is giving you a hard time, what tips do you have to help lighten the mood?
Chocolate is a given…
~Bullet Hole Bacus~