Friday, March 20, 2009
A Cosmic Joke
Just received the revisions from my editor for my novella MY LADY BELOW STAIRS for the Christmas anthology yesterday. Yeah, I know. Weird to be thinking about Christmas on the first day of spring.
The even weirder part was that there were so few changes. She LOVED the story. My manuscript was peppered with LOL's and happy faces. (It was wonderful to hear--we writers are a notoriously needy bunch!) But the thing that really surprised me was when she told me she laughed hardest during the last 30 pages or so.
Those were the pages I wrote while I was in serious pain recovering from my colon cancer surgery and blogging my head off with my 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT tour.
The moral of this story is: Comedy springs from . . . pain? Maybe. (I won't give credit to painkillers. I was down to Advil by then and it didn't begin to touch the deep ache, but I'm already addicted to Cherry Coke Zero and M & M's. The last thing I need is a drug habit.)
At the heart of every joke is a reversal of sorts. You expect "X" and you're slapped in the face with "Y." Maybe the comedy in my story was my way of reversing the physical pain I was experiencing at the time.
Writing is still a mystery to me. Somehow, my subconscious fills the pages with things my conscious mind isn't even aware of till I read it back--usually after a bit of time has elapsed. Pressure turns coal into diamonds. Is it possible that pain yields the best comedic timing?
If so, next time, I'll settle for stubbing my toe before I write!
I'm getting ready to do a workshop at RWA Nationals on adding humor. What's the funniest thing you've read lately?