I Write Humour Because I Get Sad Sometimes
There are many things a writer like myself might want to go down in history for. Epic tomes like Atlas Shrugged or Moby Dick. World shattering articles about the economic crisis our small businesses face during these strange and challenging times. The prophetic works of Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid’s Tale or the MaddAddam trilogy.
Not me, though.
I seem to have made it my lifelong goal to speak loudly about my boob falling out of my dress in front of a door-to-door salesman. I write about sex rooms that I want to create in my garage and the unfortunate time I sat on a newborn baby during its baby shower.
It doesn’t seem to matter the topic; my writing always comes back to some depraved (and in my humble opinion) hilarious act of buffoonery.
I’m like a child, hearing the word bonafide for the first time and giggling for days on end.
It’s not that I can’t be serious.
I’m a pretty level-headed person in real life. Some might go as far as to call me grave in personality. I write grocery lists and fret endlessly about the world and whether or not I am raising my children in the right way.
I sometimes cry myself to sleep at night, worrying over the insecurities that I feel make me less of a person. Am I smart enough? Am I a good mother and wife? Am I too abrasive when meeting new people? Will I ever achieve the goals I’ve set for myself? Do people think I’m weird? Am I weird in an endearing way? Or just a weird way? have I used the word weird too many times in this paragraph?
I have this low-grade anxiety that is constantly rumbling in the pit of my stomach, and nothing eases it.
Well, almost nothing.
Writing something that I know will make even one other person in the world smile takes away the anxiety for a few minutes, and that feels awesome. It’s like I have some kind of superpower and can make people laugh not only in different cities but in different countries around the world!
Wait a second. I do have an old Batman costume in my garage.
It’s not all for the readers, though. I write stories that expose my shortcomings to make others laugh, but also it helps me stay in control of the laughter. The laughing is on my terms this way. If I can make them laugh at my ridiculousness before they realize I’m actually ridiculous, then I’ve somehow won.
This is the deep-seated psychological trash can I’m dealing with, folks.
So the real question now is, should I try to change my ways or embrace the often depraved and sometimes downright immoral humour I pour onto the page?
As writers, what are we striving for?
I will never be an Ayn Rand or Herman Melville. My stories are too on the nose and, frankly, shallow to hold anything more than a few laughs while poking fun at my many idiosyncrasies.
I strive to make readers squirm, not because I am presenting some sort of profound message, but by allowing them to visualize the pure awkward horror that is my life on a daily basis.
I am quite certain I’m not the only one who suffers from this grumbling, often all-encompassing anxiety that rolls through my guts and out of my mouth.
And as we evolve as a species, the anxiety will likely only worsen because we have time to focus on it. We aren’t hunting and gathering for survival. Most of us aren’t waging wars or getting conscripted. We are average people, working our average jobs, sitting in our average homes with more than enough time to really double down on the worries that plague people every minute of their damn lives.
So yeah, I get sad. I get scared and irrationally troubled about the uniquely weird shit occurring on this huge blue-green rock. And I think most of you do too.
So I record those bottomless fears, break them down into something more manageable and poke fun at them through my writing.
Some might say that this is a waste of literary space, and to those people, I say, “Screw you, buddy!”
Those people may actually be right if they’re only concerned about the big issues we as humans face. But on a deeper level, it is essential to share these tales because it helps us, the average people, connect.
During a time in history where we face crisis after crisis, don’t we need a little laughter now and then?
At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself to believe my writing is still relevant.
Of course, the dangerous thing about humour is that there will always be some who don’t get the joke.
Or, simply don’t like the joke. I don’t know which is worse. Writing humour is often a precarious game. There’s less of an audience, and the prose must be honed perfectly for the results to land.
I miss the mark more often than I make it, but for some reason, I strive onward. I have this outrageous idea in my mind that it’s my calling.
*Re: Superpower fantasy.
Alas, my fate is sealed.
It’s why I love the humour community. Finally, I’ve found the promised land. A place where we can let loose all of the weird shenanigans that happen as a byproduct of being human. A place to share our strange tales and commiserate together in the insecurity that comes with our humanness. Stories that scare us but also save us a tiny bit by releasing them into the world.
It is crucial, as storytellers, that we continue to write from the truth.
Of course, I’m sure I could come up with articles that may please a larger audience with a more relevant subject matter, but would it feel authentic? Probably not.
Because the real truth of it is, I write humour because I get sad sometimes.
Lindsay Brown usually writes humour as per the reasons listed in this article. She can be found most days, in her home office, wearing the ratty old Batman costume from her garage and slinging sentences that might one day save the world. Or at least someone’s sense of humour. Feel free to check out more of Lindsay’s work HERE.
Originally published at https://vocal.media.