[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=laughing+clown&iid=255537″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/255537/clown-stretching-his/clown-stretching-his.jpg?size=500&imageId=255537″ width=”339″ height=”480″ /]
Recently, I had a conversation with a writer friend that revolved around this question: Are humor writers considered “true writers” by other writers? (That sentence is so crowded with writers, let’s wait a minute for the smoke and superfluous adjectives to clear…)
Now, I wouldn’t call myself a humor writer (can I hear an Amen! from one of my regular readers?), however, to make us all feel better, let’s just say that I favor the funnies for my fiction. But, I didn’t start out that way.
In grade school, during the time of my life where my dad insists I was at the height of my comedic element (I did a killer, “southern preacher” impersonation), I chose to write as my pre-pubescent self thought real writers wrote — deep, and with a whole lot of swooning going on. Even though I was devouring the funny stuff in my reading life, I was a serious writer, writing serious pieces,…seriously. Did I mention I was seven?
When the plague of puberty swooped down and sucked the remaining performing funny bones out of my body (Dad’s words, not mine), my newly altered sense of humor, sarcasm, took hold. I could snark with the best of them. Still, my writing was all tragedy and drama — the thought process being that if it wasn’t painful, it wasn’t real. Yes, I was a ball full o’ sunshine.
Then, on a whim during my Sophomore year in college, I took a class called, Forms of Comic Vision. I can’t remember one thing we read in that class, but I do remember thinking that the instructor was a pretty hilarious fellow. And, that he was intelligent. And, that he wrote some fantastically hilarious and intelligent stories. (And, that he looked like Harrison Ford in his Indiana Jones professor-ship days…mrreow!)
My warped and twisted view of what constituted a “writer” evolved with every assignment. My eyes were opened — I believe, I believe! (there’s some of that preacher). A true writer was a person who wrote, whether it was serious material…or not. I had previously dismissed humor writing as easy — as not requiring the satisfactory amount of brooding and teeth-gnashing — and, I was wrong.
Even worse, I had been forcing a writer’s voice on myself that was coming out a lot like Peter Brady’s in the “Time to Change” episode — off-key, fake, and so very annoying! When I started incorporating humor into my writing, well, it just seemed to fit. Others could write the prose which held a beauty and eloquence that moved me to tears. I would write the middle-grade vomit jokes that would move them to…the bathroom.
Have I been the only one in history with humor-writing prejudices? I don’t think so. Which brings me back to the original question: Is there a stigma that humor writing is easier to do, or less valid because of its material? Is there a “Writer’s Club,” so to speak, that doesn’t allow smarta–, I mean, humor writers to join?
Erma Bombeck, who has been deemed as the “mother of all humorists,” once said: “When humor goes, there goes civilization.” I’m glad my muse decided to change her costume to something a little more colorful. “Writer’s Club” member or not, nothing says civilized like a red rubber nose and a good vomit joke.