Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Joy of Writing Dark Comedy

After working out the process issue with my family yesterday - the issue was no time allocated for me - I wrote two chapters of a new book and typed up an additional two that I hand wrote a week or two ago.  I went to my desk and quietly wrote uninterrupted for longer than I had planned.

Honestly, right now at this very moment, I have fallen into the habit once again of stealing a few minutes for myself while no one is looking.  The problem is it will only be a few minutes, which just now is interrupted by the sound of my kids playing Shark Attack and squealing wildly as they chase each other from couch to chair to couch again before the shark (the vacuum which is now roaring in the background) eats them.  Great fun, but not a great place to write unless you are writing about Shark Attack.  I do have the option of going upstairs to my desk to write in a more quiet place.  But my coffee is here.  And I'm not quite awake enough to drag my old body up the stairs just yet.

But I wanted to take the time right now to say how joyful I felt yesterday when I handed my teen aged daughter two chapters to read.  Before she was finished with the first page, she was laughing out loud.  I walked out of her room to let her finish, satisfied that the story was good if it had its intended effect.  When I came back in later to hand her another chapter, she said, "Oh my God!  I laughed and then I cried." 

A few years ago, I wrote a blog that was funny about being a single mom with an infant while working full time.  Many days, my co-workers fell back in their chairs laughing out loud when they read it.  I was so happy I had found myself as a writer of comedies, of words that make people laugh even if they were drawn from my worst, most desperate moments. 

Except for the children's story I just wrote, I haven't written anything lately that would even make someone smile.  Most of my poetry lately makes me literally cry to read it out loud.  I am so happy to find the dark comedian inside me again.  I really like her.  I like turning the bad things in life into even momentary happiness.  Last night I was so pleased that my husband and I have engaged in so many arguments that I could write really awesomely realistic dialog.  Arguing seems horrible, but without it my story would be different and wouldn't have been authentic if I had even thought to include it.  

My husband read the later chapters about the childhood of the main character and said he couldn't believe my family was like that.  My response: "They weren't.  It's not my family.  It's fiction," I said with a smile, so happy that I can write fiction now, not just recount the details of my childhood with a tear.  I am quite pleased it was that believable that he thought it was true. The fact is I wouldn't hurt my family like that revealing exact details of their lives any more than I would want them to do the same.  The story definitely is fiction with perhaps a light dusting of reality to make it seem real. 

I was sincerely worried that my children's story would be it, the only thing I would write that I would truly love, the only piece I would be really excited about.  But I love this story a lot.  I can't wait until my writing class on Wednesday to see if my classmates laugh out loud too.

No comments:

Post a Comment