Category Archives: Bloggin’ Buddies

Do I Hear Five?

On May 29, 2011, I was fifty-four and a half years old.  And I was seriously irritated at the GOP in Congress.  You see, they had announced that they were going to take away Medicare from those then under 55 years old.  And that meant me.  I spouted off about it to anyone who would listen.

They’re gonna take Medicare from ME!  I’m 54-1/2!  That’s where they’re gonna start!

After the first 528 times I mentioned this fact to each and every person I could corner, I still felt unsated.  I wanted to tell more people of my irritation.  Whether or not I knew them.

And so I heard a voice inside my head (something I rarely admit to):

Go forth, it said,  and start a blog.

Oh and give it a stupid name to keep yourself humble.

And so I did.  Both of those things.  FiftyFourAndAHalf was born with this post.

Blogging has been a completely different experience than I expected.

My original plan was to do a political/humor blog.  But in spite of a never-ending source of fodder, I found that I wanted to write about other things, too.  That part didn’t really surprise me.

What surprised me was that blogging, and Word Press, became a place where I met new friends, discussed topics important to me.  Where I laughed and cried along with folks I will probably never meet.

Thanks, everybody.  And while I’ve been writing less than usual and reading less than usual, I love the special place that is the ‘sphere.  So, yeah, thanks for being out there, for reading, and for giving me stuff to read too.

From Daily Kos.com

From Daily Kos.com

 

53 Comments

Filed under All The News You Need, Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Campaigning, Climate Change, Crazy family members, Crazy Folks Running, Crohn's Disease, Disgustology, Dogs, Driving, Duncan, Elections, Family, Farts, Flatulence, Freshly Pegged, Freshly Pressed, Friends, Global Warming, Goliath Stories, GOP, Gun control, Health, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, History, Holidays, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, laughter, Mom, Music, Peace, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Toilets, Travel Stories, Voting, Wild Beasts, Word Press, Writing, WTF?

Sad News

Elyse:

Such sad news to have to spread around the ‘sphere.

Today my heart is with Rara and I am wishing her strength. Today my heart is with Dave, and I am wishing him peace.

DJ Matticus has asked folks to reblog this. So please spread the word so that the ‘sphere can be there to help shore up our favorite dino.

Originally posted on The Matticus Kingdom:

I have terrible news to share with the blogosphere today.

Horrible, no good, awful news.

Many of you knew him as Grayson Queen, author and artist extraordinaire.  Perhaps you’ve read one of his novels.  Perhaps you’ve purchased, or at least enjoyed, some of his paintings or sculptures…  Perhaps you knew that he was also Rara‘s husband, Dave.

I don’t have a lot of details, but I can confirm that Dave passed away earlier this week.

Please share this post wide and far.  Please say a prayer for Dave and Rara.  Please send her every ounce of spare energy you can muster.  She needs us.  Dave’s family and friends need us.

And send her mail to show her your love, your RawrLove:

Radhika Jaini WF0124
CIW LA 249 UP
16756 Chino-Corona Road
Corona, CA  92880

You don’t need to know what to say.  You don’t need to say anything…

View original 10 more words

11 Comments

Filed under Bloggin' Buddies

My Life — It’s All Wrong — Again (Still?)

Somehow, I got the story of my life wrong.

I’m really not at all sure how it happened.   But apparently I did.  I don’t like to talk about it.  But I can feel you twisting my arm.  UNCLE!!!!

The thing is, I’ve been telling the story of my life for years.  For my whole life, in fact.  It’s fascinating.  Intriguing.  Hilarious.  Well, it is the way I tell it, anyhow.

It’s the stuff of legends.  Because like every good heroine in every good novel, I had a transformation.  A metamorphosis.  A change of life (no, not that kind).   I went from being a pathetic, shy, “please don’t notice me” sort of person into, well, me.  The person I am today.  And you will agree, that I am not shy, retiring or ashamed of breathing air.  But I used to be.  Really.  You can trust me on that. You see, I was there.

Besides, I can pinpoint the transformation.  I know exactly when the moth turned into the butterfly.  It happened on  January 22, 1977.

As it happened, I’d moved to Boston in October, and truth be told I was horribly lonely.  Living away from home was not the wild time I had dreamed of in my yearning to be an adult living in the big city away from my parents.  There I was living in Boston, a city filled to breaking point with people my age, but I didn’t know a soul.   I had no friends.  No one to talk to.  No one to go out with, and I hated going out by myself. I was miserable.

Actually, I was so painfully shy that I avoided talking to anyone I didn’t have to.  I didn’t know how to make friends.  I was afraid that if people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me.  So I made sure that no one had any opinion of me at all.  I was pretty much invisible.

In fact, that’s how I had always lived my life.  In high school, I had a small group of close friends, and really didn’t ever try to go beyond them.  I was in Players, but there I could pretend to be someone else.  That’s what we were supposed to do.  But mostly, I was still friends with the folks I’d gone to junior high school with.  I didn’t branch out much.  I kept quiet, kept my head down.  Nobody knew me.  I always worried that if people knew what I was really like that they wouldn’t like me.  So I didn’t let anybody in.  Then if they didn’t like me, well, they didn’t know me.

My invisibility was confirmed a year or so after my transformation when I was parking my car at my hometown’s train station.  My boyfriend Erik was with me, when Kevin, the heart-throb of Players pulled up next to me.  I’d had a huge crush on Kevin all through school.  He played the lead in all the plays, could sing and dance and was incredibly handsome and talented.   In spite of that Kevin was always nice to me – in fact, he was one of the first people to seriously encourage me to sing.

(Google Image)

(Google Image)

I got out of the car, walked over to him and said:

“Hi Kevin, it’s Elyse.  How are you?”

“Ummm,” said Kevin, clearly not recognizing me.

“We went to high school together,” I reminded him.  I mentioned the plays we’d done together.  Erik stood next to me.

“Sorry,” he said.  “I don’t remember you.”  And he walked away.

Naturally, I was mortified.  It was proof positive, in front of a witness, that I had been invisible.  That nobody had noticed me.  That this guy who had really actually given me my first smidge of confidence on the stage didn’t remember me.  (And we won’t even get into the fact that he could have just said, ‘oh, yeah, how are you doing, it’s been a while.’)

Now, back to my transformation.

Being shy was fine as long as I was at home – my few friends were still nearby.  But when I moved?  I didn’t know a soul.  Worse, I didn’t know how to make friends.  And I had no idea how to learn a skill that I believed you either have or don’t have.  I didn’t have it.

In January 1977 I found myself in the hospital.  Sick, miserable, far from home and family.   My boss, on his way to visit a sick colleague, stopped in to say hello.  He was embarrassed as I was sitting in my hospital bed (appropriately) in my nightgown.  He didn’t stay long.    Nancy, my office mate, came too.  But she was older, married with kids.  She too could only stay a minute.   My parents came up over the weekend.   Otherwise, my only contact was with doctors and nurses.  People who got paid to talk to me.

Cambridge Hospital

(Google Image)

It was pathetic.  I was pathetic.  I had no friends.  Nobody cared.  I cried myself to sleep for the first two nights I was there.

On the 22nd, a light bulb went off.

Maybe if I talked to other people, if I took my nose out of my book, well then maybe, maybe I could make a friend or two.

And really at that moment I decided that being shy was stupid.  All it got me was loneliness.  And being lonely for life, well, that didn’t sound at all appealing.

So I forced myself to be not shy.  I made myself talk to people I didn’t know.  To let them get to know me and decide, based on knowing what I was really like, whether they liked me or didn’t.

But talking to strangers is really hard.  So I developed a fool-proof strategy.  Whenever I was with someone I didn’t know, I’d say to them:

“Don’t you hate trying to figure out what to say to people you don’t know?”

As it turns out, everybody hates trying to figure out what to say to people they don’t know.  And they all have something to say about just how hard it is!

I’d stumbled onto success.  And then I went further.  I was nice to people.  I made them laugh.  I asked them about their lives.  Let them tell me their stories.  Let them help me develop my own.

I was a different person.  A completely different person.

I even have a witness to this transformation.  You see, I was in a play that winter/spring.  Rehearsals started in January, just before I went into the hospital.  And at the first couple of rehearsals, I sat next to Howard.  Howard kept chatting me up, being friendly to me.  I had my nose in a book, grunted my answers and really was too shy to be more than polite.

OK, so I was a bitch to Howard.  He remembers.  He would testify to the existence of the shy Elyse.  After my metamorphosis, Howard became one of my closest friends.

It’s a great story isn’t it?

But, you ask, how did you get it wrong, Elyse?  You know I’m going to tell you.

You see, about 3 years ago, I went to a reunion of my high school acting group, the Players.  It was the 50th anniversary of the start of the group, which is well-known in Southern Connecticut.  There was to be a tour of the completely renovated school building, a review show starring Players from all the different eras who still lived in the area, a dinner and many, many drinks.

My old, close friend and fellow Player Sue and I decided to meet and share a hotel room.  I picked her up at the train station, and we drove through our memories together.  It was great – we caught up, laughed, acted like 16 year olds who were allowed to drink.  We had a blast.

At some point, I mentioned to her how shy I was in high school.

Shy kid

“You weren’t shy in high school.”

“Yes I was.  I was horribly shy.  Afraid of everyone.”

“No, you weren’t.”

“Well, you were one of my best friends,” I responded.  “Of course I wasn’t shy with you.”

Sue looked at me skeptically and the conversation went on to more interesting topics.

The next day, the day of the reunion, we linked up with other friends from our era.  Of course my close friends remembered me.  But so did people I didn’t remember.  In fact, most people from those days remembered me.  I was shocked.  How could people remember  invisible me?

I mentioned my surprise to Karen.  Now Karen was someone I looked up to.  She was (is) smart.  Funny.  Talented.  She’s someone I would have liked to have been close to in high school, but, really, I was way too shy.  And she was really cool.

“I would have had a lot more fun in high school if I hadn’t been so shy,” I said to Karen.

“Elyse, what are you talking about?” Karen said, her eyebrows furrowed and her entire body leaning towards me across the table.   “You were exactly like you are now back in high school.  Talkative.  Funny.  Vivacious.  You weren’t shy in the least.

Vivacious?  Me?

According to everybody there, which constituted most of my high school universe, the story I’d told for decades is wrong.  I was not shy.  I did not transform.  I am probably not even a damn butterfly.

I am so confused.  How do you get the story of your own life wrong?

*     *     *

I decided to re-post this piece from last year after a fun discussion about introverts and extroverts over at Gibber Jabber.

So what are you, an introvert, an extrovert, or as brilliantly suggested by Glazed suggested in yesterday’s comments, an ambivert?

70 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Childhood Traumas, Crohn's Disease, Friends, Health, Health and Medicine, History, Huh?, Illness, laughter, Mysteries, Plagarizing myself, Rerun, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Toilets, Wild Beasts

A Is For Algorithm

You will be surprised to learn that I didn’t plan on posting about this.

I figured that anybody who has ever read my blog knows precisely where I stand on this issue.  So I left it in that barren wasteland where all unused posts go — DRAFTS.

But then tonight I read a blog post that broke my heart.

Most of you know my bloggin’ buddy, TwinDaddy of Finding Twindaddy.  He has a new job doing tech-ie stuff at a school, and he wrote about ALICE at his school in a post called “A Sad State of Affairs.”

Alice?  Who’s ALICE?

Alice is an acronym that stands for:  Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.  The drills that students, teachers and administrators of our American — Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition — schools must perform periodically so that everybody is ready in the event that an active shooter comes to their school.

High School Students, Teachers and Administrators

Junior High School Students, Teachers and Administrators

Elementary School Students, Teachers and Administrators

Somehow, I don’t think this has gone down to the nursery school level.  Give it time.

Anyway, deleted what I had drafted because it was lame.  But after reading Twin Daddy’s post, I thought I’d show you the algorithm that one school in Michigan came up with.  It’s quite creative.

Because, you see,  not only do they (and folks in other states) have to worry about some nutcase coming through the door blasting, but they have to worry about other nutcases.  Yup, folks in many states need to figure out how to deal with potential crisis situations because of the folks who have been dubbed “ammosexuals.”   Ammosexuals are those particular nutcases who believe that their right to openly carry any fucking gun they please, and to waive it around, proclaiming their god-given/NRAsponsored right to bear arms, trumps your kids’ rights to, well, you know, breathe.

Because, of course, in states where it is legal to “open carry” guns, how can you tell the “good guys” from the “bad guys.”  So they had to come up with a decision tree:

Credit:  Americans for Responsible Solutions

Credit: Americans for Responsible Solutions

(Click to Enlarge)

Of course, by the time any school administrator could figure out that, well, that’s a bad guy, they’re probably dead.  Not a whole lot of help, then, is it?  Oh well, what’s a few more gun deaths in America?  It’s what we’re becoming famous for worldwide.  Once folks thought our streets were paved with gold — now they are paved with blood and bullet casings.

*      *     *

We really need to figure out, as a society, how to get a handle back on our brains, so that we can protect, at a minimum, our kids.

From my friend Father Kane at the Last of the Millenniums:  https://thelastofthemillenniums.wordpress.com/category/gun-control/

From my friend Father Kane at the Last of the Millenniums: https://thelastofthemillenniums.wordpress.com/category/gun-control/

 

ELECTIONS MATTER

Oh and as an aside, I passed through Newtown a few months ago.  I saw a pickup truck with this bumper sticker:

Assholes (Not Google Images who gave me this image)

Assholes (Not Google Images who gave me this image)

This is the ammosexuals’ response to the message that sane people in Sandy Hook put forth after the massacre:

Thanks, Google

Thanks, Google

 

And it made me realize just how important gun control laws are.  Because I wanted to shoot the asshole driving that truck.

48 Comments

Filed under 2016, Adult Traumas, All The News You Need, All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance, Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Campaigning, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Elections, Farts, GOP, Gun control, Health, Health and Medicine, History, Huh?, Law, Mental Health, Peace, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Virginia, Voting, Washington, Wild Beasts, Writing, WTF?

Shades of Gray — Copycat Edition

Doobster of Mindful Digressions named me in a photography challenge.

And since I am really a rotten photographer (but I do Google Images with finesse), I figured, what the hell.

Here are the rules:

The rules are pretty simple:

  1. Post a black & white photo daily for five posts in a row.
  2. Invite someone different to participate each day.

Ummm, except for photos of my black and white dog, which I take in color but still end up being black and white due to the subject matter, I don’t really do black and white.  I don’t do much in color, either.

But here goes.

My old headder in color

My old headder in color

 

And now, if I can figure out how to do it …

Does this work?

Does this count?

 

OK.  I’ll do it right.  I think ..

I did it!  With Doobster's help.

I did it! With Doobster’s help.

 

I’m going with the color one(s), I don’t know about you!

These are pictures of the place in Maine where my family goes in the summer — and occasionally in the winter.

I’m not going to challenge anyone to do this — feel free to do it and link to Doobster.  But it is kind of neat to see my photo in black and white.

46 Comments

Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Climate Change, Holidays, Huh?, Humor, Love, Maine, Word Press

This Post Is A Complete Waste of Time

Is there anything that you do that you know is a total waste of time, but you do it anyway?

Of course there is.

Mine is to take those stupid little quizzes that are all over the internet.  I have no idea why I do it.  But I always do.

In fact, just now, as I turned on my computer to do some work that didn’t get done at work yesterday, I continued to not get it done.  Because my old bloggin’ buddy, MJ Monahan, posted a piece.  I hadn’t planned on checking out any blogs, because I have work to do.  But MJ hasn’t posted in a million years or so, and he is really good.  So I figured, well, what’s the harm.  How long could it take?

MJ posted Who Am I — 12 Buzzfeed Quizzes and reported what they revealed.

So I had to take the 12 Buzzfeed quizzes.  Because I have an incredible amount of work to do and no time to waste.

And now I have to report what they revealed.  Because I have an incredible amount of work to do and no time to waste.

However, I plan to steal the entire format from MJ.  Because I have an incredible amount of work to do and no time to waste.

1. The fruit I’m most like:

I’m not entirely sure that in this day and age that this question is politically correct.  Nevertheless, I took the quiz:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/joannaborns/what-fruit-are-you#.esQO73nXO

Like MJ, I am a strawberry.

Strawberries are tiny berry bosses. When the strawberries come in, it’s serious. SERIOUS FUN. Is there anything more fun and flirty than a strawberry? Everyone loves them. But not everyone can have them, especially when they’re not in season. You’re IN DEMAND.

Strawberries are OK; I have wonderful memories of strawberry picking with Jacob when he was young and we lived near a farm.

2. What I should have been named:

Also like MJ, I like my first name, Elyse.  I didn’t as a kid, though.  I wanted to be named anything common — Mary or Marie.  Anything that folks could read, pronounce, and spell.  But I came to like it a lot, and I love the fact that I was named after one of my coolest relatives, Tante Elise.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/joannaborns/what-should-your-name-actually-be#.pn8vNJwDv

I got FLOSSIE.  FLOSSIE! WTF Buzzfeed?

You’re Flossie! Congrats — this name is amaaaazing. It was more popular at the turn of the 19th century, but you’re bringing it back!

No.  No.  A thousand times No.

3. Which season I would fall in love:

While we knew each other for years, John and I started dating in January, moved in together in April, and married in September of the following year.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/emmamariemusic/which-season-will-you-fall-in-love-11sp6#.hjNNzL2GN

For this question I got Autumn

Autumn is a time for new beginnings, and this will be the biggest one of all. You and your new boo will flirt with each other over yummy fall-themed drinks and steal each other’s sweaters and basically live the beautiful autumnal clichés of your dreams while falling slowly and sweetly in love.

Not exactly, Buzzfeed.  And Buzzfeed? It should be “IN which season would I fall in love.”  Grammar matters.

4. My most annoying office habit:

Me?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/tabathaleggett/what-is-your-office-thing#.dbd8kwNb8

I got: Asking people what they had for lunch

You like to keep tabs on your co-workers, and what better way to do so than asking each of them individually what they had for lunch? What people eat says a lot about them, and you consider yourself somewhat of a lunch detective. Keep on questioning!

Um, No, Buzzfeed.  In my tiny office, you can smell anything anyone is consuming down the hall.  So there is no need to ask.  And I have far more annoying habbits.  Trust me!

5. My personality type:

I’m a wanna-be laid back person who isn’t really as laid back as I think I am or as I want to be.  At least that’s what my husband tells me.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/danmeth/ink-blot-test#.viw5ejOv5

I got: Passionate

You are a blustery and sentimental ball of emotion. You live hard and love harder. It’s just one adventure after another and you despise those who can’t let themselves chew on the meat of existence. “LIVE, YOU BLOODLESS AUTOMATONS!” is a phrase you have said or will say in the near future.

Well, I do tend to get a bit worked up, now and then.  But only when pushed to it.  Ammirite?

6. What other people find attractive about me:

I would have guessed my sense of humor.  But I was wrong.
I got: My Independent Nature

Some people are made into leaders, but you were born one. You’re driven, ambitious, know what you want, and know how to get it. You’ve always done things on your own terms, and you’re a BO$$ in your own right.

Ummm, somewhat.  If I were more so I would be rich and famous.

7. My ACTUAL personality type:

To quote from MJ, “Because just knowing one’s personality type isn’t enough, one needs to know their ACTUAL type.”
I got: Type B

You like to play things by ear and have always been a carefree person. You’re all about achieving balance and living life to the fullest. You’re relaxed, take things as they come, and always aspire to live a life full of happiness.

I’m probably Type B unless you’re working for me on this project.  Then I come earlier in the alphabet.

8. My favorite color:

Who Am I, Favorite Color
Image stolen from MJ’s post.
Blue is in fact, my favorite color.  Sky, clothes, eyes.  Blue.
I got: Green

You are practical, down-to-earth, and like your favorite color implies, you love nature and the outdoors. You tend to wear your heart on your sleeve and connect well with people, which sometimes makes others “green” with envy.

Green’s OK.  Except that horrible lime green that is so popular now.  And I was once in a play about the 8 deadly sins and I played envy, so OK.  I’ll go along with green.

9. What’s my sixth sense:

Clearly it’s procrastination.  Because I really have a lot of work to do.
I got: Magically knowing when someone hot is near

That’s partially because you, yourself, are also hot. This hidden sense then comes from your own hotness, as well as your desire to be around other hot people.

Buzzfeed, you’re just messin with me now.

10. What color is my aura:

Chartruse.  I’m not even sure what color that is, but that would be my guess.
I got: Orange

You’re energetic, outgoing, and fun to be around. You’re a people pleaser who also enjoys being the center of attention. Still, you are highly attuned to others and sensitive to their needs. Your enthusiasm might lead you to start too much too quickly; if you can focus, you will succeed.

So I am an extroverted suckup?  Thanks Buzzfeed.  And don’t you try to suck up to me by telling me that if I don’t screw up I might succeed.

11. More right-brained or left-brained:

Sometimes I figure I am just plain hairbrained.  Or is it harebrained?  Bugs?  Bugs?  Can you answer that?
I got: Right-brained!

Well, hello there, naturally creative person! You’re super curious, and have a wicked imagination, which means you’re drawn to things like art, performance, and music. You can also be impulsive, and tend to follow your heart more than your head. People love you for your creativity and independent spirit — never lose that!

Well, I’ll go along with the right-brained much of the time.  Except when I’m not.

12. Where should my next vacation be:

064

Wonderland, Mount Dessert Island, ME. I think. It’s in that general area anyway. And it is lovely. My picture, from god knows when.

Most of our vacations involve driving up to Maine. So I was quite interested to see what this one would show.

I got: Road Trip!

You’re spontaneous, inquisitive, and all about experiencing new things. Exploring is everything to you, and you don’t need a big city to do that in. Eat at local diners, stay in tiny motels, and snap photos along the scenic routes. Small details matter to you, and getting there is half the fun. Potential trips you should take include winding your way through Italy’s Amalfi Coast, riding through Alaska’s Seward Highway, discovering Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, or taking the 113-mile drive from from mainland Florida to Key West.

Well done, Buzzfeed.

Hope you weren’t doing anything important today …

79 Comments

Filed under Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Conspicuous consumption, Driving, Extra Cash, Humor

How I Became A Famous Humor Writer

You might as well start gagging now. Because as a fake humor expert, I am bound and determined to tell you how it is done.

(Oh no!  I already violated one of the principles of writing — “Show,” don’t “Tell!”  Rats!)

When I wrote my post Trifecta! the other day, many commenters were shocked to find out that I had studied humor writing.

I’m not quite sure how to take that.

I mean, can’t you tell that this has been a life-long pursuit of mine? That I have been through decades of intensive training and Dick Van Dyke show watching?  Doesn’t my brilliant technique shine through? You know, like shinola?

I will stop being an ass now. Although being an ass is fun – and funny (see Steve Martin, for example).  And it comes so easily to some of us …

On to the Public Service Announcement

 PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT!

PSA2

Surprise is an excellent humor technique. Google Image, Natch.

 

When I said that I “studied humor writing” in Trifecta, I applied the first and most important rule of humor writing:

EXAGGERATION

So yeah, I “studied” humor writing. I took a course. One course. Online.

I’d been writing professionally — as a fake medical expert — for years; but it’s very dry. I am not. (Well, sometimes.)  But I wanted to have some fun, and so I started taking writing classes.

Humor Writing I was the second of three courses I took at Gotham Writers Workshop. (The first was Creative Writing 101 and the third was a Memoir course.) You can probably tell by the fact that I took THREE courses from them that I thought they were pretty good – or that I learned enough to justify the cost. Or that the courses coincided with baseball season. Or basketball season. Perhaps Lacrosse.

The first lesson of the class was the hardest, and most fundamental:   Written stories have to be structured differently than spoken ones or they are not funny.

Our first assignment was to tell a funny story you’d told a million times. This’ll be a breeze! I thought. I chose one that I’d been telling for 30 years to tears of laughter. After three days of trying, I posted a question on the online chat room:

“Has anybody else found that they are suddenly no longer funny?”

Everybody in the class felt they were no longer funny.

It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to write.  My hilarious — time tested — story fell flat. Writing that story up made me realize just how different humor writing is from just plain ole writing. And it made me realize that I had a lot to learn. I still do.

Anyway, if you click on the link above, you will get the synopsis of the course. It mentions a few principles of humor writing – ones that I really do use a lot. And the course led me to start this blog – (because what the hell else would I do with the stuff I wrote there?).  I am not sure it would be appropriate to sue Gotham for that, though.

There are lots of techniques and skills that I learned. The ones I use most often are:

The Rule of Three. Things are inherently funnier in threes. The Three Stooges (who I don’t think are at all funny); the Three Little Pigs; the Three Musketeers. The course taught me to look for threes whenever I was trying to be funny. It is something I do consciously now. Because for some reason it really does work. Even when I don’t use threes, I find that looking for them focuses my thinking on the two or four or however many end up in my story.

Snowballing is another good technique. That one I’m pretty sure you can figure out for yourself. Especially after this winter.

It enabled me to find my “voice.” Showed me ways to look at stupid people and present them at their, ummm, most realistic. Dialog. Comparisons to normal life. 

Two of my early blog posts were assignments in the class. They are still some of my best.

Downsizing

Manitoba Bound

I am not promoting or being paid (alas) by Gotham. But I promised to write about my humor writing studies.  The teachers taught me a lot, but much depends on the level of participation in the class.  It was great in the first two, sadly lacking in the Memoir course.

I don’t have any pretenses to being the next Erma Bombeck or Dave Barry.  But if you want to start paying me the big bucks in exchange for some snark, feel free to contact me!

64 Comments

Filed under Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Criminal Activity, History, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Taking Care of Each Other, Wild Beasts, Word Press, Writing