Friday, February 29, 2008

Funny Author*

by Elodia Strain

It was late February, 2008. I had been waiting for this day for months: The day Funny Author* released her newest book. I called Waldenbooks when it opened to make sure they had copies. I rushed to the mall. I was in and out in what felt like seconds, ignoring the whir of the Orange Julius blenders and the big Sale sign in front of Bath and Body Works.

I rushed to my car where I sat down inside, opened the book, and started reading. I had heard the premise of the book already and couldn’t wait to laugh my way through the pages. But soon, I was on page 285, and I had only mildly chuckled twice. Not even close to the third-page-crack-up I experienced in a hair salon while reading Funny Author’s prior release. I’m not going to lie: I really missed the laughter-induced stomach ache.

I used to think Funny Author was some kind of writing mutant, blessed with a hilarity gene. But now that she’s written seven hilarious books and one I’m not finding quite as hilarious, I’m beginning to think maybe she’s more like the rest of us humor-writers: People who’ve always liked to laugh and make others laugh, but who find that writing humor can be pretty darn hard sometimes. People who don’t just sit down at the computer and feel the hilarity flow through their fingers, but who have to wait for the funny to come. (For me it has come in places as odd as a masseuse’s table, where I had to repeat the idea over and over in my head because it was better than saying, “Excuse me, miss, do you mind taking a break for a second so I can write something down?”) People who after reaching #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list, traveling across the country promoting, and giving birth to 3 children, maybe have a little more on their minds than putting people in stitches.

So today, as the sun shines and winter looks teasingly close to an end, I will finish the last three chapters of Funny Author’s book and enjoy every last fun (though not quite hilarious) page. And I will breathe a sigh of relief that (for now) my mutant hilarity-writing-gene theory has been debunked, and I therefore still stand a chance.

*name has been changed to protect me from feeling bad about naming names


Christine Thackeray said...

This reminds me of my teenage years when I read my first Danielle Steele book and thought I suddenly knew what true love was. I read my second and thought it was nice. And when I hit the third, realized she only had one plotline. But I've got to admit even knowing that, I bought a few more along the way.

Marcia Mickelson said...

I think I might know who you're talking about. I was kind of looking forward to read that one (if it's who I think it is) too. I still might..

Julie Wright said...

it is DANG hard to be funny in writing. Which is why it bothers me that comedy is so often overlooked for big awards. Writing about an angst ridden teen is a hundred times easier than being truly funny in a book.