Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Flying Week

The week of the humor writing intensive has come and gone and what a week it was.

I learned that I am funny. At least on the page I can be funny. We practiced different approaches to writing humor and read famous writers' humor and read the writing of other writers in the intensive. We gave feedback. We tried to write and have it be funny; we tried to write without the mandate of humor by writing to a prompt and if it was funny, bonus!

The good thing about an online writing intensive in Ariel Gore's Literary Kitchen is that it is only a week. I can do anything for a week (pretty much), even if my schedule ended up not being as open and lazy as it was when I signed up for the class months ago. The bad thing about the intensives is that they are only a week.

It is true that time flies when you're having fun and the Humor Writing Intensive was no exception.

I did write every day. Even days when that meant posting my writing at 2 AM. And feedback at 2:30 AM. I did it. Every day,

Then, poof, it was over.

From that lovely week I have a few pieces to develop more. One premise I am letting another writer use for her own story (yes, she asked! very nice). And I have saved all of my writing and all of my feedback for future use.

I also signed up for an online poetry writing class through another source. It is one I wanted to do but avoided because the timing was terrible (it was supposed to start last week). Apparently there were technical issues so the start date was delayed to some unnamed time. Which is fine. Especially if it is later in April. So I signed up for that workshop/class and have a writing class to look forward to for after I get through the plays of April.

But back to the humor class. It was helpful, fun, informative, and I learned things. And I wrote. Ariel's workshops are always inspirational and she attracts supportive and talented writers. These are the things which keep my writing flowing and which keep me from going down the I'm-not-a-writer drain.

Thank you, Ariel, and all of the writers in the Humor Intensive!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Practicing Funny

This is the week of the humor writing class in Ariel Gore's Literary Kitchen.

It's kind of kicking my ass.

It's not that I didn't know that writing humor is hard; I already knew that. But trying to write to the prompts and make them funny is hard because some of the subject matter for applying humor is not naturally funny.

No, that's not explaining it well.

Okay. An example. On Tuesday we were to make two lists of things which we aren't supposed to write about or talk about for reasons which put them into those two lists. The things fell into the sacred-don't-touch column or the taboo-you're-going-to-hell column. Then we had to write.

It took me about forty-five minutes just to come up with five things in each column. And I wasn't even to the writing stage, yet.

I got there. I wrote. I wrote some funny stuff. And some not as funny stuff. It was a freewrite so it meandered a bit. Which was okay,too.

I am writing every day. And I am giving some feedback every day.

Sometimes I am surprised at what comes off my hands onto the page and it's not bad. Maybe I do still have a funny streak left. The next step will be figuring out how to integrate it into more of my writing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How to be Funny. No, How to Write Funny.

This is not going to tell you the answer.

I don't know the answer of how to include more humor in my writing. I first typed, "in your writing," but I am talking about me.

Which is why I signed up for Ariel Gore's first ever humor writing workshop. Because I realized that I don't have a lot of humor in what I write. Not usually and not in the big pieces I have in progress (or in a stalled state).

Humor can move the story along. It lightens the heavier moments. It makes us feel good or breathe or think, I can read more even though the topic is a little too close to home or heavy or something.

One of the many things I admire about Ariel is her ability to mix in levity in serious subjects. Like her most recent book, "The End of Eve." It is not a humor book and it is not a humorous story. But there are moments which she weaves together as golden threads to keep the reader right there in the whole experience of the moments about which she has written.

These are the things missing in most of my stories. When I try to write humor I feel stilted or stupid and that the writing is too self-conscious or it outright sucks. Which may be a bit over the top but it is how it feels.

Humor in the face of big topics or big emotions. To bring a smile along with the tears.

This week before the week-long intensive we were instructed to find a piece of something we find funny. Then write about why it is funny. To us. To me. And I realize that I also don't read much humor. Or I haven't for a while. So my first challenge in the workshop is to find something that is funny. There have been moments in books, but only moments. I was reminded about Marc Acito's books, which I read several years ago. If I can't come up with something more current, I will go with one of those - find a passage I like and post it, with analysis of why I find it funny.

Humor. I'm not against it. But I realize it is an important missing ingredient in a lot of what I write. I don't aspire to be a comic, just to put more light and space in my stories.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Poetry on my Mind

It is that time of year, again : Poetry Out Loud. The regional competitions were held last weekend and each region is sending the top three participants to the state finals competition next week.

So I have a lot of poems on my mind.

I have no complaints about my very busy schedule, which is filled with poetry and theater on top of the other word work I do. It is work and it is creativity and language, all rolled up together.

True, not as much of my own original writing is happening at the moment, but that will change. I am still working more at the editing and revising level of my own writing. I also wrote some ideas and a basic outline - *gasp* - of an idea for a play.

Poetry is at the top of my list right now as I am working on translations of the poems.

So I decided to share a video of one of the poems I am working on. Not all of the poems are this reality based; some of the ones we are working on are much more abstract or "poetic" with many layers of meaning. "Very Large Moth" by Craig Arnold is pretty straightforward, and it still carries a message.

No, this guy is not competing in Poetry Out Loud. But this poem will make an appearance.