Words bridge us together.
If I could have swapped all my English classes for Math and Science, I would've in a heartbeat! Math and Science made sense to me. The other stuff, no so much. Therefore, I never thought I was going to be a writer. Fortunately, no one remembers any of my childhood never-in-a-million-years bets.
I started writing when I lived overseas for nearly a decade. It wasn't my first time living abroad, but this particular location alarmed family and (some) friends. To them, I moved to an exotic but dangerous place, perpetually under the threat of war and the shadow of religion.
To satisfy everyone's concern and curiosity, I emailed weekly narratives about my time abroad. But after the first year, the newness for me faded, and everyday life was just that---everyday life. To make the writing process more interesting, prose transitioned to poetry. My weekly emails home have long ended, but my writing continues. They are stories about life. It's my way of converting observations into some semblance of understanding.
I feel utterly deficient in comprehending human behavior (my own included). As a child forced to "suffer" through a well rounded education, I wish someone would have explained that English and Literature were just lessons about the messy goop called human interactions. Perhaps I would have paid more attention!
Currently, I'm in the middle of yet another never-in-a-million-years overturn. I recently became involved in improv and sketch comedy. Now it's not just observing, but acting out life's absurdities. And along with acting, comes feeling, reacting, and pushing behavior to the (sometimes illogical) limit.
So my writing is slowly developing a "lighter" side, to some people's relief. A friend hoped my writing would one day become funny, rather than sad. No doubt, a wish for a more positive perspective.
There is, however, a caveat to comedy writing. To quote R. McKee (Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting, 1997):
"Comedy points out that in the best of circumstances human beings find some way to screw up. When we peek behind the grinning mask of comic cynicism, we find a frustrated idealist. The comic sensibility wants the world to be perfect, but when it looks around, it finds greed, corruption, lunacy. The result is an angry and depressed artist."
Oh, the irony! On the bright side, at least I don't have to change too much of myself for comedy. And if anything, laughter is excellent therapy.
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