Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Finding the Humor
There's definitely some humor in the fact that I took a humor writing class this weekend. Could you really learn how to be funny? Even after this 7-hour Gotham Writer's Intensive, I remain relatively unconvinced but it's never a bad thing to learn new techniques and to practice with some writing prompts and to surround yourself with other writers.
My biggest issue is that my humor is dry and subtle, benignly snarky perhaps. This doesn't usually translate well on the page for me but I really loved the hand-outs and suggested readings that structured the class. The instructor, Ryan, was really low-key, informative and focused mostly on contemporary writers, which I appreciated. These are the people who are currently shaping and re-shaping the literary world; these are the people who are doing readings all around the city. We talked a bit about Sloane Crosley, one of my favorites, and we read Lorrie Moore's famous How to Become a Writer, which reminded me of how much I love Lorrie Moore, which was then followed with a strong urge to read Birds of America again.
All in all, the class could have easily been condensed into four or five hours. However, I did leave with a bunch of ideas for short stories and essays, including a romance/adventure revolving around pieces of IKEA furniture that fall in love because, let's be honest, bookcases deserve to find love too.
I think my new plan of action is to just write. I just need to get the words on the paper (or screen, my technology-loving friends) and then revise until there is some semblance of a humor essay in front of me. In any event, there are plenty of worse ways I could have spent a beautiful Sunday in August than learning about writing on the Upper East Side.
Photo taken at corner of Lexington and 72nd Street.