To be honest, I’m often quite okay with being the village idiot.
I honestly do foolish things, mostly self-deprecating things, either to make myself or others laugh. Because if I didn’t laugh at myself, I’d cry all the time and that just won’t do. And, because nearly all humor is derived from someone else’s pain, discomfort or embarrassment, and I don’t want to hurt others, I poke fun at myself. Mostly. My eldest daughter deserves all I dish out to her as retribution for all she does to me to drive me bonkers. Instant karma, don’t you know.
TJ at The Lustful Empress just posted (warning: her site is potentially NSFW) that, paraphrased, poets are a overly-serious stuck-up lot. That might come off as offensive to if she weren’t a poet herself, except she its and she is right, honestly.
I know that I can be prickly at times, which is why I usually try to take myself down a few notches once I catch myself taking myself far too seriously. As a writer. As a person.
But going back to the matter at hand, I think TJ has a point. As poets, we can write all sorts of deep and meaningful tripe that is, oh, so moody, and filled with 55¢ words when 10¢ words will do just nicely, filled with deep and mysterious references to other pieces of literature or myth, but that misses a whole facet of existence and really cripples people as writers.
I may largely focus on the “goth/emo” stuff inspired by (though well short of) the likes of Rimbaud and Baudelaire, but I do try to take time out to look at the more simple things, like modified haiku. Or I try to tell what stories with elements that I hope are funny [Gong Show gong sounded here], even if the story itself isn’t intended to be humorous.
I don’t know how good I am. Probably not very. So, I’m always honestly surprised when someone takes a moment out of their day to say — “that hits home” — or whatever. That means, even if I’m not very good, I can still touch people in a very clumsy and adolescent “cop a feel” way. Occasionally, someone has told me they laughed. Once, the intent wasn’t to make them laugh, and that was awkward, but it it was still a “win” in my books.
But I’m careful not to take anything I write too seriously. I play with words. It’s a game. Sometimes it is serious subject matter (okay, often), sometimes less so. Even when it’s serious, it’s still just a game.
And maybe that’s where I have it all wrong and that I could be a world-famous writer, if only I’d be more stuck up about my writing and serious. But honestly, that’s a bind for me and I get writer’s block when I worry about that stuff.
I know — some of you wish I’d get writer’s block more often.
As you were. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.