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Thursday, November 15, 2012

The importance of humor in life and art,

            Okay, when I started out as a writer I never intended to use humor in my writing. Most people who know me would probably characterize me as being serious and quiet but for those of whom I trust and love I have a completely different side that would shock my casual acquaintances into stunned silence.
            I’ve come to this very trite conclusion after my very brief history as an adult, life is too serious. We work, we buy, we pay, we worry, we fear and we worry some more but all these things have less of a hold on us if we simply laugh once in a while. It doesn’t make the worry disappear but it gives it less control over us. I really found this out when I started working in a very serious job as a psych security guard six years ago.
My basic job duties are as such, keep everyone safe. That’s right I have the arduous task of keeping my patients, nurses, doctors, caseworkers, occupational therapists, a school teacher and even the occasional police officer safe during times of crisis. Nothing on earth will strengthen a team of coworkers faster than tackling an unhappy patient while they are swinging a kitchen chair over their head because they don’t like French toast and the first lady wants to change the name of cookie monster.
Now I want to make it very clear that I’m not laughing at the patients. I would never do that but I do laugh at some of the situations I sometimes find myself in. Like when I find myself in the ER getting tested for hepatitis C because a four year old bit me in the ass, or last week when I was trying to restrain a six foot two three hundred and thirty pound male transvestite who was quite content with beating the voices out of his head with a metal handicap bathroom rail and the best I could do was weigh down a single arm with both my feet dangling six inches off the floor while waiting for the police to arrive. Its memories like this, that we have a choice to either laugh or cry and I chose to laugh.
As I continue writing I cover a lot of strong emotions and I’ve also become aware of the fact that negative emotions are a lot easier to portray in literature than positive ones. So my challenge to myself is to add a little humor. It isn’t easy. Humor for people can range from dark sarcasm to slapstick and you can’t explain a poorly timed joke to a reader if they don’t get it, while some people simply refuse to think anything is funny. But I am willing to take the risk if it means that what I write may make someone forget some of life’s little burdens for just a little while and maybe just maybe bring a little joy to their day.


  1. Nothing like a good laugh from time to time! I definitely take things too seriously at times, and have a hard time coping with stress. Can only imagine how hard it would be if I didn't already laugh a fair bit! Great post, wonderful insight.

  2. What a fascinating post, Cree! I had no idea your day job was such a challenging one! Good for you for the ultimate grace-under-pressure experience! I work in a library, where there is still a chance a 4-yr-old might bite me in the ass. LOL Thanks for sharing!