Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Out of Hiding

I've been wrestling with this self-imposed niche of humor writing for nearly a year now. You've seen me struggle with it, taking breaks, questioning my direction.  More specifically, I am disappointed by my inability to write anything BUT humorous, seemingly pointless little snippets.

For me, humor writing is easier.  Or, rather, it's safer.  There is no danger in throwing out a funny piece, because it's not meant to be taken seriously. If it's poorly written, who cares? If it fails as humor, then I can place that on you. They just don't have my sense of humor! See what I've done? I've completely hidden myself beneath an ugly, threadbare blanket, peeking through the holes in the fabric, occasionally, to hold some words up to the filtered light. Is this any way to write? Is this any way to live?

In high school and college, I wrote poetry. I'd spend weeks revising a sentence alone.  I sent out my work. I got into journals.  (Ok, A JOURNAL. With a horrible website at that.) In undergrad and graduate school, I wrote complex, meaningful essays. I wrote professional-grade research. Research that impressed even me. Research that allowed me to establish new theories about the writing process in this technological age.  Research I was too nervous to try to publish. 

Despite some regrets, in any of these scenarios, I was proud of my writing.  And I'm finding it difficult to be proud of what I write here.  If I'm to continue my blog, and if I'm to grow as a writer, this needs to change. Obviously.

So, to that effect, I'm starting a new weekly series based on writing prompts.  Sure, it'd be lovely if this turned into the next Dear, So & So, or Random Tuesday Thoughts, or Wordless Wednesday (anyone know who started that one?), or TMI Thursday.  Actually, scratch that. I'm no so much a fan of TMI.  By definition, it's, um, too much.

But right now, it's ok if it's just for me.  In fact, it's not exactly a novel concept.  Regardless, here's my contribution to this idea of the collective writing effort. Embrace it! (Or don't.) The main point is that I do. And that I let it take me back to that place where fear, shame, and insecurity doesn't turn my emotions away from the page. Doesn't filter them from the light.

And this is how it works:

1. Each week (or so), I'll choose a passage, quote, poem, or photograph--even an event--to inspire the post.  Begin the post by sharing that prompt.
2. The post itself can be a reaction, a story, a poem, a set of dialogue--anything, really.  I suppose it could even be funny.
3. My goal is not to eliminate my other writing voice(s), but to expand it.
4. Ultimately, this is an exercise, and I'm not sure how it will work or what it might help me to discover.
5. Join me!  Grab the above button & link back to my "Product of Silence" tab beneath the header to spread the word. There you will also find a nicely edited list of guidelines. (I imagine there may be some kinks to iron out along the way. Find all those up-to-date revisions on this page.)
6. There is no fixed day for this; I think keeping it open would help to avoid forcing a reaction.  Sound good?

And, in case any of you want to join me for the maiden voyage, I'll be putting up my first POS (heh) post on Thursday.  Let me know what you think, won't you? And let me know who's planning on joining in this Thursday! (Or the next, or the next...)


  1. Some folks find it harder to write funny stuff than the serious issues. It all depends on who you are, and what you are like on the inside.

    Personally, I think you're hil-frikin-larious...don't ever change.

    Of course, I was always a fan of toilet humor anyhow...but that's beside the point.


  2. Don't over-analyze your writing techniques. Workshops tend to make one look at their own writing as if they've painted themselves into a corner however, its that exact same "thing" that makes one's writing so unique. Please keep being hysterical, that's why we all flock to you, you make us laugh. xo

  3. I get it. I really do.

    And I really like the way you're trying to move forward. Wish I would have thought of it myself. :) I'll be participating, if not this week, then at least sometime in the future.

  4. I've been feeling a lot like this as well. After writing numerous intelligent pieces in grad school and a 120-page thesis (F* me), I've been feeling like me writing has taken a turn for the worse, which is why I started Writing Workshop Wednesday, but I think I only made it to one or two posts before I decided that the site that provided the prompts were suggesting lame-o prompts. I'm curious about yours and will have to try it out. I look forward to your POS post (that is funny).

  5. Scratch: Thank you :) I won't change the funny. I'm just adding to it.

    LL: Thanks for the kind words :) I don't hope to overanalyze; I'm just reconnecting with other parts of my writing style. This has always been me; I've just kept it hidden. I promise I won't kill the humor. I like it just as much as you, I'd bet.

    OWO: Thanks, dude. I would be beyond thrilled to have you join me. Really.

    OBG: Right? Going from one extreme to the other isn't healthy, regardless of the context. Everything in moderation. And other old-lady witticisms, right? I didn't realize there was something like this out there already. I hope I'm not ripping someone off. I cannot afford attorneys.
    And I really hope you'll try it out. Doing this en masse makes it feel less terrifying.

  6. Don't worry, even at your worst you would be considerably better than "TMI Thursdays" at their best. Anyway, good luck with this - will be interesting to see what you come up with. I think you can always tell when humour is forced - and it doesn't quite work.

  7. Excellent idea, and I totally get it. Look forward to joining you as soon as I get back from vacation where I plan on writing nothing but my name on the bottom of bar tabs.

  8. So I'm confused. Do we just put up the button, or do we still have to write a post. Because that would seem to defeat the point of the button.

  9. "7. Join me! Grab the above button and link back to my "Product of Silence" tab beneath the header to spread the word.
    Sound good?"

    Yes... Yes it does. Now, could you explain to my freshly newbie blogger brain how in the feezy I do all that?! I is confused.

  10. London: I hope to impress you and get on that silly list of yours, goddamnit.

    LGBG: Vacations are enough to put me in the funhouse. Godspeed.

    DP: Wheeee! Thanks :)

    Ed: Sigh. You grab the button AND you write the post. Which part of this is confusing you? Should I bust out my picture book drawings?

    Aggy: Thanks for joining in! To grab the button, you can right-click and save it to your desktop. Then you can upload it to your picture account through blogger (the way you'd do any picture for a post) and place it in a new draft. Once you've done that, you can click on the picture and then (in your new post/draft box) click on "link". A box will pop up where you can enter this blog address. Email me if you need further directions!

  11. "silly list"? What exactly do you mean, Kristine?

  12. TWTWTB, of course! I don't think it's silly at all. I was being...sarcastic? Obnoxious? Whichever.
    It's a goal of mine. (The list, that is. Not the obnoxious bit.)

  13. I know what you're saying about being trapped in humour. You get to a point where it is all you do and it you can feel trapped in it. I hope this works for you and I'll be back on Thursday to check it out. I'm not going to promise to contribute at the moment, since I'm barely doing more than posting pictures on my blog right now, but I'll definitely give it a shot at some point.

  14. SM: Thanks! I think.

    CD: Nice to hear this is resonating with some of my favorite bloggers. I look forward to yours!

  15. This sounds like an awesome idea, said the guy who doesn't get around to reading posts until they've been up for like a week or two. I get that feeling a lot, like maybe I'll holding back out of fear.

  16. SM: Thanks! I think.

    CD: Nice to hear this is resonating with some of my favorite bloggers. I look forward to yours!

  17. Excellent idea, and I totally get it. Look forward to joining you as soon as I get back from vacation where I plan on writing nothing but my name on the bottom of bar tabs.