This past weekend, I was lucky enough to spend some time with my friend, Alice Bradley, co-author of the brand-spanking new book Let's Panic About Babies. Alice is also the author of the wildly popular blog Finslippy, and we'd met several years ago at a blogging conference. She's a hilarious writer with great wit, and a sweet friend.
Over the weekend, we got into a somewhat serious discussion about writing, and humour writing specifically. Alice is of the opinion that humour writing can be taught; moreover, she gave me some insight into how she writes. "It's all about perspective," she mused. "I write humour because I have to: I couldn't imagine doing anything else. And I find that as I go through my day, every day, I'm constantly looking for the joke. I'm always looking for how an event can be perceived as funny."
At first, I was skeptical: I mean, I don't know that I'm a particularly funny person; moreover, while I love to write, I think it would really quite challenging for me to be a humour writer. Still, in a certain way, what she was saying makes sense; in fact, it reminded me of how I shoot. At any given time, whether or not I have my camera on me, I'm constantly framing shots: looking at how the light is falling, what shadows there are, and what around me would make the most photogenic subject. Perhaps there's something that humour-writing and photography actually share -- perspective -- that are key to doing them successfully. Even more, perhaps the skill of seeing life from different perspectives is actually something that can be honed or practiced.
Maybe the skill of approaching life with a lighter outlook can actually be learned.
We spoke quite a bit over the weekend, and Alice was kind enough to let me record some of our conversation to share with you. Here's what she had to say:
Isn't she awesome?
Anyway, the upshot is that Alice has given me a lot of food for thought, and I think I'm going to really try, over the coming month, to approach my life with more open eyes; identifying the ways in which my stresses might actually be funny. It can't hurt right?
And while I'm doing this, I'm also going to do a little more to make sure there's more humour in my life: watch a few more comedies on television (my steady diet of Law & Order episodes could probably do with a bit of a change), and search for some more talented humour writers on the web. I have a few favourites -- The Bloggess, Hyperbole & a Half, Fluid Pudding and of course, Alice's blog, Finslippy, rank near the top -- but i could always go for a few more.
In fact, if you have any favourites, please share them in the comments, below. Share the laughter love.
And as always, may your coming month be filled with humour.