Friday, October 11, 2013
Laughter or Tears
Writing a truly funny scene is about more than timing. The author must 'see' the humor in everyday, whacked out life. Most of us don't. We laugh at slapstick comedy, but not the humor inherent in the simple process of living.
Once I was reading a book in a restaurant while waiting for a very slow waiter to deliver our food. The hunk was watching a game on their televisions. We were content. The story was about a widow with three small boys and the single man who was falling in love with her. He volunteered to babysit. He served spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. There was an awesome food fight. Need I say more?
I laughed so hard tears streamed down my face--while I was desperately struggling to be quiet. After all, I was in public. Evidently, I wasn't successful because three people from surrounding tables demanded to know what I was reading. All three wrote down the title and author. And since I was causing a stir, the manager showed up. She wrote down the title and author, too.
And our food miraculously showed up immediately.
The other night I was re-reading another of this same author's books. We were having a quiet evening at home, watching Antiques Roadshow. In between keeping an eye on the various items, I was reading one of the most touching and heart-wrenching scenes I've ever read. As I haphazardly mopped at the tears trickling down my face with a ragged tissue, the hunk asked me what I was reading. When I told him, he just nodded and said he'd cried, too, when he read that scene.
That ability to touch the heart of the reader is a fearsome gift. It can't be taught. It must be felt deep in the soul.
Yesterday was the author's birthday. May she live long and prosper.