Writers Chill! A Lesson in Humility: Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

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Here’s a joke from Steven King that I’m slightly paraphrasing:

 A priest, a nun, and a rabbit walk into a bar. The rabbit looks around and says, “I think I’m a typo.”

That’s writer’s humor for ya.

Thank God somebody in this godforsaken shutdown anything-but-normal ‘new’ normal world is trying to make a funny! From all I read daily across blogs, see on the news, hear people twatting and posting about, very few of us seem to take our sense of humor out for a walk these days. Everybody is poised for a protest, looking to show off their offense, wanting to cancel somebody for saying something. Is it Covid’s influence or, could it be that because of social media infestation, we feel our every utterance is worth uttering, and we can rail when we want at everything we want?

Can’t we all just chill out? Take it down a notch? 

I feel if anybody should lead the charge of amping down one’s ego, letting go of the supposed righteous indignation, ‘taking a chill pill,’ it should be us, erotica writers, actually, all creative types. Let’s face it; we are some of the worst culprits of taking ourselves too seriously.

Yes, what we do is important… to us, but I hate to burst your bubble; your scribblings, songs, sculptures, or flower pot set-ups are never going to be as important to somebody else as they are to you. As firmly as you may hold them, your opinions are just as valid as anybody else’s… but not more so. You might get paid for your naughty stories, or singing (wonderful, I say!), and the very nature of doing well in your profession might allow you a little more spotlight than the best janitor in the local high school, but what we create, true to our lives and center to our existence.

I know you are trying to sell yourself at the same time, protect your reputation, and self-worth against constant rejection. But nobody really wants to hear anybody going off these days, when all anybody seems to be doing is going off about some new injustice or railing on Twitter about a post.

Take it down a notch, people, please!

Let me leave you with this example from my writing life that reiterated the need for humbleness, for taking one’s head out of one’s ass, for chilling…

The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd

I have made some (a very little some) professional headway in the playwriting field. I haven’t much gone beyond community theater. Still, I have been lucky enough to have had many of my one-acts produced and have had my words acted/spoken by some wonderful people under the direction of other wonderful people in equally wonderful theaters across the US. I have been humbled at each turn, truly; I love “The Roar of the Greasepaint-The Smell of the Crowd” (look that quote up, it’ll be worth what you find). But only once have I been asked to sit in on a rehearsal of one of my plays. I never thought to get in their anyway, figuring the rehearsal was the domain of actors, director, lighting, and sound crew. But I was asked this one time and gladly, humbly, accepted.

I loved it. In fact, the process was an eyeopener as I was able to cut some words, whole passages in fact, after I saw the actors deliver my meaning with a look or the director through some subtle blocking with better intent than my lines could.

But I had been told time and again that writers are especially forbidden in rehearsals because most can’t take a word being changed or a few lines cut, where I welcomed the revisions (and if you aren’t revising, as I have cautioned in another column, you aren’t doing the writing right).

Indeed, ‘putting up’ a play is a unique process for a writer of that play since you are collaborating. Each person’s contribution is equally important (yeah yeah, without my words, there would be no play to perform, I get that, but how would it be performed without actors, directors, crew, and audience?).

My point here, as it relates to the title of this piece and the theme this time out… we all could do well with taking ourselves out of the center of the drama of life, realize we are but one small voice in the great din. Stay true to your opinion, even share it if you like (although I do believe there is too much of this happening these days to serve anybody, really) but remember, even if somebody says something that really gets your goat, rubs you the wrong way way (because everybody wants is to be rubbed the right way right?) realize, please, that it’s just an opinion.

Keep your head down, get to work, take it down a notch.


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