Okay, first of all, I have Covid. This is crummy; I feel crummy. Not a small part of that crummy feeling is knowing that I have been as cautious as I could possibly be for the last two and a half(!) years of this plague. Fortunately, part of that caution has been getting any vaccination I could as soon as it became available, so the effects of the infection haven’t been nearly as bad as they might have been. Still crummy, though.
A big part of the crumminess is the isolation; not even being able to hug my sweet wife or squiggle the ferret (down to one now; another crummy part of the summer). You might have thought that the Covid-imposed isolation would be a boon for my writing activities. You would have thought wrong in that case. Hell, it’s a titanic struggle just getting this post committed to the page.
I have definitely hit a wall with the second draft of Laughingstock. I was jazzed when I finished up the first draft earlier this year; sat down and wrote a bunch of notes for how to improve it for the second draft; and promptly did next to nothing.
Part of the reason for that is I’m trying a new piece of writing software called Scrivener, after having used boring ol’ MS Word for umpteen years. The problem is that Scrivener is just too cool for school. It’s got all sorts of neat little authorial bells and whistles and features and stuff, and as a techno-geek of the old school, I can’t resist playing with them all – even if I’m certain that I will only use these features for a short time if at all. Scrivener has a lot of rabbit holes to go down.
Of course, that’s really only an excuse – and not a particularly good one at that. Not nearly as good as, say, getting a disease.
To lift my diseased spirits and try to provide some inspiration for continuation of Laughingstock, I’ve been listening to a lot of comedy. I’ve been a comedy geek for nearly as long as I’ve been a techno-geek (I’m into a lot of geekery; I’m somewhat of a Renaissance geek).
Last week, I was listening to Mitch Hedberg. If you’ve never done so, I’d recommend it. His was a unique voice, and it still makes me sad that a drug overdose cut that voice back in 2005. His comedy is not for everyone – he employs a lot of nonsequiturs and unexpected wordplay. That’s what I find so appealing.
As I learned from Mitch’s Wikipedia entry, he also employs a figure of speech called a paraprosdokian. According to Merriam-Webster, this is “a figure of speech in which the end of the sentence is surprising, or causes the reader to reinterpret the first part.” This is a useful tool in the comedian’s toolbox, as evidenced by Henny Youngman’s famous line “Take my wife – please!”
I was pleased to learn the word paraprosokian, because I had encountered on in the form of a bumper-sticker about a year ago. I was taking a walk in the neighborhood and my eyes glanced over a bumper-sticker on a parked minivan. I took two more steps while my brain processed what I had read, then I doubled over laughing. Here it is:
I suppose you have to get a laugh wherever you can these days; it’s good to know they’re all around if you have the right eye. Meanwhile, I’m back to the recuperation lounge with a huge freakin’ Ken Follett novel about cathedrals.