I must admit that it felt good, satisfying even, to hear laughter several times on Monday as my scene was read out loud by two classmates. And this wasn’t the first time. The week before the same thing happened. My writing actually caused these serious-minded activists and mostly retired Bay Area progressive intellectuals to laugh out loud during our play-writing class.
I don’t think of myself as a particularly funny person. I am incapable of telling a joke and rarely come up with funny one-liners in response to someone else’s comments. What I am learning in class is that I can use my observational skills to write dialogue that illustrates how absurd or comical our language and our ideas about ourselves and others can be especially in contrast with one another. And I am having fun putting these thoughts down on paper.
As I play with writing lighter, funnier scenes, I am also questioning this idea of myself as a serious person who needs to write about serious topics. We all have these images of ourselves that may or may not be necessary or may have morphed over time. If we give ourselves the opportunity to question our beliefs or try a new way of being, thinking, or doing, we might just develop more flexibility and more options in our lives.
This morning I examined photographs of the wild gowns that celebrities donned for the Met Gala and tried to imagine wearing and posing in such a get up. It wasn’t just the elaborate fabrics, jewels, hairdos, make-up, high-heels, nails, body-exposing gowns, and tattoos, it was the looks on their faces as they composed their attitude for the camera.
I can imagine writing about this scene, but I cannot imagine putting on a show like that personally. It would even be challenging for me if I were acting it out in a play.
We each have our limits. What relationships or causes are worth stretching and flexing for? When is it potentially fun, and when is it just too scary to imagine? Perhaps we don’t know until we try something, and then practice at it until it feels more comfortable. Or, perhaps we don’t really want to find out. We each get to decide over and over and over again throughout our lives.