Saturday, January 7, 2012

Laughing at Ourselves

Admit it, there are times in all our lives we’re embarrassed and want to hide from the world.  Often times, it’s in those moments that a true glimpse of life can be seen as well as the reality of who someone is.  Come on, you know what I mean, one of those moments so rare in its quality that you might miss it if you’re not paying attention.  You could also miss it if you aren’t there when it happens.  To me it’s those moments, the ones that are really embarrassing, I love to capture in my mind, remembering the experience with as much detail as possible in order to allow myself to search for that particular data file hidden away in the recesses of my brain at some point in the future.

The last few months have been filled with more “stuff” than I would’ve ever expected.  In the midst of all of this “stuff” I haven’t been able to write my blog as I had hoped much less write anything at all.  I recently read a greeting card which stated an absolute truth scrolled on it in beautiful calligraphy:  life is often messy.  Personally, I believe that life is what’s happening to us while we’re waiting to live.  In order to actually change this paradigm I think we’ve got to find ways to laugh at ourselves, finding the humor in our embarrassing situations, finding our own humanity in the midst of the struggles we face.  Recently, I experienced my own embarrassing moment and realized that I try to create that in some of the characters I write about.

I want them to face their challenges and the reader to be, at times, frustrated with the character.  If I can accomplish this it means that the reader has become involved in my story, finding that they are participating in the emotions I am trying to create.  The main character of my first novel, A Work in Progress, is a guy named Jeremy Jackson.  He’s a regular guy who gets caught up in something much bigger than he is and then struggles to figure out how to deal with the events surrounding him.  If you can’t look at a character and see their flaws then they aren’t real.  I mean, even batman and superman have their flaws.  It’s in these flaws that we, as readers and watchers, identify with allowing us to root for the good guys.

Think about it.  Who wants to root for the person you can’t identify with?  In my stories I want to create an emotional response.  Hopefully, by having characters the reader can identify with helps to accomplish this.  Because, after all, we all have our own flaws and the only way to see them as well as address them is to identify them.  Sometimes laughing at our situation allows us the ability to do this.