Tag Archives: laughter

Is The Excitement Over?

I realize last week the reason I had lackluster blog posts is because I had very little material to write about. 

***Warning, this is a looong post.***

Boy, did I screw up. This weekend had to be the strangest, most painful weekend I’ve had since I passed kidney stones on my 30th birthday. Yeah, that was a stellar weekend, too.

So let’s see where it started. I’ve been bitching complaining about my cell phone for months and was counting down until my upgrade. On Friday, I discovered I was finally eligible! Yay! There was much rejoicing. I went to bed early on Friday night so I could get to the store bright and early. I did my nightly ritual of plugging in my cell to charge, walked around my bed and SLAM! broke my pinky toe on the bench at the foot of my bed. I just barely managed not to scream, but there was a lot of whimpering and “owowowowowowowow” sounds as I put myself in bed. There isn’t much you can do for a broken toe.

Saturday morning, my cell phone obviously knew it was about to take the long walk and refused to do anything but reboot. Constantly. I finally had to turn it completely off. I headed out to the store and hellooooo nurse! Cute sales rep worked with me. Unfortunately, I was flustered and kept getting my words mixed up saying “swap” instead of “swipe” and things like that. I got the phone, by the way, and it’s full of AWESOME! I’ve now discovered the joys of Angry Birds (I’m addicted and haven’t picked up my Kindle since Saturday morning) and Words with Friends. I heart my phone.

Sunday looked to be a great day. Just me and my phone. Because I’d stayed up so late Saturday playing Angry Birds, I took a nap…it was a nice nap, refreshing and relaxing. I opened my eyes with a happy sigh. That felt so—

A scream of absolute terror had me vaulting out of bed like I was a superhero. I swear, y’all, I was still half-asleep running through the house to find out why my mother was screaming like she’d just been stabbed. I see her, frozen in the kitchen, her eyes wide with terror.

Me: What’s wrong?
Mom: S-S-Snake!
Me: *jumping on the nearest high object and looking around* Where???

She points at a spot somewhere in front of here, which is nowhere near me (thank God), and I climb off the sofa to peek. There it was. A snake. About two and a half feet long and skinny. I couldn’t see any markings, but she assured me it was poisonous.

Holy. Crap.

I run back to my room to get my phone, my hands shaking so much I can barely browse through my contacts (forgetting I’d added my brother to favorites) and called him. In the most calm and collected voice I could manage, I told him about the snake.

He showed up wearing steel-toe boots, carrying a hoe and a shovel. This snake was going down! Except…the little beast had crawled under a cabinet and neither tool would fit. He tells me to keep an eye on it (which meant lying on the floor from a very safe distance away) while he goes to get something else. Meanwhile, Mom is still screaming, freaked out, in shock.

He comes back and realizes we don’t have a flashlight. He sends me to his house for one, while he keeps an eye on the snake and Mom, who still hasn’t moved, but is still screaming and babbling. To get her to move away from the area the snake was in, he threatened to throw it at her. (Did I mention my brother is just as phobic about snakes as we are and would probably have a heart attack if he had to touch one with his hands? In other words: Empty threat.) But it got her to move.

In the end, we got the snake out of the house where my brother then proceeded to take all of his fear out on it.

I was then tasked with the job of taking the flashlight and checking under and behind ever item of furniture we have in our house to look for more. Every peek under a cabinet, every close inspection under beds and behind bookcases, I held my breath as I prayed I wouldn’t find another one. I’ll take mice over snakes any day.

As we worked to calm ourselves in the aftermath, I mused that this had been one of the strangest weekends I’d had in a while. Oh it wasn’t all awful, don’t think that. I’m just very glad it’s over…

And that I got an awesome phone out of it…

And that we have a lamp we moved to the kitchen so we could keep an eye out for any other slithering things that might have gotten into the house.

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Filed under humor

Laughing in the Face of Life

Yesterday, the goddesses over at The Naked Hero gave us an interesting task for Writer’s Workshop Wednesday. The task was to sum up your life in six words. My contribution was “Laughing for the hell of it.”

See, my mom likes to say she has a sick sense of humor which she does. Fall down the stairs of the house? You’re so getting laughed at if there’s no visible blood. Bang your head on your dresser and knock yourself out? That’s hilarious! It isn’t that she doesn’t care, it’s her way of coping with stress. I’ve seen her hurt herself and laugh hysterically. Her way of explaining away this strangeness is to say, “It’s better to laugh than cry.”

In this crazy family I love, we laugh at everything, especially each other. When we get together, we talk about all the embarrassing, hysterical things we’ve said or done since the last time we saw each other. This tendency to laugh doesn’t end at solemn events either. It seems wrong to look at it from the outside, but funerals are times when we laugh the most. Not because we don’t mourn, but because we’re celebrating the life of the one we’ve lost.

When my stepdad died, I think I spent maybe a total of two hours in the viewing room with him and the rest of the attendees. I went outside to be with my uncles and cousins. We talked about the things he used to do that drove us crazy, or the times he made us think we really were crazy. It was soothing and familiar and it helped me come to grips with my loss.

Laughing is also a way for me to express nervousness. As a kid, I’m sure I drove all of my teachers insane because when they’d show me how to do something, I’d giggle. That hasn’t changed much really.

The first time I flew (ever), I was on a flight with an entire semi-pro baseball team. Don’t ask me who they were, I’m not a baseball fan. I will say I don’t think I’d ever been exposed to so much testosterone in such a small space before. I was nervous from that alone, but the minute we started taking off, I could feel the giddy laughter bubbling in my throat. I was twenty-four years old surrounded by very attractive men and I was about to start laughing like a loon. I had to control it. I fought it, but it was so exciting. The feel of the plane’s momentum pressing me back into my seat, the knowledge that I was going to be airborne for the first time in my life. I managed to tamp down the laughter, but only barely.

*slumps* Just reliving it makes me want to laugh.

So there you have it. Laughing for the sake of laughing is bred into my bones. With the Nationals Conference just around the corner, I have to keep reminding myself that some people might be insulted if I laugh for no reason. Yet I find myself wanting to giggle with excitement. I’m going to Florida – Walt Disney World! – for the first time ever! Yeah, okay I’m giggling. I’m going to be surrounded by people I’ve met over the course of a year and only spoke to online. There goes another giggle. I’m going to have fun and enjoy every second of it!

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Filed under Family, humor

Bringing Real Life to Fiction

When I mentioned my new agent status to my brother, he was over the moon. You see, out of all of my family members, he’s the only one who’s read a little of what I write. He read my first manuscript and loved it. He’s quite disappointed that it became a lame duck, but I’ve explained to him over and over again that I had no idea what I was doing. (Not that I still know what I’m doing, but I’m a little better at it now at least.)

What he loved about the book was that I had a dog named after one of his RPG characters. I took it one step further and gave the dog gas. He loved that. Yes, he’s sick. So when I told him about the agent liking my second manuscript..

He asked, “Am I in it?”
To which I responded…”Well, do you remember when you peed in front of McDonald’s when you were four?”
His eyes got wide.
I smiled. “Yes, I put the peeing in front of a restaurant incident in my book.”

His fiancée made a face like, “OMG, no!” but he had this grin on his face and said, “I’m immortalized!”…I told you he was sick. However, this is only part of the craziness that’s my family. If I told them I needed funny scenes for my manuscripts, they’d all rush to remind me of this incident, or that incident, and

 
“Do you remember when Denie got a birdie in her eye”
or
“What about when we were playing ‘Who Am I’ for the family reunion and Russ pulled his pants down and made mom touch his bare ass?”
or
“Remember when Steph stuck the bead up her nose?”

I think I’m naturally inclined to tell stories since every time my family gets together, we rehash all of our most humiliating moments. It’s all part of belonging to the family. We love to pick, we love to laugh, and reminding ourselves of those moments of stupidity or gullibility keep us roaring for hours.

When I write, I tend to incorporate some of these incidents into my stories. I don’t do it to embarrass anyone, but rather to give the fiction a touch of reality, no matter how outrageous it might sound. If it’s funny, even better.

One of my concerns as a writer is that I’ll get shoeboxed into a certain tone of writing. The manuscript my agent has now is pretty light-hearted with some dark moments, but another manuscript is much darker with some lighter moments. I like blending the two. To me, that’s real. Life isn’t all dark, but it isn’t all puppies and rainbows either.

So does this mean that I’ll see something you do that I find hilarious and it’ll appear in a book? It’s a distinct possibility. However, some of the things I incorporate into my stories aren’t real, but imagined embarrassments. I think to myself, “If I were this character, what would be the most embarrassing thing that could happen?” Then I write it.

How about you? Have you used any of your (or your family’s/friends’) accidents/incidents in  your writing? If you’re not a writer, do you have an incident  you’d like to share with the rest of the class?

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Filed under Family, Writing