Monday, October 1, 2012

Learning to write, to see and to be funny

A friend of mine is working to improve his students' writing.  Many teachers and coaches advise journaling or at least writing down some good events of each day and an estimate of why they happened.  The excellent 16 minute TED clip by Chris Bliss listed first on this page discusses the essence of comedy and its powerful uses and ends advising us all to try to write something funny on a regular basis.  

My friend and coach Sylvie Duncan said that one of her favorite writers was Erma Bombeck, who wrote popular comic reviews of life as it is lived, such as "I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression"  Sylvie has read lots and lots of books and helps older, wise people think about their writing and find good material to read.  Both Bliss and Sylvie have shown the lasting and important power of humor.  Try reading Dave Barry's "Big Trouble" and see what happens to your feelings.

Many theorists, teachers, and coaches of writing want to find ways for people to write better and sometimes funnier.  Here's my idea: meditate.  Yep, sit still for 5 or 10 minutes and keep looking at the same spot.  How will that improve your ability to write?  It will improve your ability to see clearly, both what your eyes can pick up and also what your feelings and memory show to you.

Yes, a short cut to better health and better, funnier, fresher communication at the same time is to see more accurately, be able to compare what you now have in your field of vision or in your heart with what was there half an hour ago and to have the courage to write (or say) clearly what that is.  The best way to improve your writing is to write and the best thing to write, outside of fiction, is what is true.  You and everyone else will find it quite hilarious.  That's the way life is.

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