For more months than I'd like to think, I've had this sleep impairment that not only leaves me sleeping 12-16 hours a day, but has left me with very few words in the rhetoric machine...which leaves me way too much time to think about my writing.
All my life I've wanted to write serious fiction -- Gabriel Marquez, Steinbeck, Robertson Davies, and many others, but, let's face it boys & girls, I can't do it. I've got two finished novels that've been read by two relatively neutral parties & they agree that the more serious one has no focus--as if it doesn't know what it wants to be, and the absurd one is wonderful but hampered by a couple of over-serious passages where the main character reveals his flaws and is...well, not reborn, but at least put back on the path of righteousness.
What's weird is that when I write something serious in essay form, such as 3 Steps from the Cave, people seem to be very attracted to the serious side of my writing.
What to do? I always hated it when Woody Allen decided to become Igmar Bergman. Anyway, ol' Woody didn't appreciate the value of humor in the human equation. Worse, he didn't see that serious stuff lived in a castle for which he had neither the key nor the invitation.
Two men die at the same time and appear at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter's sitting there, gnawing on his pencil, and the first man says, "St. Peter, all my life I helped others. I was a priest, a rabbi, a minister, a (oh fill in the fucking blanks so I'm not not PC). I hope I merit a welcome into heaven."
St. Peter looks at him and says, "Dime a dozen. Yeah, go find a flock of sheep to tend."
The second guy figures he's toast. He hems and haws, and finally St. Peter gets pissed and says, "Buddy, out with or you're going to be lighting your butts with your butt."
"Sir, I was just a comedian."
"Harumph. Did you make people laugh?"
"When they left where you were playing, were they happy?"
"I believe so, sir."
St. Peter shakes his head back and forth.
"Man, have we been waiting for you. Go see the guy all in white up there; you play the Palace in 20 minutes."
I just made that up -- in case you were asleep. If I can't be Buddha -- and believe me, I can't -- at least give me the tools to make people smile, to make them laugh.
So,why is that important? Because I rank comedian right under St. Teresa? Yup. Why? (Imagine echo chamber on the why.)
Every philosophy, every religion I've ever studied (with a few bizarre, drug-infested exceptions) had us focusing on the bad, the corrupt, the evil, the sins that human beings bring upon the world with the best of intentions. Gimme a break. I'm sorry but those religions are just wrong. It's stupid.
If you think about it rather than get all spiritual, why in the hell would God create a world where a good life was equivalent to a life of pain, sorrrow, self-denial, blah blah blah. If I were God, I wouldn't do that? Would you? I mean, isn't that a stupid thing for a God to do?
But, like most writers, I don't have a choice, I have to write. I think I'm discovered that I'm very lucky--no thanks to You Know Who. I can write fiction that's funny and absurd and write non-fiction that people don't throw up all over.
It doesn't make up for all the junk God dumped on us, but, for one miserable little creature, I gotta say thanks.
...but I'm not ready to give up...someday I'm going to write a serious novel...right after I grow hair on my bald head.
In Jameson Veritas