Thursday, July 21, 2016

One of Those Days

Yesterday was just one of those days. You know the ones where your two-year old eats an entire container of Bubble Tape, because it tastes like candy, and then you have to spend thirty minutes googling whether or not it will kill her. And then, while you are busy googling that the massive amounts of pink bubblegum will definitely not kill her, she sneaks upstairs, finds a pen, and proceeds to write all over her tiny little body. Since I was still googling in a panic and hadn’t seen her artistic ability, she proceeded to find one of my beaded bracelets and managed to break it and send beads all over my bedroom floor and the hall. Of course, those millions of beads could not be sucked up by the vacuum, so I had to get on my hands and knees and try to pick up every single bead that conveniently blended in with my carpet.

It was definitely one of those days. But guess what? It was funny. Even as I am writing this horrible chain of events, I can see the humor in it. And that’s a good thing.


You are probably wondering how bubblegum, pens, and broken bracelets could ever be a good thing. But trust me, they can. By finding the humor in everyday life, especially the unfunny, I-want-to-pull-my-hair-out situations, we are taking an important step to becoming a great humor writer. We have to find the funny in everyday life. We have to find the humor in even the worst of situations. And when we do, we will better be able to write that humor into our stories.

But for now, you’ll have to excuse me, because I have to go find some invisible beads and scrub some ink off my daughter. And I don’t even want to think about what the next few diapers are going to be like.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Get Your Silly On

Recently, our family made the long trek to Southern California to go to the beach and Disneyland. It is a long drive from Idaho, and has to be broken up in two days. With my youngest only being two, it is especially hard for her to have two longs days of traveling and only minimal stops. She does not like to watch movies, which is usually a good thing, but when one is stuck in the car for hours at a time, movies can be a life saver.

I knew the trip was going to be the hardest on her, so I tried to plan ahead. I brought different snacks, unusual snacks, and favorite snacks. I brought new toys, old toys, and favorite toys. I brought games, coloring, and crafts. But even with all this planning ahead, the car ride got hard. She was soon sick of the snacks, the toys, and the games. She was tired of sitting in the car. She was tired of her car seat. She was tired of the entire trip. What happened next, was no surprise.

She screamed.

She cried.

She threw tantrum after tantrum.

I tried to be consoling. I tried to distract her. I tried to reason with her. Nothing worked. In fact, it was turning out to be a disaster of a trip. She was miserable, and the rest of us were miserable, too. (Who wants to listen to a screaming toddler for hours out of the day while stuck in a minivan?)

It was at that point that I had to get creative. I dug out her Rapunzel and Anna Barbie dolls, and started playing with them. This brought her screaming down a notch. Encouraged, I started playing some more. Her cries slowly turned to sniffles. I kept playing. On an on I played, until she was no longer upset.

Soon, she was in love with me playing with her dolls, and she wanted to join in. For the next hour or so, my daughter and I made up the silliest stories with her dolls. We laughed and had a lot of fun, and there were no more tears. In fact, for the rest of our trip, anytime she got frustrated or tired with the car, I brought out her dolls and started playing. It made our trip a huge success.

So why am I telling you all of this? It is because I learned something as a writer while playing dolls with my two-year old. I learned that being silly and having fun brings out my creative side. And the sillier I am, the more creative I am.

I think as adults, we often sensor ourselves, because we are well … adults. We think that silliness is for kids. But that is not true. We need to allow ourselves the freedom to be as silly and as goofy as we want. We need to allow ourselves to be creative and carefree. The best way to really be creative is to not restrict ourselves. We need to not worry about what others think when we are writing. We need to not be embarrassed by what we write. Not everything we write will be publishable. Not everything we write will be something we love. But the more we write, and the more we allow ourselves the freedom to be silly, then the better and more creative our writing will become.

So stop restricting yourself. Allow yourself to be silly. Get out those Barbie’s, and let the creativity flow.