These questions were sent to me by a friend via e-mail, and I thought they were very clever. Put me in mind of comedians George Carlin and Steven Wright, who both gave/give us things to think about with their humor. They were also favorites of mine and my husband’s, and we spent many an evening laughing, smiling and nodding as we listened to the stand-up routines.
Why do some supermarkets make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?
Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke?
Why do banks leave vault doors open and then chain the pens to the counters?
Why do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in our driveways and put our useless junk in the garage?
Why can’t women put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Why don’t you ever see the headline ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’?
Why is ‘abbreviated’ such a long word?
Why is it that doctors and attorneys call what they do ‘practice’?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavoring, and dish-washing liquid made with real lemons?
Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?
Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?
Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
The following excerpt is taken from a new book by Donald Maass, a literary agent as well as a writer and contributor to the wonderful blog, Writer Unboxed. His book is, The Emotional Craft of Fiction; How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface and it is a terrific complement to his other books on writing. If you are not familiar with Writer Unboxed, I highly recommend you check out the blog for tips on all aspects of writing, as well as inspiration to lift you up when you are sagging under doubt. We all do sag now and then. And I highly recommend the books by Donald.
“In life, what we feel moment by moment matters greatly to us but little to others. To us, our days are full of high drama, ups, downs, and stomach-plunging swings. Naturally you don’t expect others to take your feelings as seriously as you do, yet on the page you’re asking readers to do just that: to be rapt and fascinated by your characters’ every tiny mood swing.
“That won’t be the case until you make the emotional minutia of your characters’ lives worth your readers’ time. A monotonous pattern of action-reaction will not do that. It’s what I call churning, or the recycling of feelings that readers have already felt. It’s easy stuff to skim. To get readers fully engaged in emotional minutia requires, again, catching readers by surprise.
“When characters struggle with their feelings, readers must referee. They seek to resolve characters’ inner conflicts. They render judgments. The same is true when characters feel the unexpected. Readers hold an instant inner debate, one of which they are largely unaware but which nevertheless causes them to assess. Would I feel like that too? That assessment is the effect you are going for.”
That’s it for me for the weekend. I have a busy one ahead with rehearsals for the play I am in on both Saturday and Sunday. In between, I’d like to find some time to color in my new coloring books and maybe watch a movie. We’ll see.
Do you have plans for the weekend? Are you intrigued by Donald’s new book? Did you like the quips? I thought the one about cat food was funny. I’m sure my cats would love to have mouse-flavored cat food.
Take care and be happy….