For example

In Artists, Circus, Drafts, Local projects, Music on March 15, 2014 at 8:42 am

You’re a little kid. One of the grown-ups cracks a joke. The other grown-ups laugh. You only get it once they’ve stopped. You laugh. They look at you, look at each other, and laugh some more.

You’ve just gone from one level of mystery to the next.  You’re not getting it, and that seems funny to those who are laughing. What do you do at this point? If you show anger, they’ll laugh some more or send you to your room. If you cry out of frustration (this isn’t the first time you’ve been left with your mouth hanging): they call you a Drama King or Queen. Kid  can’t take a joke. Won’t go far without a sense of humor. And so on.

What then? You vow revenge. You’re a little kid, remember. You figure some day, you’ll grow up and you’ll show them. Man, will you ever. No more laughing at the little kid who didn’t get the jokes, uh-uh. They’ll see. Boy, will they be sorry. And so on. (This is a few seconds before falling asleep and getting the concept for Calvin and Hobbes, maybe; or if you’re the four-year old Johannes Brahms, getting three or four notes strung together that will stick with you for the rest of your life).

Will you ever get even? Never. Will wanting to get even lead to success of another kind? I don’t know. Will you learn to laugh first, whether you get the joke or not? I hope not. Too many people do that. Besides. When they’re hurting, they sound pretty funny too. Ever see one of those photos where you can’t tell if the person’s laughing like a mad person or howling in grief or outrage?

A friend died yesterday. Her son asked me to take photos of her. He laid out all her favorite things around her body. Wrapped her shrunken form in a deep pink fabric. Funeral this afternoon, alongside a carnival and an exhibition.

Sometimes, writing flows. Sometimes, it doesn’t.


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