I haven’t read anything by Thomas McGuane but a reference to his work led me to his interview in the Fall 1985 edition of the Paris Review. I read many things in the course of a normal day. Why this still resonates this morning has much to do with McGuane’s takes on tragedy and humor. “I started my career distinctly and single-mindedly with the idea I wanted to be a comic novelist,” he says, and develops on the various styles in which he and other writers tackled the comedic vein.
No wonder comedy is such a tough act to carry off. What? With all the horrors, with all the crimes, with all the garden-variety ills and annoyances that pile up, you’re supposed to laugh too?
Personally, laughter doesn’t work that way for me. No supposed to attaches to it. I have to, can’t do otherwise but laugh at some absurdities, including some of my more operatic moments. The laughter happens. Often, anger is but a minute switch of mood away; or indignation; or some other well-catalogued emotional state of great import. By some fine and blessed quirk, laughter happens instead.
I guess odd juxtapositions have something to do with this. For instance: amidst the gruesome, the desperate and the appalling haul of the day, a front-line media throws in the photo of a happy couple with a headline where hubby informs the world that his wife’s career as a porno actress has brought the couple closer together. Admit it: you stop and consider the implications and take a few seconds to decide whether you’ll click for a full read or move on to careful consideration of the world’s demographic explosion. At least, I do. Same as I laugh out loud at some of the pre-packaged attempts to set my lacrymal ducts gushing (but collapse in tears, or fight the urge, over small and telling unscheduled moments).
Monday. A full one, agenda-wise.