Monday, June 17, 2013

If Only This Had A Title

I have writer's block.

I considered stopping at the end of that sentence. It would have been the shortest column I ever wrote, but boy would it have opened up a lot of space for advertising. I like to muse about how people I know would have commented. "Didn't he used to write longer columns?", they would ask. "I write more just by filling out a check.' The fact is that, at the moment, I'm thinking of everything and nothing. That's not unlike vacationing in Iowa even though you don't like corn. Then again, I'm not sure if Iowa is a travel destination for vacationers, unless there's a Six Flags Over Decorah that no one informed me about.

Horror is a fun genre to write, as ironic as that sounds. I've tried my hand at that, but it usually leads to getting shunned by friends and acquaintances who think I've gone off of my Seroquel or my rocker, whichever is cheaper. Horror is a real challenge. Willing suspension of disbelief isn't an issue with humor like it is with horror. Have you ever met anyone who didn't want to believe that Marmaduke is humanlike? With horror, one must convince the reader that a psycho ice cream man is murdering entire neighborhoods without the police being summoned before it's too late. Then try telling those same readers that little Billy is going to save the day, fresh from his little league game and pedaling for all he's worth on his Schwinn. It's a lot of fun to write horror, but trying to evoke a scare from a reader with that kind of stuff means risking incurring the wrath of friends who now want to know what your problem is, and should we call your doctor?

On the other hand, humor doesn't have to sell anyone on its contents. I think that's because we all tap into the humor of shared experiences. I  don't know how many times I've gotten peeved because my ice cream was melting at the checkout line while Jerry was first in line, scratching off his "Get Rich, Goober" lottery tickets in the hope of recouping ten bucks after spending a hundred or so on those awful things. I once bought a newspaper while waiting, but the pages were already turning yellow by the time it was my turn to be rung up. Those kinds of frustrations are something we all laugh about a few days later, but let me tell you they also send me into daydreams about potential horror stories. I imagine myself being reduced to a skeleton in tattered clothes, connected to the checkout counter by cobwebs, alongside a sun-faded carton, the contents of which are now somewhere molecularly connected with the rear bumper of Joyce's Buick in Akron.

When I don't have writer's block, this is usually about the point at which I begin winding things down. With approximately one-hundred thirty or so words remaining, I reflect on some of the ridiculous things which make me laugh. There's often a summation of the events and how people, me included, have responded to them. Along the way, sometimes I point out the humor present in horror and the pathos which often finds its way into humor. And that's  largely what makes this so much fun to do.

I'd add to this, but I'm not sure I can. I feel distracted by a hunger which is going to be sated in an hour or so when I meet with a friend for an early dinner.

Maybe I'll overhear Stephen King cracking jokes at the next table.



  1. Stephen does show up in the most unparticular places. ;) Love reading your stuff Rob! I like humor better than horror and you mentioned ice cream and I think humor is also that. ;) Keep writing and having fun! God bless! e-laine

  2. Thank you, Elaine. I've thought of doing horrific things to people who make me wait in line while my ice cream melts -especially to those who just HAVE to hold things up while buying lottery tickets. Grr.