Monday, January 9, 2012

Rx for Writer's Block?

How many times have you heard "Laughter is the best medicine" and wondered, Medicine for what, exactly? I'll tell you, it heals just about anything and everything.

Witness this family pic. I'm the one chortling food out of my mouth. What you can't see is that I'd gotten some devastating news about one of my siblings the day before this.

For me, heartfelt laughter helps to get me through just about anything: Physical illness, emotional turmoil, and - Surprise! - even the dreaded Writer's Block.

I don't know about you, but I try to find the funny in even the most craptastic situations. My most epic workplace-meltdown, which ended with me screaming at my boss "THAT'S FUCKED UP AND YOU KNOW IT!!" may not have been hysterical in that moment, but now, I can't think of that day and not giggle myself to tears. (It's also super-cool that I didn't get fired or anything.)
I'll readily admit comedy isn't a cure-all for all of life's dark times, and it doesn't always work. My Grammy's passing? No, laughter won't cure that heartbreak, ever. But picturing her cringing in humiliation as HER mother sat on our front porch, openly (and quite graphically) waxing poetic over her regret at never experimenting sexually or trying out interracial love is hilarious enough to quell my tremendous grief, just a bit, when I miss her most. Grammy was pushing 70 at the time, so my pervy great-grandma must've been hovering around 90. That level of awesome is the hysterical memory-gift that just keeps on giving.

Life is hard sometimes, no doubt. There will be heartbreak and loss and rejection and struggle. But there will also be joy, hugs, smiles, jokes, (chocolate), generosity and break-throughs.

A good laugh dries tears and closes gaps. The sound of kids squealing with laughter quells anxiety and reinforces positivity. Comic relief is also inspiring, relaxing, and enlightening - so your pesky Writer's Block doesn't stand a chance.

If you need a lil' push in the right direction, check out some of these comedy gems:

  • Twitter: @VAGivens and @surlymuse and @julieinthelou for daily doses of funny.

  • Books: Check out OMG! by Deborah Baer for pee-your-pants funny. Just about anything by Sophie Kinsella for beautifully embedded novel-length comedy. And for "Oh no she di'int!" laughs, you should run, don't walk, to get "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea" by Chelsea Handler.

  • TV: I don't know how it gets any better than "America's Funniest Videos," but I also have laughed myself to tears watching "Modern Family," "Raising Hope," and "30 Rock."

  • Movies: "Napoleon Dynamite" rocks my face off, "Bridesmaids" had me at hello, and if I could run "Borat" on continuous loop in my house, I would.

So if you're behind me one day and see me trip or witness me sneeze coffee into my lap, or even drive by while I'm getting a speeding ticket, go ahead and have a laugh on me. It's my treat. (And it's my treatment.)

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