Laughter or Tears?

I’ve been writing here for over two years, and let me just mention a couple of things that I’ve learned (and no, I’m not going to be launching into the whole Behind the Scenes as Helena bit just yet… this is just an observation).

Given the choice, I think you prefer tears over laughter.

You want to read about train wrecks and child abuse, rape and abandonment — and about the survival of those things. I don’t know if it’s a desire to nurture, or to just see hope — but I have to wonder if some of it isn’t good old fashioned morbid rubbernecking. To be able to look at the car crash and be glad it isn’t you.

Of course, some of it is solidarity — sharing stories and bonding over trauma. I get that.

I can make you cry, if that’s what you want. I can drudge up all the horrible things, tell you about abuse, tell you about tears and depression and suicide attempts. I could start a whole new blog just telling terrible stories of my childhood.

Instead, I choose to try to make you laugh. I write silly things — ridiculous things — that ultimately go unnoticed, except by two or three people who are hooked.

This is a post about frustration and anxiety — it’s been a while, darlings, but I figured I was due.

I was about to launch into a whinge that had to do with gender relations, but I don’t have the heart to shoot myself in the head by shooting my audience, such as it is. Thank Al Gore for the backspace key, amirite?

I don’t wan’t to relive all the train wrecks of my life for you. It’s why I prefer to write fiction. It’s why I mixed reality with fiction — to take the sting off.

Some of you get it, and I thank you. Some of you don’t know what to make of me, because I’m not doing what everyone else is doing. It’s like you’ve gone to the grocery store to buy vegetables, and suddenly there’s a saxamaphone (yes, that’s how you say it) where the eggplants should be.

(You know, the phrase ‘pick up that saxamaphone and blow me’ just popped into my head, and while I realize it sounds aggressive I just started laughing at it and thought you should at least have the opportunity to laugh, too.)

I’ve made you laugh. I’ve made you cry. I’ve given you the heebie-jeebies.

I’m going to try to come back to maintaining the blog, writing more often, even if it’s just quick snippets here and there — vignettes, etc.

But I need to know — do you even want me back? Or, now that the Genie’s out of the box, are you bored with me? Is what you really want is for me to give you all of my dirt? To share all my secrets with you? Or am I being vain and ridiculous (and not in a good ridiculous way)?

I’m going to stop now before I get maudlin.

Oh, if you DO want a laugh, here’s a brand-new piece

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26 responses to “Laughter or Tears?

  1. Just keep writing. I laughed my ass off (so fucking sad that is not actually the literal truth) at Penelope CoA, Volumes I & II are fantastic. Jessica’s work is crazy but I love it. I don’t know you aren’t all over the NY Times best sellers list. I suppose if I knew why then I could market you to that level but alas, I can’t. Write what ever makes you feel good. That is all I have to say.

  2. Saxamaphone! Write your truth however you want to write. Make us laugh. Make us cry. I will read. It seems to me fewer people are reading blogs in general unless they are on big name blogging sites. I struggle with this too but it ultimately comes down to why I am writing. I will never have millions of followers but I will connect with a few and that is a good thing.

      • I’ve been reading Memoirs 2, but I am also Beta reading a (painful because not very good) manuscript for someone, so I use your book as a breathe of relief.

      • Yikes.. you’re not the only one in that boat — I’ve been hearing that a lot lately. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. There’s some painful stuff in there, too, but not because of bad writing, I hope.

      • Painful because of honest storytelling is wonderful and worth reading. Painful because I’ve read about 8 chapters and nothing has happened except minutely details descriptions of the protagonists first day of school is pain I can live without.

      • Balancing plot with descriptive writing can be difficult. I am, at heart, a storyteller — I hope that I am a decent writer as well. I have a good friend whose writing I envy, but who has trouble plotting sometimes, and I would love to give her a bare-bones plot of mine and see what she can make of it with her wonderful prose.

      • Ugh… I say crush them before they can get their hopes up. Encourage them into accountancy, or banking, perhaps real estate or travel agency. (ha ha ha… only 95% kidding)

  3. Laughter truly is the best medicine. That’s why I quit reading the whiny blogs (unless I’m making fun of them), the serious stuff. I am serious enough with work. I need YOU, my dear Helena, to make me laugh ;or at least smile)

    • I think it’s important for people to be able to share, but I think we’re obsessed with drama and trauma, as if it’s become a genre. I stubbornly write what I want to write, and sometimes I pay the price for that. I enjoy being an oddball.

  4. You pretty much wrote how I feel and do/want to do the whole blog thingy. I dont see a reason to drown someone in my own unsolvable misery, when I can make those people feel inspired, laugh or think.
    Oh, and keep writing, if that’s not obvious!

    • I also understand that not everyone has the ability to channel it into art. There’s a place for confessional writing; there’s a place for dialogue — but shouldn’t there also be a place for fiction? For humour that isn’t just poking fun of people you work with?

      • Hey, I am all for confessional writing, in any ammount the person feels it is necessery, as long as it is not “demanded” of me and I feel like it is.
        People online often reprimend me for being too distant or not revealing information about this or that and they think I do not value them because I say I dont want to burden them. The truth is, some of us sometimes want to tell a story, just like you said, about a colony of intelligent rodents growing raspberries on Mercury – instead of go on and on and on about one same thing that is bothering us, is entirely real and (for me) so rude to yap and insist about when I know there is a child right now somewhere in the world who is hungry, cold and dying. In connection to your first blogs name, Id rather try to counter weltschmerz by focusing in the best of my ability to make others happy 😀
        I want to share the new jokes I heard recently here to reward you for reading the wall of text, but they are all disgusting!

      • Ha… thank you, Selena! Don’t know if you’ve read the post I linked — it’s called Poetry Slam — and I kind of talk about that whole intimate confessional stuff and how it makes me all rubbery — because most of the time it’s over-sharing stuff that is NONE OF ANYONE’S BUSINESS! It’s emotional exhibitionism, and it appeals to a voyeuristic culture that is hollow and needy — and like sharks at the scent of blood, we gobble it up.

  5. Yeah, since you asked the question I want you back. I don’t give a shit if it’s laughter or tears since I have had enough of both to fill a lifetime. When you get to a point where the remainder is bonus time what matters is how connected you feel to what you are doing. I don’t care if it’s dirt or not. The fact is it is not what I care to read that should count in the selection of what you write. It’s what you choose that matters. So my advice (who asked you?) is to do what keeps you connected to what you feel is important, and you can bet I’ll read it..

    • Thanks, John. Right now I’m tired of tears. I’m at a point in my life where I’ve got to make a decision whether to keep scratching at old wounds or just move forward. I’d rather make you smile (there’s a new post linked here that should give you a laugh) while I make myself smile. I’m happiest when I’m creating — I don’t want to just rehash old hurts. There’s plenty of hurt in the world, not enough joy.

  6. A good balance is always important. I choose laughter most of the time and mix in the tough caca every once in a while. I guess it makes others realize they are not alone. 🙂

    • I’m a very happy writer right now. Just finished first draft of a novel on the weekend. I’ll continue to write whatever the hell I want when I want, and hope eventually some of it sticks.

  7. I don’t make it around these parts often, but I say you write whatever it is your heart desires. That’s the whole point of having a blog to me. It’s a space for your words and an outlet for your creativity. If you pander to your audience you’ll end up writing thongs you dislike and will eventually come to resent your blog. It will also feel like work instead of fun.

    So just be you and the right readers will come. (Imagine I said that with the tone and authority of James Earl Jones.)

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