Sometimes you have to know when to give up. I’m a humorist. I used to write serious newspaper editorials, and it still blows my mind how I could churn out clear logic and rhetoric on deadline week after week. And that was on top of all the regular news stories I had to write. Ah, to be 30 again… And over-caffeinated…
But one of the perks of leaving journalism was I no longer had to take things seriously. No, seriously! I still have convictions, of course, though most of the time I keep them to myself. Sometimes they creep into my work as satire. When that happens, it’s not so much writing as catharsis.
This past week, I had to come up with copy for my regular audio contribution to CBC Radio’s “Breakaway.” I was working and working on a piece about how the Syrian refugees heading for Quebec’s major cities should actually come to small towns like mine. We do potlucks!
The problem was, it wasn’t quite satire. In fact, I actually think this is a good idea. All those churches for sale around here: fixer-upper mosques!
In other words, it wasn’t that funny. I try to do funny. The more I pushed at it to make it funny, the more frustrated and depressed I became. That is not conducive to funny.
Finally, I gave up. Deadline was looming. Believe me, folks: deadlines work miracles. Here, instead, is what I came up with: nonsense about pre-Christmas shopping and funny voices. Once I committed myself to nonsense, I wrote it in no time. I got out of my own way — quite literally; rather than just me, I created personas to speak on my behalf. Which is great because, as I’ve said before, I do get tired of myself sometimes. Thank you, comedy!
The Syrians still made it in, by the way. Also: I talk about something called a Manbit.