Two writers walk into a bar. Have you heard this one? No? Great. OK, two writers — authors really — walk into a bar. They’ve both published books within days of each other, and as luck, hard work, or stubbornness would have it, this isn’t their first time publishing.
He just came from giving a reading at Literati, the charming local bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor. She’s come from the elementary school talent show where her 4th-grade daughter performed a skit. (I use the words “performed” and “skit” loosely, but we all have to start somewhere, don’t we?) Some of us begin on a whim, jotting down observations that won’t go away in a journal, while others begin on an elementary school stage in the cafeteria. Creativity plays everywhere.
Anyway, the two wordsmiths are celebrating with a group of some of Ann Arbor’s finest in celebration of their books, Death Prefers Blondes and Twirl. It is a rowdy evening filled with jokes not even Mercutio himself could top, and except for the author and his husband, everyone in the room is a woman and a mother, and what I’m learning is that motherhood makes you not only creative, but funny. And not just funny, but hilarious — hold onto your stomachs and be careful not to drink anything when someone starts to talk. And what I want to capture here is not so much what the authors accomplished, but what their friends did for the authors: made them laugh.
I know one of the writers pretty well, and I know she’d hoped to talk shop with the other writer. What’s his process? Is he in a writing group? How may revisions does he make? Does he write full time? How? Does he get sick to his stomach when a book or anything else he writes releases?
But she was too busy laughing to ask or even remember anything about the business of writing. There would be plenty of time for that later.
On that night, she laughed and laughed and laughed.
And it felt so good.
This week, write a poem about laughing. Or laughter. What does laughter do? How does it feel? How does it sound? What does it look like? When do you laugh? Describe how it feels when you aren’t supposed to laugh but can’t help it. Or when you think you’ve come to cry and instead end up giggling until your stomach hurts and you can’t remember what was sad in the first place.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s one from L.L. Barkat that we enjoyed:
A Writer’s Dream Book
“Callie Feyen has such a knack for telling personal stories that transcend her own life. In my years in publishing, I’ve seen how hard that is—but she makes it seem effortless, and her book is such a pleasure. It’s funny, it’s warm, it’s enlightening. Callie writes about two of the most important things in life—books and clothes—in utterly delightful and truly moving ways. I’m impressed by how non-gimmicky and fresh her writing is. I love this book.”
—Sarah Smith, Executive Editor Prevention magazine; former Executive Editor Redbook magazine