Friday, November 04, 2016
Is It Harder to Write Humorously Than It Is to Write Seriously?
By James Parker
For a certain kind of writer, seriousness is the default. It’s what you do when you haven’t got anything else going on.
Oh, much. Much! I can already tell, for instance, sitting here in early-morning Starbucks waiting for the coffee to hit, that this is not going to be a funny column. The language making its way into my forebrain is not humorous: It is lumpy, heavy-breathing, pre-caffeinated. No levity, no lift. My thoughts do not have wings. They are auk-like. (The great auk: the extinct flightless bird. See what I mean?) That slightly dank, cindery Starbucks smell — as if the fires of inspiration have just been quenched with buckets of iced water — is hanging funereally in my nostrils. This might even be a miniature literary tragedy, this column.
For a certain kind of writer, seriousness is the default. It’s what you do when you haven’t got anything else going on. More particularly, it’s what you do when you’re under pressure.