As usual, there were many wonderful lectures and workshops
during the January residency of the Hamline MFAC program. I’ve especially been mulling over Emily Jenkins’ lecture “How to be Funny.”
While I will concede that my books have humorous elements, they are not funny books. I can make people laugh, but I doubt if I’d ever be considered a comedian. I long to write funny books; therefore, I took careful notes during Emily’s lecture, as did everyone attending (an image that is pretty darn funny, if you like irony).
Emily structured her lecture using a list of things to do in order to write funny. The list belongs to her so I won’t give it here, but I will share the one point that I’ve been thinking about the most: “Use jolly words.”
My writing vocabulary doesn’t lean toward the jolly, and so I decided to use a jolly-colored marker and make a list of jolly words and put the list on the wall by my writing sofa.
And right away I hit the brakes because I had to stop and think, What’s a jolly word? I swear to heaven the first word that came to mind was pleather. (Mind you, this was during NY fashion week.) Not good enough, I knew right away. What word would make a kid laugh, I wondered. I swear to heaven the next word that came to mind was jugs. And naturally then I thought of pleather jugs, a term that could be funny, but only if you were writing about, oh, breast implants.
So, enough. It’s time turn to friends and ask for help. What words do you find jolly?