About two weeks ago when revising the novel of doom (and yes, I’m still not done after fifteen months) I read one of those “Oh no, everything is going downhill we’re doomed”-scenes that are mandatory in urban fantasy novels and found I had unwillingly inserted something funny.
Now the thing is while I think I am rather funny in person (not always on purpose), and while people have told me my podcast is funny (can’t imagine why) I was really sure that in my fiction there was no fun at all.
But then I was. All Buffy-like in the middle of an important and major fighting scene. Wham. Funny and ironic. Sarcastic even.
Decades ago I went to a music education congress in Cologne, and a guy said to me that he thought I was British. First because of my clothes (which I still don’t quite understand but I tried to dress as elegant and businesslike as I could), and second because of my sense of humor. It seems that sarcasm is something I do without thinking. I even met a friend in college who said he liked my sarcasm. I, of course, didn’t really know what he was talking about.
So it seems that Germans think that I have a British sense of humour. While I just think that I had to do something to lift myself above the dreary existence that is daily life in Eastern Westphalia. No,. despite what my husband thinks that is not a joke. There is a tiny bit of Westphalia that got chopped off some time ago, and now it is separate. Though united with “Lippe” (don’t ask me what that is in English) which nowadays is shortened to the unfortunate acronym OWL (for “Ostwestfalen-Lippe”). Of course Lippe is an abomination because people are all catholic there. ::shudder::
Oh wait. I was talking about being funny.
So.I never quite know how that works. Sometimes I say something that I think is common knowledge, and not unusual at all, and someone will think that’s the funniest thing. Sometimes I’m making a really good joke but nobody laughs, and there’s this really awkward silence. So I really never know.
I do know that I like to hear myself talking, and I always laugh at my own jokes but I also know that you’re not supposed to. If I were a real, sincere, artist person I wouldn’t love listening to my own podcast. I wouldn’t chuckle at every pitiful joke.
I’m sorry, I can’t help it.
On the other hand I then think that maybe it’s a good thing I like hanging out with myself. I know one shouldn’t, a worthy person would be all humble, and “Oh, you’re so much nicer than I am.” And yes, most people are indeed nicer than me, still I’d love to hang out with myself all the time. The fun I could have! I could talk about the books I’ve read, and the projects I’m working on forever without boring myself. Brilliant! I could watch “Doctor Who” with myself, and we’d both sitting there, spinning along with a big grin of pleasure on our faces, and then we’d both drink the same beer and love it. I could have real conversations about everything that I find fascinating without my listener’s eyes glazing over which is a definite plus. (Try to talk to your 12-yo. son about your current spinning project, and you’ll see what I mean.)
Still. I’d love to be able to write something funny on purpose. Usually when people find me funny I’m just being myself.
And sometimes I think that I’m living in the wrong country, and that I would be happier in Britain. Well, at least I would know why I’d feel like a stranger there.
The thing is that I never really can tell if I just made a joke or not.
What about you. Can you be funny on purpose? Do you even want to?