Letters from The Laughing Coyote: a humor blog
The ‘About’ Tab delayed the launch of this blog (or should I say ‘bog’) for a good nine months.
People have told me I’m funny and the empirical evidence of laughter in my ears makes me somewhat inclined to believe it. Since I also have a habit of writing anything and everything while trying to find some kind of sense in the world, or failing that, a punchline, I thought: A comedy blog. Perfect. A venue for the theater of the absurd that is my life. A way to waste time until I’m dead.
At last I had found my purpose and I actually had the skills to make it happen.
Shortly thereafter I discovered THE ABOUT page, which exists, like a bacteriophage, on almost every blog in the universe.
Jesus Christ, you mean I have to be a person to have a blog? Fuck! That was my whole reason for joining cyberspace—it’s a whole arena for people who aren’t people. Isn’t this the place where I don’t have to be who I am?
I can’t possibly be a person. Not at this late date anyway.
I’m not sure writers should have to be people. I mean really. That’s a lot of pressure. It’s bad enough having semantic deadlines without the added pressure of having to meet existential ones too. How is that fair?
I think writers should be exempt from all that claptrap because we’re so special (read: neurotic) that, well, I can either write something and entertain you, or at least distract you from something else, OR I can be useful, compassionate, generous human being with a definitive purpose in the world: no way you are getting both, not in this body, not in this century. Not from me anyway.
Existential deadline my ass! Take that ‘About’ Tab! I am NOT going to introduce myself! So there! I will stop this Biographical Blog Virus in its tracks! I will be the Vaccine of Autobiography!
WHY I HATE INTRODUCING MYSELF
In case I didn’t already make myself completely clear: I hate introducing myself. I hate saying who I am, why I write, what I write, where I’m from, what my work means, and so forth. Being asked to explain myself is the only time I’m not fundamentally narcissistic. I get that deer-in-the-headlights look when people stop me on the street and ask me “So who are you anyway?” (Like that happens frequently!) Panicked I look at them like I used to look at my algebra teacher whenever she asked me anything. My mind would flat-line and you could hear the annoying whiny sound thirty blocks away.
The same thing happens to me when I’m out on a date and the woman says, “So tell me about yourself.” I always feel like saying, ‘That’s the one thing I can assure you I know absolutely nothing about, so why don’t you get involved with me and we can explore who I am together? You be Lewis. I’ll be Clark.”
I think I find it so irritating because it all feels a bit like the following assignment: Define Everything.
MY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL BITS
Maybe all this inner drama exists because my autobiographical bits—now doesn’t that sound worrisome?—are not really my true self and I’m sick of talking about the existential furniture of my life, which usually has something to do with being a psychology Ph.D., a college lecturer, and being from a family dysfunctional enough that it required its own zip code and a subscription to a carbohydrate factory to survive it.
Apparently somewhere I also minored in Unhappiness, which is a little like majoring in air and almost as useful. Stated another way, at the existentialist school of psychotherapy where I spent my twenties, I had some kind of accident involving quantum mechanics, post-modernism and nicotine, and ended up becoming proficient at the “Un,” or “Not,” thereby fully participating in the kind of ribald nihilism that is the driver of any seriously ridiculous humor.
What I would really like people to ask me is: Who aren’t you? This I am definitely overqualified to answer.
Well I’m not in a relationship; I’m not published enough; I’m not making money writing YET; the various forms of my career teeter somewhere between nothingness and total inscrutability; I spend the majority of my time doing things I don’t want to do (teaching being the exception) and I suck at housework—it’s my idea of eternity. I don’t have children (other children wrote in and asked that my unborn progeny be spared), and if you ask my about what I write, I won’t be able to tell you, unless I just use three words, or all of them, and that would be really selfish because other writers need some words too.
What I can say pretty easily is that I appear to suffer from chronic anger. THAT I can say with definitive brevity and assurance. However, it is something I wish I wasn’t, although I hear that you can make money off of being continually pissed off. I really should have named this blog Crabby Ass Productions. Dr. Crabby Ass, I presume? From UWTF (The University of What the Fuck.) I’m an angry writer. There. Finally something we can hang our hats on while we go find the startled deer and take it to a support group. The pissed off comedian bit should also single me right out in a crowd of 100,000.
So that’s the kind of introduction I tend to come up with when I’m left unsupervised. I really need an Author Chaperone to handle this area of my life–kind of like a bodyguard, only one who talks.
WHY WRITERS SHOULD NEVER INTRODUCE THEMSELVES
Writers should NEVER have to introduce themselves. They should just write. Writing is just the opposite of that old adage: it’s not what you say, it’s what you do.
For writers, it’s what you say and then it’s what you say, again. The most action and incarnation you are going to get from a bit of writing is how something is told. The writing doesn’t care about what you, the writer, do. Who you are, how you screwed up your life, how you didn’t: THE STORY DOESN’T CARE. And neither should the audience.
After years of psychology where I tried to be real, tried to matter, and attempted to do something useful, I finally realized: I suck at this. I don’t DO anything. I say things. Then I say more things. Then I wish I’d said more or less. Then I laugh. Then I cry. Then I edit. Then I say more so I don’t have to edit. (Called an Anti-Edit). Then I sleep. I finally realized: I don’t need to be real. I don’t need to DO anything. I’m just going to say things now. Let people who are good at action do it. I am just going to do one of two things: be silent, or say something. That’s it. That’s all I can do. It’s all I want to do. Oh and well, some sex would be nice.
Disasters occur when we spend too much time talking about ourselves. This blog is already a case in point. Like most things I do, I serve as a WARNING sign, evolving into possible PREVENTIVE MEASURES that save others, if not myself.
Probably you are on the verge of deciding right now, based on all that blah blah blah engendered by the evilness of the Brief Bio About Tab, that this humor blog is about as funny as a 1000 rem of radiation. You’ll be dead in approximately an hour. That’s just enough time to fill out your will online and post one last thing on Facebook.
INTRODUCTIONS CAN KILL
I nearly died once during an open-mic. And I was in the audience at the time.
I probably shouldn’t say the rest of this because it will probably alienate the 1.5 people left who are still reading this (and thank you half a person—I sooo know what you feel like. . . )
What is it with comedians that we want to say the most awful things and then have people love us, not only at the same time, but precisely because of the horrible thing we just said? How ridiculous is that? Why is it that the rules of social interaction are reversed in a comic’s vicinity? Or at least we hope for that, because seriously, being a comic is a genetic anomaly, along with being gay and opposing firearms. My chromosomes definitely attended some unending party of implausibility before falling in line and creating a person.
Anyway I nearly died during someone else’s introduction. Of suffocation. I had to be carried out on a stretcher. Apparently I was holding my breath during the introduction, waiting to hear what the performer had to say, not a dissertation on who the performer was.
If I wanted to actually meet people, I’d go to a social event or start voting. When I go to a writing event, I want to meet the writing. I do not care that the person began their writing career because they fell into a pool and nearly drowned, thus providing the threshold experience severe enough to kick the writing genes into life. (Actually that’s a pretty good story. So tell the damn story. Put it in writing!) If I meet you at an event (at the wine tasting afterwards for example), you can be sure it’s because of what you said, not because of who you are.
Because I’m a writer—and this is part of the argument about why writer’s shouldn’t ever introduce themselves—I have things reversed; I think books are people, poems are pets, good stories are great parents, and comedy routines are shamans in disguise, and that philosophy is a highway leading to the nearest semantic party. Actual people confuse me. And then I hope to be loved myself for saying things, for god’s sake, especially the stuff people think but don’t say. My entire life comes down to this: Don’t love me for who I am; love me for what I say.
Reasonable is not a word that comes to mind.
HOW TO LIE WITH IMMUNITY…or is that impunity?
Being is entirely beyond me. I read about Being once in graduate school. I had to put the book down and become a professor instead. I feel like being too much in one direction or the other could possibly be dangerous for my readers. In other words, I think my actual personality might be infectious—I could unwittingly pass the DNA of my Being through sentences in a selfish attempt to reproduce like any virus and so the actual details of my life should be titrated with caution. I don’t want to kill the host.
Thus I see myself as the Jonas Salk of blogs, if he’d been a comedian rather than someone who actually saved the world. Following his example, I created the
Lie-ography, the revisionist version of The Brief Bio in hopes of saving the reader from myself, long enough to create some entertainment, or failing that, some distraction that compels you, the reader, to go online and warn other people NOT to go to this blog, Laughing Coyote Productions, for fear of being permanently infected by life.
A Lie-ography is essentially an auto-biography based on what a person wants to be, instead of what one is. It is different from the ‘plan old lie,’ because it is done for the sake of the populace, which should never, under any circumstances, be exposed to a writer’s real personage, due to the similarity between a writer’s psyche and plutonium (see above for existential exposure limits).
My Lie-ography will be made available to the public in two weeks, in my next post, entitled: Why Writer’s Should Lie As Often As Possible. This article will also shed light on related topics, such as: what or who is the Laughing Coyote, is this blogger as obnoxiously hopeless as she sounds, and how exactly is this a humor blog.
The Laughing Coyote will post “biweekly”, which apparently can mean several things: One, it will only be available in media read by bi-sexuals; two, it will be published twice a week; or three (my personal favorite) it will post every two weeks. I have chosen the latter, at least until Vladimir Putin decides to annex this blog because I once used the Russian word ‘nyet.’
For a more complete, almost total lack of description of me, click on the About Tab, which, as you can imagine, is still under construction.
Deb, you are amazing!!! I am so happy you decided not to go to the park and take a walk on a beautiful day and instead stay holed up in our house to publish this. So much love to you