I’ve always known that I wasn’t going to be a writer who made people laugh. I can make my friends laugh, and my students laugh, but in my writing, I tend to prefer seriousness. Occasionally I put in something quirky, but it almost always comes back out in revisions, because while it might be good for a quick chuckle, I’ve never appreciated quirkiness for quirkiness’ sake. I am not a funny writer. This neither surprises nor upsets me.
But what has surprised me as I’ve expanded my reading horizons over the last five years or so is that I apparently don’t appreciate humor either. I’m in the habit of reading all the blurbs that get published on the back cover or on the first few pages of a book, and I’m always surprised to read that so many reviewers find so many things funny. I wasn’t laughing. The things they think are funny, I think are tragic. I recently finished Megan Mayhew Bergman’s Birds of a Lesser Paradise, and while I absolutely loved it, it was such that I couldn’t read more than a story or two at a time. Except it’s been described as having “bits of hilarity.” I guess I skipped those parts?
I feel like I need someone to explain the joke to me. I need someone to point me to a book that I’ll get on all emotional levels. I need a sense of humor.