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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

September 05, 2003

Unintentional Hilarity

This has been an (almost) lifelong thing of mine. It takes a variety of forms. Sometimes, people have thought me sharper than I actually am, when I manage to pun on something we're talking about. They think I've - quick as a flash - thought of a joke and worked it into the conversation.

This is an entirely unconscious process.

We all know what it means to be laughed at rather than with. When I was 17 and still at school I was lucky enough to attend a creative writing course organised by these people. One of the first things the tutors asked me (and all the others) to do was hand in something I'd written. So I submitted my very first consciously written (as in "I want to be a writer") short story, which was called, I think, "Remembering Old Tomsy."

Shit title. Written, probably, in the style of J D Salinger; and hence, like Holden Caulfield, unintentionally funny. Like many 17 years olds, I'd read Holden without irony, unable to perceive the all-knowing presence of the writer.

So the tutors sat, taking turns with the pages, and laughing uproariously. I mean, u-p-r-o-a-r-i-o-u-s-l-y. First one, on page one, and then the other. So the laughter was peeling out of the room for about 15 minutes as they read.

Nonplussed at first, I decided it was probably a good thing that I was making these guys laugh. Really laugh.

Since then I've been aware of being (sometimes) funny, without finding much of what I write funny at all. Not in the slightest. I've never analysed it, nor tried to do it consciously, because I'm too afraid of losing it.

I've probably lost it now, just by committing this to blog. Visiting the Arvon Foundation web site makes me want to do one of their courses again. I want to do Advanced Media Slagging.


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