On silliness

After a few sessions of writing anguished (or at least serious) material, my eyes rested on the plaque in the corner of my room opposite my computer desk, the one that says “Be silly sometimes.” I often think I need to move it closer to my line of sight when I’m writing.

Seriously: We all need to indulge our silly side more. If ever there were times when we don’t know whether to laugh or cry, we are surely living in times like that now.

We are living in a theater of the absurd, and we take it so seriously that we have to let loose our anger or cry in despair, but it might be healthier to go the other way. Some of what passes for serious these days veers so close to silliness it deserves to be met instead with a hearty belly laugh.

I think that’s why pictures of puppies and kittens pepper our social media feeds, because small animals do objectively silly things all the time, and it’s a relief from the antisocial barking that comprises so much of social media in these times.

That’s exactly why, the other day, I took a stab at using a viral video of a pickup truck buffeted by a tornado as the basis for a superhero origin story. I’m only moderately content with the result — it qualifies as an example of “bad first draft” — but it was a relief to be treading on the silly path after all this seriousness.

Oh, bother. Here I am talking seriously about being silly. What a terribly silly thing to do.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of It's Going to Be All Right, Echoes of Freedom Past, Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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