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.

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