Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Family is great... long as they live thousands of miles away and you can talk to them on the phone whenever you like. Which is what I do, and I'm better for it. I'm not exactly a gregarious person, and having to make nice with anybody for an extended period grates on me. I guess that makes me a curmudgeon...or a Scrooge. Can't decide which.

But having all day Christmas to myself is just wonderful. I sent no cards, this year. I gave no gifts. I cancelled my trip to San Antonio because I was just plain exhausted. For once I'm not hundreds of dollars in the hole now the day is almost done. Feels a LOT better.

I slept till noon then worked some on OT and watched Born Yesterday to remind myself how comedy and brute drama can mingle. Judy Holliday's character gets belittled and pushed around, culminating with her being viciously slapped around, yet she still spits out a couple of funny lines. It's a bit of a set-up movie -- dumb blond becomes a better person by learning about life and connecting with what America is supposed to be all about -- but it works. And it shows how corruption has long been part of Washington, DC.

Comedies used to have a lot more meat to them. His Girl Friday deals with corrupt officials using a man's execution to get re-elected. Hail the Conquering Hero has a woman who got pregnant but can't remember if she's married or not (in 1944!!). The Apartment is about a man working as little more than a pimp to get ahead and winds up inadvertently setting up the woman he loves for heartbreak. Tootsie is about a man posing as a woman to take a job away from a woman and who comes to realize just how poorly women are treated by men like himself (though this one does veer to the more lightweight side).

I'm trying to think of a comedy in the last 20 years that carries the weight of those others, and can't. Maybe I'm just not as well-versed in comedy as I think. Or maybe I'm just getting too old for today's version of comedy. I dunno. But to me there's a huge difference between drama and mawkish sentimentality, which what comedies seem to turn to when they want to be "dramatic."

Thing is -- I do want more fun in OT, to go along with the intense parts. I tried that in The Lyons' Den but don't know if I was all that successful. People have liked the book, yet others haven't (and were brutal in their disdain), and it doesn't sell that well. So maybe when I say I'm crap at writing comedy, I really am.

Doesn't stop me from trying.

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