Writers are a special breed. They’re often the ones quietly sitting off in a corner by themselves at a party, but ironically they’re the ones you would want to engage in conversation. They usually add intellectual Technicolor to a discussion, because in most cases they’ve spent a lifetime crafting a spectacularly vivid point of view that is so unique, their prose keeps everyone else from going crazy.
Fortunately, we get to experience a lot more of these distinctive voices due to the rise of self-publishing. Many authors who would’ve been bypassed by traditional publishers (because it’s an economic gamble to take a chance on an unknown writer) can now get their voices out there by publishing their own work.
Yesteday I gave a one-day workshop called How to Self-publish Your Book, which I normally teach over multiple nights at the University of Utah. But due to popular demand I conducted a marathon version of this class all in one eight-hour day (talk about drinking from a fire hose). I do this about once a month in Park City when enough students collectively commit to a weekend day, which they gladly do in lieu of driving down the hill to the U of U once a week.
Writers Are My Peeps
Every time I teach this class, I’m reminded of why I love hanging out with writers. Like musicians, writers instinctively riff with each other (using words instead of notes) in a way that lends itself to two horn players trading twos and fours in improv jazz.
I love this, because I can unleash my silly sense of humor and just be me when I teach my class. Miraculously no one looks at me sideways, wondering if just maybe I should be living in a facility where the doors lock from the outside. Instead they laugh (right on cue) at the quirky jokes I lace throughout my lecture. It’s better than doing stand-up, because I never have to speculate if I’m the smartest person in the room. Clearly in this case, I am not.
Seven Reasons Why I Like Hanging Out With Writers
- Because they get my silly-ass writing puns, like:
- I can quote Dorothy Parker and no one says something inane like, “Wait, I don’t remember that line from ‘The Wizard of Oz’.”
- I can use the word “inane” without anyone thinking I misspelled the word “insane.”
- I can pepper my conversation with colorful metaphors like, “She played so much Bridge she was starting to look like the Queen of Hearts,” and no one smugly tries to correct me with “You do know the Queen of Hearts is just a playing card, right?”
- Good writers know when it’s okay to dangle a preposition, because saying “Does anyone have any more toilet paper with which I can wipe my ass,” sounds just a bit too stuffy for the occasion.
- I can tell the joke, “Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.” And everybody laughs.
- To decide who to talk to at a party, I can casually throw out a literary reference such as “I’ll tell you right now, I’m a woman who likes to talk to a man who likes to talk.” And the guy who deftly returns my verbal serve with, “Talking’s something you can’t do judiciously, unless you keep in practice,” is the lucky dude who gets to buy me a drink. Because he’s obviously wasted a lot of time keeping company with Dashiell Hammett…just like me.
What’s the scariest thing female writers fear most? Missed periods.
A dependent clause is an elf Santa gets to claim on his income tax.
A compound sentence is like Siamese twins joined together at the “but.” (That one I actually read somewhere, but it’s so good, I couldn’t resist.)
And if you didn’t get any of that, then this one will probably be a total head-scratcher for you:
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Stacy Dymalski is an award winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage. For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in bookstores and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.