And if you believe that, I have a boat I’d like to sell you.
I never planned to become a humor writer. The bi-weekly column I author for our local newspaper began as an inspirational feature. But I soon discovered that writing about the pickles I get myself into endeared me to people. Although they may shake their head and wonder how I manage some of my ditzy doings, it makes them feel better knowing they aren’t alone. Sally says to Ben, “It may bug you that I can never remember where I parked the car, but Jeanette Levellie once mistook a crawdad for a huge insect, and woke her husband up at 5:30 a.m. to rescue her cats from it! At least I’m not that nutty!” The exposure of my wackiness has become a public service of encouragement: if God can rescue me from myself, there’s hope for you.
Another benefit of humor writing is its barrier-breaking power. If I can make someone laugh before I dish them a serving of meat from God’s Word, they swallow it more willingly. I write about the time I shook the Italian dressing bottle, unaware my new husband had only placed the lid on, not tightened it. We spent the next two hours cleaning the walls and ceiling of our honeymoon cabin! My reader either pities us for our lack of communication skills, or laughs at our plight. Either way, they’ve opened their heart a crack and I can scoot inside and share God’s unconditional love with them.
Finally, humor adds to your readers’ health. The Bible says, “A merry heart does good like medicine.” Numerous studies have shown the benefits of laughter on the human body and soul. When we give the gift of laughter, we are helping others live longer and happier lives. I recently wrote a funny story about a lady in our church who told her dog to poop on her ornery uncle’s lawn (I had her permission). My goal was to encourage readers in finding ways to make the best of stinky situations. But God had a nobler goal. The column came out shortly after this lady’s husband had passed away. As she guffawed at the recollection of Fido carrying out her revenge on Uncle Bill, her laughter helped heal her broken heart. I rejoiced to be a small part of that healing.
I’m not one of the world’s best writers. I may not even be a great writer. But when I combine the gifts of humor and writing into a nutty, meaty sandwich, I can delight and nourish at the same time. With God’s help and a little craziness, you can do the same.
Want to learn more about humor writing?
- James N. Watkins’ book, “Writing with Banana Peels,” reveals the secrets of a great humorist. Purchase it on his website, http://www.jameswatkins.com/, which overflows with humorous articles.
- Another of my favorites is Rhonda Schrock, whose writing echoes the late Erma Bombeck. Find her at http://momof4braves.blogspot.
- In addition to my own inspirational/humorous blog, Audience of ONE, http://jeanettelevellie.
- I contribute to a humor writers' blog, An Army of Ermas. Find us at http://www.anarmyofermas.com/
From Jen's heart to yours,