You can’t fake funny – OR – The New Year’s blog post that wasn’t

Thalia, muse of comedy. Detail from the “Muses Sarcophagus,” representing the nine Muses and their attributes. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

For a couple of days now I have stared blankly at the computer screen trying to think up an amusing and entertaining New Year’s post. I talked about the traditional foods a couple of years ago and I don’t have much truck with resolutions, so for the first time in a great long while I find myself uncharacteristically at a loss for words. Surprising, I know.

Frankly, although this year has been at times wildly happy, at other times it has been extremely lachrymose. Death crept up on me three times in as many months, and while I, as all good Southerners do, have found ways to cope, it’s sometimes hard to put your face on and go out in the world with a smile. But still I try.

As anyone who knows me will attest, I have a tendency to launch myself into daily life with three things: lipstick, cute shoes, and a sense of humor. But there are some days, like today, when things just seem blah. There are days, like today, when inspiration plays possum. There are days, like today, when you stare at the screen praying that the goddess of humor will bestow upon you just one golden, witty phrase.

Where is my muse? Oh, Thalia, can you hear me?

I reckon not, because here I am, still typing, still waiting, still blank.

Mama often tells me to write about this or that. She sends me fascinating emails with snippets from her memory. She wonders why I don’t dash off a post from her suggestions, and I try to explain that I can’t write her stories. My stories just come. They pop into my mind out of the clear blue and usually at a time when it is inconvenient to write them down. It is as if my brain will explode if I don’t drop everything and set the words free. But if it is not my story, my memory, my experience, the words just don’t come.

So what does all this tell me?

It tells me that I want Folkways Nowadays to be different than many blogs you may read. I want to give you words that make you think, remember, and learn. Words that capture little moments in time, share secrets, strike a nerve. Most of all, I want to give you words that entertain and make you laugh. If I can’t give you the stories you deserve, then we’ll all just have to wait on Thalia to pay another visit.

It tells me I need to get out into the world more. The muse doesn’t come to you when you are all alone behind a desk, just you and the computer. She comes when you are out amongst ’em. She comes to you at the party, the beauty parlor, the DMV. She comes to you with a side of gravy at the local diner. She comes to you on the back roads, in the small towns, and in a pot of collards. If I’m not doing anything, neither is she, so it’s time for me to get right or get left.

And it tells me that you just can’t fake funny. You can fake happy. You can fake sad. You can fake sentimental and mad. But if you have to think about it too long, if you have to try too hard, if you just have to wrassle those words onto the page, then just give it up. If it doesn’t make me laugh, then I know it won’t make you laugh. And if you don’t laugh, well, what’s the point?

And that’s exactly what you might be wondering here some 600 words later – what in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is my point?

Good question. And one I don’t have an answer to (thanks for nothing, Thalia!).

I’ll just take this opportunity to let you know how very much I appreciate your reading Folkways Nowadays and giving me your never-ending support and encouragement. Forget that old Thalia. It’s really you who inspires me every day to share my stories, and for that I thank you.  Here’s to a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014 filled with funny!

No faking.