Sunday, September 25, 2011

Who Makes You Laugh?

Have you ever been tempted to take the stage during one of those "open mike" nights at the local comedy club?  If just one friend has mentioned during an evening out that you should take your show on the road after keeping everyone in the table laughing throughout dinner, I imagine the idea has crossed your mind.  In some ways, it's a great life!  You get to travel the country and vent about people and things that irritate you in front of (hopefully) hundreds of people. 

There is a diverse set of styles when it comes to stand-up comedians.  There are some who make their living talking about relationships, because there is certainly no shortage of material there.  Others choose to focus on current events and politicians . . . again, plenty of opportunity to make fun there.  And, there is the group that relies on props (think Carrot Top or Gallagher) to get the laughs.

Quite a few comedians who started on the tour circuit translated their talents into popular television shows in which they were the featured character, such as Ray Romano in Everybody Loves Raymond, Roseanne in (appropriately enough) Roseanne, and Bill Cosby in The Cosby Show.  And, I know there are quite a few others I could mention.

In my upcoming release, Pabby's Score, the career of a comedian is a topic that receives some focus.  So, I thought I would take a moment and ask you who your favorite comedian of all time is.  What makes that person stand out for you?  Maybe you'll introduce me to someone new, and I'm always looking for reasons to laugh!  Look forward to reading your thoughts!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Texting and Tweeting: For Better and For Worse

 When was the last time that you sat down at a desk, wrote a letter by hand, placed the completed note in an envelope, and dropped the sealed correspondence in a mailbox?  The art of letter writing seems to be a thing of the past, replaced first by e-mails and now the even more instantaneous and abbreviated text message.  While there are many great advantages to having these communication tools at our fingertips, something has been lost along the way.

As a writer, I love the expression that develops out of putting words and phrases together to create a character or a visual image.  One of the features of my novels of which I am most proud is the emphasis that I put on descriptive language.  I want my readers to become engulfed in the scene through the words that I choose.  If people, especially our young students who have never known life without spell check and the other conveniences of computers, claim text messages written in short hand as the extent of their writing experience, they are being shortchanged.

In my new novel, Pabby's Score, I look at how culture and communication has changed with text messages, instant messaging, and Tweets.  As a novelist who always incorporates social commentary into my work, I enjoyed bringing such a hot topic into my writing this time.  I bet you will find some similarity to situations in your own life.

Are you one of those who constantly has a Blackberry or iPhone by your side, ready to send and receive text messages or read emails?  Has this technology changed your relationships with family and friends?