This is a “comedic essay” that I just wrote. Enjoy.
When I was a child I loved reading. I seriously loved reading. If books were food, I would’ve been obese. I’m not saying that I wasn’t obese, I definitely weighed more than I should have. I just loved reading more than anything. I didn’t need a human best friend because my best friend was Harry Potter. He was always there, on every page…and all over my walls (I was a little obsessed with Harry, or Daniel Radcliffe. That guy could really light a fire under my cauldron, if you know what I mean). Reading was the greatest thing in the world to me, because it took me everywhere I wanted to go. Growing up I lived in a city in NJ that wasn’t…what’s the word…oh yeah; safe. My parents preferred that I stayed inside instead of going out and playing games or jumping rope (which I LOVED doing and still love doing). So books were always a gateway to the outside world, or the wizardry world. Reading and I don’t have a very good relationship anymore.
I still enjoy reading, but not as much. No where near as much as I used to. I prefer writing now, and I’m not very good at that so bear with me. I love owning books. When a comedian or comedy writer that I love comes out with a book, I pre-order it and await it’s arrival for months. When I finally get it, I usually just read a few chapters, laugh a ton, put it down, and never touch it again. I have only finished one book that a comedy writer wrote, and it was Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? I finished it the same day I got it in the mail. I own a lot of other books by comedians and comedy writers that I haven’t finished or actually started. They are books that I would absolutely love to read, I just haven’t ever read them. It took me entirely too long to finish the Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, and that’s only because I was too lazy to pick up the books and read them. When I finally finished them I was proud of myself. They were excellent and I was happy that I knew how they actually ended (WAY different than the movie, but check that shit out because it is awesome. Edgar Wright did a fantastic job).
In high school, I realized that reading and I were on the rocks.My senior year of high school I took AP English Literature. I regret it to this day, even though I loved that class. There was so much reading involved, and that’s when I realized I didn’t like reading that much anymore. I had to read books like Great Expectations, Catcher In The Rye, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Invisible Man, and I didn’t read any of them. I mean, I read a couple of chapters from Great Expectations and Invisible Man while in class, but I never finished them. Catcher In The Rye and A Streetcar Named Desire were summer reading that we were supposed to know before class. I didn’t even touch them, and to this day, I still haven’t. I used Sparknotes for most of the books, and that worked for the most part. Since it was my first year taking any kind of honors English class, I got away with not reading because my teacher thought I didn’t understand themes and stuff like that, which I didn’t. I didn’t understand poetry either. I like poetry, and I enjoy writing it, but I can never rhyme it. Half of the time I can’t even spell rhyme right (hopefully I didn’t fuck up here). Sometimes in class we would have poetry days and get new poems and have to read them out loud, one line after the other in order of where we sat. I never wanted to read out loud for two reasons; 1. I couldn’t pronounce some of the old words in the poems/didn’t know what they were and 2. I didn’t know how to read the poems the way they were written. Almost everyone in the class had experience with poems and knew how they were supposed to sound from the way that they were written, and I didn’t. When we went in order from seats I always counted how many people had to read before me, find my line, and read it over and over again in my head trying to make sure I knew how it went and how to pronounce the words. I was so scared because I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of all of the smart kids in class. Some of them were my friends, my really good friends that wouldn’t make fun of me or think badly of me, but others weren’t. Others hardly knew me and they would only know me by the way I pronounced things.
One of our projects in AP English was to find a poet, research him/her, and teach the class about them by reading their poems and giving the students a test about the poets writing style/the meanings behind some of the things in their poems. My friends and I were in a group together and we picked the poet William Carlos Williams, because when we saw They Might Be Giants together for the first time they poked fun at him and one of his poems, which we chose to read. My friend Anna had a book of poems at her house and one of them was written by someone poking fun at Williams’ writing style. He wrote a poem based on Williams’ poem “This Is Just To Say”. I don’t remember who this poet was or exactly how the poem he wrote went, but I do remember that I wanted to read it out loud to the class. It was insanely funny and I wanted the class to know that I was funny and not stupid, like they had previously thought. I practiced the poem with my group and even found a copy online and studied it at home. I read it several times a day every day, just so I wouldn’t fuck up in front of everyone. When it came time to read it out loud I got up in front of everyone, opened the book to the page with the poem, looked down for a second, looked up again and just started reading with so much conviction. Every word that was coming out of my mouth was funny and everyone in the class, even the teacher, was laughing, but I was keeping a straight face while reading this poem so enthusiastically. My group was laughing behind me as I read this poem and when I finished I felt so much better about doing it. It was so hard to go up there and read this, but I really wanted to entertain everyone, and I did. After we passed out our test my teacher said to me “Marlee, that was great! Why don’t you ever volunteer to read out loud?” I can’t remember if I had told her this out loud or if it was just in my head, but my answer was and still is “Because I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Sorry that this got sappy. There are just so many talented and cool people out there that don’t do what they love and they should. I honestly feel like this world needs more creative people. I mean, I want to be a comedian and I try super hard to be super funny and usually do a shit job at it, but I still do it. I always try to be as funny as possible because I love it. I know a lot of people that feel the same way and want to do comedy as well, and I encourage it. I mean, it’ll be super hard for me to get anywhere in comedy with all of the amazing people already in it/the amazing people that want to be in it, but let’s face it, comedy is the fucking best. Don’t you just love laughing, and laughing so hard that you cry and then your face hurts from all of the smiling and you get hiccups? I love that. I want to make someone feel that way. If you love art you should be an artist, even if you are’t the best. Who knows? Someday in a school far into the future they could be reviewing your painting in a class and discussing it and saying how great it is. And if you love movies, make a fucking movie. I took two classes in high school all about studying movies and making movies. Someday your film could be studied and admired and loved by millions of people. Writers put themselves out there every day. Once their book is published, it’s out there. That’s why they wrote it. I don’t read every book that comes out, or any books for that matter, but I appreciate the people that put themselves out there, because they’re doing what they love. I think you get the gist of it. Do whatever it is that you love and that makes you happy, because chances are it’s gonna be fun and wonderful and awesome. And if what you want to do is write sappy Hallmark cards or children’s books, call me because as you can see, I’m the king of sappy shit. So yeah, read.