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Stories of the Absurd

February 3, 2011
Posted at 7:35 pm

When I look at the news, I don't see much to feel good about. There are riots in Europe and the Middle East. There is massive unemployment worldwide. The cost of food and energy is increasing. The value of houses is going down. There is political unrest in places where it is very unexpected. Good honest people who want nothing more than to raise a family are suffering.

I look at this situation and wonder what I can do to help others. I'm not a rich man. I can't help out someone who is unemployed with money or housing. I don't have a company with jobs that I could offer someone. I do donate to a food bank on occasion, but that doesn't solve a problem - it is a bandage on a wound.

Like a lot of people, I'm working longer hours and struggling to keep up with inflation. My family and I have been more active socially as part of building a better community. We meet with coworkers, neighbors, and others to talk about the stuff going on in our lives. Everyone is worried and appreciates the chance to gather socially, even if it is just gathering around a pizza.

Still, I look around and wonder what I can do to make life a little better for more people. As you may be aware, I do write a little as a hobby. I started out writing serious stories like the John Carter Universe, Millionaire Next Door, Glen Wiseman, and others.

When I saw that the world was getting in worse shape, I tried to write stories that might give some perspectives on what kinds of things people could do to help themselves. These were stories like Commune and A Different Sort of Lifestyle. I did get feedback from some readers thanking me for reminding them that it was important step back and look at how they were coping with the nasty curves life was throwing at them. I felt good about that.

The past two years have been pretty rough for everyone. Rather than getting on a high horse and charging around spouting advice that was worth what people were paying for it (free), I thought people would appreciate something a little lighter.

They say laughter is the best medicine so I tried to serve up a bit of that. I started with The Quatyl and it was going well until a lightning strike killed my computers and storage devices. I lost a lot of chapters and just never could get it going again. I recently recovered a chapter after almost a year of effort. I posted it and am trying to return writing a bit more of the story.

I added Solutions Inc, Boston Solutions Inc, Donaldsons, and Magic as additional stories. They aren't morality plays, but just stupid little stories that are intended to make people laugh. I get a lot of emails like the following,

roflol, cleared the courtroom good one

Every Chapter of this story makes me smile.

I read these comments and think someone out there appreciates my attempt to make them laugh. I hope that someone who was having a bad day finds that it wasn't so bad after all. Then I get a comment like the following,

I feel like your just making useless chapters i barely read this chapter 3 chapters of this is just the limit of one boring scene

These kinds of comments sadden me a little although I'm not quite sure what makes me sad - is it that my efforts to entertain have fallen flat or is it because I wonder about someone who can't see the humor in it? Comments like that bother me because I don't know to respond to them. Essentially, they are saying that I'd do better to just not write that kind of story.

So I sit at home watching a news program in which a dozen people have been killed or injured and I ask myself, "what kind of mischief could a couple of magical creatures get up to in the modern world that would be entertaining?" Then I write up what my imagination provides as an answer and hope that people get a chuckle out of it. I feel a little better having done what little I can to make the world a slightly nicer place for others.

I think about the last time the world was in this kind of shape. We remember the best of those who tried to lighten up things a bit - Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and The Three Stooges. Was it high art? No, but it was art of the highest kind. For just a few minutes people felt better at a time when there wasn't much to feel good about. I don't claim to be in their league.