Writers are too serious. I’m certainly guilty of this. Especially when we are young and impressionable, we think that we have something important to say. We think we are going to change the world.
Lately I’ve been appreciating the value of good entertainment. Life is hard enough. People don’t necessarily need to be reminded of pain and suffering during their Books and TV Shows and Movies.
Entertainment is important. If you want to change the world, make somebody laugh. Ease their mind for a while. Life is serious enough.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Why, when I have the freedom to circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon, or turn myself invisible and walk unimpeded into the White House, or play hockey on the moon with a team of Blue Wizards – why would I want to write about my desk job, on a Monday morning, when I’m late for work and the car is low on gas?
A blank page is a treasure trove of untold possibilities. I’m thankful for all the fun stories I read when I was a kid. I’m thankful for those writers who stuck a helium nozzle in my ear and blew up my imagination like a latex glove until it took on the shape of a cow’s udder.
The Distance of the Moon is a short story by Italo Calvino. It was published in 1965 as part of a collection called the “Cosmicomics.”
I listened to it on audio this week, and it inspired me to think of all the fun possibilities in the writing universe.
Here is a sample…
[…] “the rest of you can’t remember, but I can. We had her on top of us all the time, that enormous Moon: when she was full – nights as bright as day, but with the butter-coloured light – it looked as if she were going to crush us […] Climb up on the Moon? Of course we did. All you had to do was row out to it in a boat and, when you were underneath it, prop a ladder against her and scramble up. […] This is how we did the job: in the boat we had a ladder: one of us held it, another climbed to the top, and a third, at the oars, rowed until we were right under the Moon; […] The man at the top of the ladder, as the boat approached the Moon, would become scared and start shouting: ‘Stop! Stop! I’m going to bang my head!’”
Don’t you want to know what happens next? Don’t you want to hang out in that universe for a little while, if only to poke around and see what you can see? Go ahead and try it out. Nobody is watching.