Wednesday, February 09, 2022

A New Humor Piece Published Today: And A Case Study In How Experience Works In Writing

By Monica Sedra on Unsplash
Frazzled, a very good humor site that focuses on parenting on the Medium platform, published my most recent humor piece, Your Child Has Been Exposed To COVID...Again. The pandemic is a never ending source of fun.

Your Child Has Been Exposed To COVID is an example of using life experience in writing. 

My History In Using Life Experience

I hate to use the phrase "write what you know," because, while it is well-known, a lot of people don't know what it means. It's often interpreted as confining writers to writing only about what's happened to them or what they have done. In reality, it's much more about taking a dip into the life pool for details for characters, settings, plots, and every aspect of story telling. It gives writing depth, richness, and authority. Oh, and relatability.  Additionally, it's a whole lot easier than having to come up with details from scratch.

A lot of my children's books drew very much upon my life as a mother and on my children's lives. 

My Life Among the Aliens and Club Earth were collections of short stories that came out of what was going on when I was raising two preschool and early grade school boys. Yes! I was that mother who baked with bran! 

A Year With Butch and Spike followed some sixth-graders through a school year. By that point in my kids' lives, I was somewhat jaded about the school experience. Their school experience, which, by extension, was my experience as a parent of school-age children.

Then we got to middle school, where, it turns out, not every student is a Happy Kid! Neither are their moms.
Saving the Planet & Stuff was written for one of my sons when he was in the early high school years. He liked reading humor, but found that a lot of YA humor at that time involved girls. He was fine with reading it, but, you know, where were the guys? This booked combined him with what I thought I was going to be during my college years. Two generations were dealing with identity from different sides of the subject--Who am I going to be? Who have I been? 

One of my sons once asked me of my writing, "Do you ever have an original thought?" My response was, "I don't have to, so long as I have you."

Which Brings Us To Your Child Has Been Exposed To COVID...Again 

My interest here was treating the confusion I felt about what I should be doing about COVID, when "what I should be doing" seemed to always be changing. I'm not that quick on my feet. I came up with the preschool situation because we've had that come up a few times with the preschoolers in our family--once just before Christmas, which included me because I spent a couple of hours with the child involved the day his parents found out about the exposure. 

I finished a draft and, I kid you not, that day we hear that the number of days people need to quarantine after exposure has changed. By that point, I was so confused that I couldn't work out what was going on, let alone be funny about it.

Several weeks later, Son Number 2 tells me about something very interesting related to a COVID exposure at his son's preschool. "I can use that!" I told him. Soon afterwards, Son Number 1 texts us with some news about his daughter's preschool and COVID exposure. I can use that, too! I thought.

And that's why I was able to finish this humor piece.

Well, it was then that I came up with the UPDATE and strikeout repetitions. My children didn't write the entire thing.

But their experience, and my experience of hearing about their experience, kick started the completion of this piece.

I can't say enough about writing from experience.

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