Author Guest Post
Humor = Tragedy + Time
Just a few months after I graduated from college, I totaled my first car in an unfortunate meeting with a rather large deer. I was underinsured and broke, so I was devastated. My mother, perhaps a little optimistically, told me that someday I would look back and laugh. I probably said something terribly obnoxious to her and then went off to sulk.
I owe her an apology (sorry, Mom!) because now that memory does make me laugh. Actually, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that story over the years. Personally, I like the part where the game warden asked me to avert my eyes while he put the injured deer out of its suffering. I looked at my first car, now a hulking, steaming wreck, and asked him to give me the gun so I could do it myself. (He refused. And please, rest assured that I’m an animal lover and at any other time I would have been horrified at the sight of that poor deer. But. My car.)
I’ve heard many words of wisdom from my mother and I’ve actually listened to some of them, but “this will be funny some day” (unconsciously echoing Mark Twain’s quote that humor is tragedy plus time), has resonated with me perhaps more than any other. Mining real life for moments of inspiration is a crucial tool in the writer’s toolbox, and tragedy is no exception.
Using humor to deal with pain isn’t, and shouldn’t be, solely the province of writers or artists, though. It’s a useful method of dealing with life’s disappointments for all of us. Don’t get me wrong. There are some experiences will never rise to the level of comic anecdote, and that’s fine. Some things aren’t meant to be funny, not now, not ever. But if you’re confident that someday you will be able to laugh at most of the events that seem so full of pathos at the time, it might help ease the pain.
By the time Monte Carlo meets deer ended in a tie, I’d already started to mentally rewrite events, even as I was experiencing them, to mine the comedic possibilities.
After the accident, I called my Dad, who had a body shop and would be able to tow away the hunk of metal that used to be my car. While I was waiting for him, another driver, who’d pulled over to make sure I was all right, eyed the deer. He looked from me to the game warden, then asked “Are you going to keep that deer?”
“No,” I said decisively
“Can you help me tie it on my car?” he asked, producing a length of frayed rope from his trunk. Without a word, I helped him lift the deer and secure it tightly to the top of his car. I’d grown up in a town where hunting was one of the major activities, so this didn’t seem at all strange to me. He was driving away with his prize when my Dad pulled in.
When you’ve just destroyed your first car and are still shaking from the accident, there are all kinds of things you might expect your father to say.
Mine said, “I can’t believe you gave away that deer. All that venison, gone to waste.”
As he shook his head at me in disappointment, I felt a giggle start to bubble up to the surface. I squelched it before it came out, the gravity of the situation washing over me. Now, if I could do it over, I’d let the giggle come, and the deep belly laughs that were sure to follow. It wouldn’t have undone the accident, but it would have made it all a little more bearable.
Humor can help ease the pain, soothe the sting, and bring a little more light into your life. And can’t we all use a little more light?
-Melissa Rae Madison
About The Author
Melissa Rae Madison, a partially reformed lawyer, is formerly from Pennsylvania but now lives in sunny Southern California, where she regularly laments the scarcity of really good cannoli. When she's not writing or lawyering, she enjoys reality tv marathons, sugary cereal, and being bossed around by her pushy Siamese cat.
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
The Pursuit of Happiness by Melissa Rae Madison
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 26, 2014
Format: eBook - 279 pages
Kindle - 911 KB
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: The Pursuit of Happiness
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.
Why is Tay so miserable? Maybe it’s her boss, a power-hungry partner at her firm who thrives on humiliating his subordinates. Maybe it’s her friends, who are getting fed up with her diva attitude, or her family, who thinks she’s pulling away from them. Maybe it's the bartender, who thinks she’s shallow. Or maybe it’s because the life of her dreams is becoming a nightmare.
When family obligations and an ethical dilemma at work crumble Tay’s carefully constructed world, she has to take another look at her dreams and ambitions and decide what she wants out of life. And to her surprise, it may not be what she’d planned.
My Book Review:
Tay Bellagio has everything in her life going her way: she was hired out of law school as an associate attorney with one of Philadelphia's most prestigious law firms; she has a beautiful apartment; an expensive car; money; and supportive friends .... so why is she so miserable?
In The Pursuit of Happiness, Author Melissa Rae Madison weaves an intriguing tale that has the reader following Tay Bellagio as she embarks on a personal journey of finding happiness. Set in Philadelphia and told in the first person narrative, Tay's journey is a roller coaster ride of dramatic highs and lows as she finds out that having everything doesn't always bring happiness. Sometimes life kicks you in the butt and makes you realize that changes need to be made in your life, and as Tay soon discovers, reality comes a calling when her life starts to crumble. I really enjoyed following Tay's journey, I have to admit that I wasn't a huge fan of her in the beginning, but as she made changes in her life, it was really great to see her growth and the realization that she really could find happiness.
I loved that the author utilized her personal / professional experience as an attorney to weave a believable story that anyone can relate to. The author easily draws the reader into Tay's story from the beginning, and keeps them engaged and turning the pages as Tay's journey for the pursuit of happiness unfolds. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I loved that the author provides a richly detailed description of the local landmarks in her hometown of Philadelphia as the setting, that in itself gets two thumbs up.
With a fun cast of characters; witty dialogue and interactions; and a storyline that has a great mixture of drama and humor; The Pursuit of Happiness is an enjoyable story about what really matters most in life.
RATING: 5 STARS
Virtual Book Tour
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December 2 - FictionDreams – Q&A
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December 5 - AiLove Books – Excerpt
December 8 - ChickLit Club Connect – Guest Post
December 9 - eBookAddict- Excerpt
December 11 - Chick LitPlus – Review
December 12 - The Little Reading Cabin - Review
December 15 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
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