This is an offshoot of the original Liam & Janet blog. That blog has become overrun by Liam's inability to keep his mouth shut when something annoys him. The serious rants there seemed incongruous with the humor columns. The plan for the humor columns continues to be to post a new one every Friday, plus occasional extras when the mood strikes.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Writer's Block

As regular readers will no doubt have noticed, this will be the second week in a row without a column.

As those who know me well also know, in about 37 minutes (as of this writing), I am about to hit a very large life milestone. I'm not sure how I feel about it, and mulling over the implications on my life and myself has left me in something less than a funny mood.

There are two ways I can write humor columns. The first is when something strikes me as inherently funny. The first column I wrote, on the topic of sleep studies, was one such column. Going through that process was so patently absurd that that was an easy essay to write.

I have used up most such topics. Occasionally a new one will come to me, but there aren't large numbers of them floating about the back of my head just waiting to be written. So until the next time I ski into a tree, throw my back out, or do something similarly bone-headed, this is a dry well.

Which brings me to the second way I write. This involves taking a topic on which I feel I have something to say, and then trying to write it humorously. This requires a different mindset, I have to be in a certain light-hearted mood, or what comes out isn't particularly amusing. (I have one such essay that I've been sitting on for months because I always hoped I'd be able to make it funnier, and so far I've not been able to. Perhaps one day this week I'll post it, just to put SOMETHING new up here.)

More and more of my columns of late have come in this second mode, which isn't a problem per se, but if I have a long stretch of stress, depression, illness or other distraction, it is harder to write such an essay.

Which brings me back to my impending milestone. Tomorrow I will be 40. I have a lot of friends who are past 40 who tell me that their 40s were among the best years of their lives, and that in the age of modern medicine, 40 is still quite young. Nevertheless, as a boy and a young man, 40 has always been held up as "mid life" and the final vestiges of the peak of the hill over which those post 40 are said to be.

So I'm kind of taking stock of my life, where it's been, where it's going, what I wish I'd done differently and what course corrections I should perhaps apply now.

All of which is really more than I really wanted to say on the topic, except that I felt the need to explain why I haven't posted a column for two weeks straight, and why I may be sporadic with them for a while, until I get past this self-examination and on to lighter-hearted footing.


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