A few weeks back, I did a post bemoaning my inability to write a sex scene. At the time, I considered it one of the very rare areas of difficulty for me…at least in writing. I’m mainly bad at everything else I do. Dating, parenting, parallel parking, doing that thing with your thumb where it looks like you’re taking it off but you’re really not, pretty much everything is an ‘area of opportunity for me’. Except for writing. I always thought I was ok at writing.
Then today, I had to turn down a job. Why? Because I was incapable of doing the writing required for it. The subject matter? G-rated humor.
In the past, I worked for this company that runs a clever little website. You upload a photo, it uploads a caption for the photo. They hired me before to create those captions. It was actually a really fun job. 100 snarky, mean and sarcastic one liners. As I am the queen of caustic one liners, I whipped those things off like it was nothing. They were very pleased with my work and a little frightened of me as a person.
Then, they asked me to do it again. But this time, no snark. Instead, these captions would be for parents and grandparents needing baby picture captions and whatnot. “Sure,” I said. “I can do G-rated. How hard can it be?”
Famous last words.
Today, I spent 2 hours (not even exaggerating) staring at a photo of a cute little baby boy with a sad face. I stared and I waited for inspiration…and waited…and waited. Oh and inspiration came, but it came in the form of my true, blue-style humor. Every thought that came to me was a mean quip about how annoying children are, about drunk babies, about breast feeding, about people who breastfeed for way to long. Then I thought about how ugly this kid was getting the longer I looked at him. Nothing clean. Nothing nice. All hilarious. The things I said about that baby in my head today will haunt me to my grave…and also make me chuckle a little. Then, I pictured the horrified look on some grandmother’s face as her adorable grandson’s picture was plastered with the caption “Stupid broken condom!!!” and I chuckled even more.
I am a terrible person.
I never thought that I would run into an area so large that I was incapable of writing about. Just as I was working thought my sex scene issues, with the help of a large amount of tequila and many, many photos of Julian McMahon, I ran into an entire genre that isn’t just difficult for me to write. It’s impossible.
Here’s the thing; I was born a cynic. When my parents took me to see E.T., two year old Essa stormed out while everyone was sobbing, declaring that it was ‘sappy bullshit’. I don’t get the warm fuzzies. I don’t believe in happy endings (unless they are the kind you get at an unlicensed massage parlor) and I flinch if someone mentions feelings. It was how I was designed. For the most part, it’s done ok for me. Then this happens.
I’d like to say I’m going to work on it, but I probably won’t, because I know it’s a futile task. I will never be classy and I will never be clean. I will always be wrapped in a hard shell of cynicism and I will never giggle over baby shoes or tell a joke suitable for a church picnic. Even if I tried, it would all ring false and it wouldn’t be funny, it would just be sad.
Some of my favorite authors are clean. I absolutely love Dave Barry, but I could never be like him. His posts are family friendly and I am the exact opposite. I’m for ‘restricted audiences’. I’m the girl you don’t invite to the wedding because she gets in a drunken fight. I’m the girl you don’t ask to come to the funeral, because crying skeeves me out. I’m the girl that doesn’t get an invitation to the baby shower, because at the last one, I gave the expectant mother a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of gin. I am not ‘family friendly’. I am ‘family enemy’ and there is really nothing I can do but embrace it.
God bless those who appreciate blue humor.
***On another note, not related to my suckish writing, I released a novella today that is wildly inappropriate, filled with profanity, but lacks the sex scene that I am not yet comfortable enough to write. You can check out my new book, The Apology, here.***