“What’s the message you’re trying to get across with your books?” my marketing guru friend Kadena asked.
Message? Did I have one? If so, it must have been a subconscious desire. I thought I was hoping simply to entertain readers with my stories. I’ve said that “I help find the fun in life’s frustrations.” But perhaps there was something more going on. Maybe it was time to reexamine my intent.
If I’m being honest, I have to admit that I write most of my humor essays as a form of personal therapy. As one who has a magnetic attraction to calamities, I write to cope with chaos. Life for me and my brood often turns crazy, complicated and confusing. And when it does, I stop and ponder this question: What’s funny about this?
If I think about most any situation long enough, my anxiety, anger, or compulsion to consume an entire box of sugar cookies in one sitting passes. Before I know it, I’m laughing at the very events that earlier might have left me contemplating revenge or, at a minimum, a retaliatory shopping spree. Just ask my husband about the ring I purchased while he was on a solo trip to New York. Yeah, I don’t get mad. I get jewelry.
Anyway, in tracing a positive (as opposed to a precious gemstone) path through undesirable situations, I’m leaving a trail for others to follow.
Jack Canfield summed it best in his book, The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, when he cited the formula “E+R = O.” This equation signifies that life events, plus our reactions to those events, equal the resulting outcomes.
At some time, we all suffer undesired or unintended situations. That’s just part of the human experience. We can’t always control life, but we can take charge of how we respond to the events that occur. If we hold on to these negative experiences, fret about them, rehash the perceived injustice or unfairness we’ve endured, then we’ll have an entirely different outcome than we might if we dealt differently with our emotions.
There is no better way to overcome life’s annoyances than to laugh at them. When we become amused with ourselves and our foibles, then we are free to move forward in a new direction. With fewer accessories, perhaps, but still….
If there is an overall lesson in my stories and books, then learning to find the levity that’s sometimes hidden in life’s challenges is it. I strive to follow this practice (though often with scant success). “We teach best that which we most need to learn.”
I have to keep sharing my silly tales so I can move closer to my desired level of harmony. No doubt, many readers will arrive well ahead of me. I’m a terribly slow learner. But as long as I’m laughing, I’ll be okay.
Diana Estill (aka Deedee Divine) is the author of Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life.