My writing is suddenly full of joy. So is my life.

To me, geeks are people who pursue our own joys and passions more than universal truth, and that’s why I love being a geek and being around geeks so much.

I planned to write a novel of at least 50.000 words during November, and prepared myself the best way I knew how. I was confident that I could write this novel quite easily until November the first hit. When I sat down, I found that I didn‘t enjoy writing because I expected me to be able to write either way better or way faster. I felt that I was wasting my energy agonising instead of being able to enjoy myself.

I took a step back and asked myself why I want to write. Like everything else in my life, I want to create a story because I hope that it will bring me joy. And I want to write it down so I can share it whith others in the hopes that they will enjoy it too. (That’s my take on the one reader response: I‘d rather have exactly one reader getting joy out of my book than whole generations being bored to tears by it in school.)

I tell stories to inspire joy. There are other great reasons, like inspiring laughter, tears, terror. I‘m not usually going for the terror, but that’s just my preference.
So if I want to inspire laughter, I have to first find out what will make people laugh. My approach would be to pay attention to and think about what makes me laugh, and then write to that, because that way I get to laugh while writing. If I‘m trying to write to what makes other people laugh, whether or not I laugh at those things too, I can no longer rely on my knowledge about what makes me laugh. I have to find out what makes other people laugh, and the wider I want my audience to be, the more difficult it gets. For example, I have spent almost my entire life with my twin, and still I won‘t know what will make her laugh until after I have told the joke. I always tell them to laugh myself, too, so that’s okay. I don‘t feel like I wasted my valuable time trying to make her laugh and then she didn‘t, I just feel like I enjoyed myself and maybe look a bit like a giggling idiot to her. I can live with her thinking that, and I can live with her being right about it, because I know that at least I enjoy what I‘m doing.

I just realised that my definition of sense and meaning is joy. If I am enjoying myself, life makes sense to me. If not, it doesn‘t. Universal truth doesn‘t figure into this.

Anyway, back to writing.
So in order to inspire laughter, I need to know who I want to inspire and want may make them laugh. If I can‘t even figure out a reliable joke for the one person I have been closest to for twenty five years, how am I supposed to figure out how to make a thousand random strangers in a thousand random bookshops laugh?
I‘m not even trying. I find it much easier to just write to my own sense of funny. I will laugh about surprising things if they seem harmless (If they seem threatening, they inspire terror in me). I also laugh in moments where I truly enjoy life. I think the two are related: If something unexpected happens and I see that it doesn‘t threaten me, that reinforces the idea that life is good, that I don‘t need to shield myself from the unexpected. (Neither my laughter nor my terror rely on surprise; that’s why I enjoy Terry Pratchett and Edgar Allan Poe so much. It’s the inevitability with which they arrive at their conclusions that makes sense to me.)

Another reason why I‘m not trying to be funny for others is that I don‘t feel comfortable around people who try that. If you tell me a joke and I think you‘re not enjoying it, I wonder why you bothered, and I may come to the conclusion that you were trying to manipulate me. This is why I can enjoy all forms of humour that feel sincere and harmless to me. The same is true about other forms of art and human expression. I think any form of human expression is art to me if I view it as a sincere atttempt at joy.

Now that I know that, writing comedy is suddenly easy: I can just create a world in which I would feel comfortable, and make harmless things happen that I wouldn‘t expect.
Easy as pie. Even if I don‘t always know exactly what would make me comfortable or what I wouldn‘t expect, I can usually tell what I find uncomfortable or expectable just by paying attention.

When I started writing this book on the seventh November of 2010, I just wanted something nonsensical and funny. Then I realised that I need a certain level of sense, or maybe that I find nonsense only funny if I can find a deeper sense behind it.
Now I was suddenly trying to write a book that made sense. It became a lot more daunting. Had I just gone for nonsensical without funny, you would probably now be reading a meaningless string of 50.000 words.

At first, I tried to defer to other people’s ideas of meaning, but eventually found it as hard as trying to write to others‘ ideas of humour. Then I made sense of my life, and now I can write a book that makes me happy. I feel that it drastically improves my prose, because I feel unhappy with my writing if it doesn‘t convey my sense, and I see beauty in it when it does. So if it doesn‘t strike me as beautiful, I know that I need to fiddle. But since I now what I am striving for, it’s easy to go in the right direction. Beautiful words, clear sentences and striking imagery now seem like the easiest thing in the world to me. They just have to be joyful to me.

Now that I know what I value and enjoy in writing, I also know what I value and enjoy in life. I enjoy it fully now. Everything seems a lot simpler and more enjoyable than it did just a few days ago. I used to try to find truth and share it with others, which I find a lot harder and more frustrating than trying to find and share joy. Since I know what joy is to me, clarity just finds me.