Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What Do You Think?



I am whooped. I mean tired, really tired. It’s been a while since I have worked for such a long time with the left side of my brain, but that’s what I am doing. I am currently working on a proposal for my book. Think college research paper. Exhausting. Hoping for an A. Really just don’t want a C.

But the topic that is really swirling around in my fried brain is this: can you be sweet and funny at the same time?

When I was younger, I wanted to be one of those sweet, quiet females who grew long straight hair and wore modest clothes but still looked like a knock out. They laughed quietly but with such earnestness. Maybe Laurie Partridge or Marcia Brady or the blond one on the Mod Squad (of course she never smiled did she?)

Alas, it didn’t happen for me. At 45, I have accepted this and I am honestly appreciative of who God made me. But lately, I have been wondering…can I be kind, loving, witty and sarcastic at the same time? This started of course, with my writing. I seek to be ME at all times when I write. The biggest mistake I could make is not grammatical or word choice, but in the vast and simplistic area of TRUTH. I need to tell the truth as I see it. I need to be truthful.

And truth be told, sometimes I am very loving and quiet. And sometimes I am loud and hysterical and say things that although are funny to me, make other people cringe or squirm or just stare.

Now I know I have wit. In fact, I have always been funny. Ever since I picked up a joke book in the third grade I have loved making people laugh and I love people who make me laugh.

Consider the following. You need to know Robbie Floyd is my maiden name and I had then and have now a very loud honking cough. This is my senior “prophecy” out of my high school yearbook:

Robbie Floyd will become a very famous Hollywood stand up comedian. Unfortunately, she will meet with a premature death. While vacationing in Canada, a bull moose will mistake her cough for a mating call and will attack her, resulting in fatality.

I thought about becoming a stand up comic, but it never really appealed to me. Too much pressure. My humor comes out of the spontaneous moment. In fact, I am speaking at a certain group for mothers here in Denver and they sent me the newsletter they sent to their members. The write up about me speaking at their social meeting labeled me as “Robbie Iobst, author and humorist.” Yikes. So I am required to make them laugh? Too much pressure. I now have visions of standing in front of them, silent. An uncomfortable, horrible silence. Then I proceed to tell them a 3rd grade knock-knock jokes followed by singing my rendition of Sonny and Cher’s “You Got Me, Babe.”

Weird, I know. Pressure does that to me.

So here I am writing a book about my life and some of it is naturally funny. My critique group, thank you Jan and Loretta, read the first chapter and laughed and laughed. But at the end of the first chapter, they teared up. BINGO. See, I don’t want to just be funny. I want to make people think and feel…namely about God.

So with every sentence I ask myself, is this funny? Should this be funny? Will people laugh or cringe or have no reaction at all to this? I cover some serious topics in my book like death and pornography. These topics, though quite serious, can be humorous too. I have laughed out loud at funerals and during the long process of grief. As John and I battled our way through dark days of near divorce, laughing was a release and sometimes the only thing we could do to not kill each other.

I guess I am talking about the old topic of balance. Sweet. Absolutely. I want to show the love of God in all I do, don’t you? But funny. You bet. If I see the opening, I will go in and make the remark that might make you giggle. You know, it’s not just about balance. It is about an older topic for me. It is about people pleasing versus God pleasing. God made me this way. Those days of trying to be someone I am not are over. Not Marcia or Laurie or Peggy. Not even Martha in a Mary world. Just Robbie.

But I am really interested to hear your thoughts on this topic. I am not fishing for “Oh Robbie of course you are sweet and funny.” I want to know how you handle or have seen someone handle the line between being loving and kind and making someone laugh.

I hope I am making sense. I am whooped, you know. Such a delight to be blogging and not proposing.

8 comments:

Kay said...

I think about this a lot, too Robbie. Even though I never have really aspired to be sweet, I do want to be kind. And because my humor tends to the sarcastic, I sometimes question people as to whether I've crossed a line. The last thing I ever want to do is get a laugh at some else's expense.
My wit is frequently quicker than my brain. I just need to make this a matter of prayer more that I have. That my humor will glorify God.

Robbie Iobst said...

Kay, you see where I am going with this thought. I don't ever want to hurt anyone with my words. Ever. But is it my responsibility to not offend them? HMMMMMMM....Thanks for your comment.

Julie said...

Hey, Im Kays sister and I ditto her comment with this to add. Some people will just always be offended. Not possible to have everyone like you, but if you are submitted to God your good. I have apologized more times than I can even count if I tried for saying things that were...like you said "off" or just not right. I have apologized to my kids, husband, family,co-workers... I have even said sorry for offending people who just want to be mad. (My crime is I rub people the wrong way- you like me or not I guess).What I cant be sorry for is being who God made me to be, but that is a fine line between who I am and what I do. Does that make any sence? My daughter says she can't help it, that is just how she was born. Can she? Hmmm.

Jan Parrish said...

If you are just yourself, and you seek God first, all of who He made you to be will spill out onto the pages and it will evoke a wonderful mix - just like you.

Robbie Iobst said...

Julie, Thanks for your insight...and your daughters. :0)Come back and visit often!

Jan, Good words!

Ruthie said...

It seems to me that the Lord has given you a talent, and you just need to be yourself and let Him guide you in your writing. Your blog was a good example of good writing. When humor pokes fun at people, it can be hurtful. But there are a lot of things that are humorous and fun that don't discourage others in the process.
Keep up the good work. :)
P.S. Call me for tea someday!

Robbie Iobst said...

Ruthie, You are very kind, I can tell. We would have so much fun at tea! Thank you!

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