Six years ago, I had the worst break-up of my life. I’ll spare you the grizzly details, but will share that it left me ill, in financial distress, and that even though I planned it carefully for October to avoid the horror of a Christmas parting, the finale did not happen until Christmas Eve.
One day, within about a year of that breakup, I was working out on the elliptical at my local gym when the first lines of a song came to me. They were pretty funny, and laughing out loud, I typed them into my phone so I wouldn’t forget them. The song was sung to the tune of “Matchmaker” from the film Fiddler on the Roof, and it made fun of the heterosexual female experience of seeking love with hot male artists. Something I knew nothing about, of course!
Soon a second song arrived, and before long I realized that the songs were part of a fuller work. The work eventually led me to a playwriting intensive, collaboration with a brilliant dramaturge, composer, cast and crew and a crash course in production for a Fringe play. I’m currently working on a rewrite for a larger stage.
All of this stemmed from the fun I found writing sideways into my breakup despair. Yes, it took some time before I was able to unhinge from the all-encompassing grief. But when I was ready, the writing, reworking and production of the play took me into unchartered arenas of joy, wonder and connection.
In my workshops, I witness women alternate between gravity and humour in their writing, sometimes weaving a range of emotions into a stunning piece. I certainly don’t believe writing has to be funny to be healing for its creator. But when I observe women lift the curtain of their despair by dipping into their sense of fun on the page, I know there is magic at play. My personal goddess loves a good laugh, and if I’m laughing at myself all the better. There is release in this — the clearing breeze of perspective.