Not a thing…
Not a single thing…
As I leaf through the pages, I find myself becoming increasingly alarmed. I can see nothing, not even page numbers. What on earth am I going to write about? It may sound as though I’m blaming my notebook here, but of course this would be a silly way to frame my problem. I’m actually blaming my notebooks. I have four of them and they’re all responsible.
There’s really no excuse for this lack of results. The notebooks are kept in strategic locations on and around my person so they can generate ideas around the clock. No matter the time day or night, there is always a writing surface of some kind nearby where new comic ideas can materialize. Without these notebooks, who can tell where the jokes might be forced to appear? The kitchen wall? The tablecloth? My eldest son’s forehead?
My notebooks vary considerably in size and shape, enabling them to fill different roles in my comedy production line. Unfortunately, these precision-engineered inspiration-capture-and-containment devices have been of no real help to me at all this week.
Consider, for example, my navy blue notebook with its heavy-duty plastic covers. It boasts an impressive 10 x 7-inch page size, yet although this means vast expanses of pristine writing surface are available for the appearance of comedy gold, literally nothing has turned up on any page for well over a week now. That’s right! My notebook has not seen fit to provide me with anything at all! Not even so much as an elementary school fart gag. It has been a lamentable performance and has severely shaken my faith in this notebook’s abilities. Given its current form, I’m not sure it could come up with a suitable first line for a knock-knock joke.
Perhaps I’m expecting too much in this case given that, strictly speaking, my navy blue notebook isn’t actually a notebook at all, but rather a washed-up 2014 Business Diary in search of redemption. Oh, I’m sure it had its excuses. No doubt it could cite sluggish economic conditions or natural lows in the production cycle for its failure to shine during its big year. But the fact remains, from the beginning of January to the end of December 2014, the only entry it managed in twelve whole months was, “Wed, March 5th: staff meeting.” That’s a lot to try to explain away with volatility in herring prices and the unexpected strength of the Albanian lek
Now I don’t remember precisely what went on in 2014. When I try to look back at it, I discover it’s hiding behind 2015, so I can’t see it clearly. I’m even prepared to admit that 2014 arrived during something of a lean spell for me in my career, coming as it did slap-bang between leaving high school and the present day. Nevertheless, I simply cannot believe a single staff meeting in March is an accurate reflection of the no doubt stellar work I was doing at the time.
My black and green notebooks do not even have this excuse of being originally intended for some other purpose. They are pocket notebooks and fit easily into almost any jacket or coat. I try to carry one or other about with me at all times. Rather than deciding on a clear favorite, I alternate which of them I take with me because I’m trying to engender a healthy spirit of rivalry between them. In this way, they will attempt to outdo each other in the production of comic gems.
That, at least, is the theory. But this week, they have let me down badly. A careful look through both of them just before writing this essay confirmed what I’d already suspected: neither has done a stroke of work for over a week. Personally, I fear they may be trying to set up a cartel. The logic is clear. By working together to severely disrupt the flow of jokes, they hope to drive the price of humor through the roof, allowing them to make exorbitant claims for whatever tiny amounts they do produce—even jokes so weak they should really be propped up in bed with some cocoa.
Who can tell what outrageous payment demands they may make? Drop capitals in all opening paragraphs? Illuminated borders? Plastic lamination of individual pages? No matter what they have in mind, though, they will soon find that writing gags for me is no laughing matter. I’m not by nature a cruel man, but I do have a steely determination when it comes to my writing. I’m afraid I’m quite prepared to rip a page or two right out of a notebook if I feel a lesson is in order.
The last of my four notebooks, the grey, is the one I feel sorriest for, and also the one I’ve been most disappointed by. Unlike the others, it has only a soft paper cover rather than a hard plastic one. Originally, I tried taking it to the office with me in my workbag, but being unable to protect itself as it got pushed, squeezed and jostled, the notebook soon became little more than a tattered shadow of its former self.
Such heroic sacrifice could not but be respected, and so I began using the robust blue notebook to take to work with me instead and gave my battered grey one pride of place on the bedside table. Whenever I’m lying awake in bed late at night and seeking humorous inspiration from the ceiling, the grey notebook is the one that always manages to produce the best jokes. I’ve come to rely on its input and trust its judgement. But this week, I opened it up wondering what it would have in store for me and found there was nothing at all.
Despite my disappointment, there’s no way I would resort to physical threats with the grey notebook. It has already suffered quite enough in the cause of comedy. Unlike those shiftless good-for-nothings the green and the black, the grey is clearly trying it’s best. It’s simply that, given the way it has been knocked about over time, it’s no longer the notebook it once was.
I suspect the fact I’ve been so exhausted recently has not helped either. I’ve slept like a log for the past week, and so have not been there to encourage my faithful friend by oohing and aahing admiringly as it came up with its puns and one-liners. It’s even possible the poor old thing found it difficult to concentrate on producing humor with all the snoring I was doing in the background.
So I’m afraid, much as I wish it weren’t so, I have absolutely nothing to write about for my blog this week. This being the case, I have no option but to cancel today’s post and hope that by this time next week, my notebooks will have begun supplying me with topics again.
© Bun Karyudo and the BunKaryudo Blog (2016)
(All Rights Reserved)
NOTE: I’m afraid a family health situation means I probably won’t be around much until January. I apologize, for that, but with luck everything will be back to normal in a few weeks. (This message is likely to be on my site for a while, so please feel from to ignore it from now on.)