Last night, I pushed through chronic illness pain and misery to listen to Daniel Handler give a speech. We then stood in line (I sat) for a Long Time to get his signature on books and a picture. It was completely worth it.
If you don’t have kids or haven’t read his A Series of Unfortunate Events, you may have seen the movie with Jim Carey or caught the Netflix show. Yeah, he’s a bit successful. I was not prepared for his unique humor. Or how much we would laugh. Or how much we needed that laughter. If you have a chance to hear him, please go.
His wit wasn’t without a few barbs, which in my opinion, is the mark of someone truly talented. It’s difficult to get people to laugh at themselves, but he was deft and delicate with the jokes. It’s an art, and he is clearly a master of public speaking. He also kept up that level of mastery through the entire signing line. It was impressive.
(Book One signing for child last)
As far as writing – his first recommendation is to read other writers. His second recommendation is to persevere. He also said he loves what he is writing until the publisher tells him he’s reached the point where nothing can be changed, and then he’s convinced it’s garbage. Also? Support your local libraries.
(Book Last signed for child one)
That’s the writing advice I could glean, but there was a larger message braided in between his jokes and advice. It was a fascinating perception of how we often ask the wrong questions when we encounter things that happen. And, of course, asking the less obvious questions makes for better stories.
We tend to look for lessons or morals in any story we read or hear. If you expand that habit, you might find a story prompt tucked in the shadows. Also, don’t touch wildlife, whether it’s dead – or alive…