Sorry for the hiatus, you guys! Feel free to blame my favorite distractions at the moment - stand-up comedy and Sunday brunch, two things I've committed myself to doing WEEKLY for the duration of 2014. Posting may continue to be light. I'm not sorry. You wouldn't be either.
The comedy is pretty obvious. It's probably the craziest, most intense and cheapest art you can make that people will immediately see and respond to. You write the jokes. You find an open mic. You get on the list (always FREE!). You get up and tell your jokes. People either laugh or they don't. Rewrite, rinse, repeat. In Portland there's a free open mic almost every night of the week, usually two or three.
The fun part is I've committed myself to SUCKING for an entire year. It turns out you can't get good at comedy without doing A LOT of it. I'll be happily inflicting my suckage onto audiences all over town for the foreseeable future. Be warned. The thing is, this isn't a new year's resolution at all. It's just that I want to know if I can do comedy and there's only one way to find out - by DOING it and seeing if I can make people laugh.
I'm not even sure I ever wrote about what sparked my interest in comedy, but last summer I tried to go to a jazz open mic in the basement of the Blue Monk (a rad jazz club on Belmont Street). I was there alone and it was during the peak of my Joel woe(l??) and I figured a good jam session would help lift my luggage. But I'd read the schedule wrong and it turned out to be a comedy open mic, not a jazz one. It didn't take long for me to realize I was the only civilian in an all-comic audience. I'd never had comical aspirations myself, but watching a bunch of squirrely, awkward, dungeons and dragons nerds nailing one liners about current events made me realize that not only am I a writer, but I am sitting on a comedy GOLD MINE.
My life, you guys! I've got all the material anyone could ever possibly need. Divorce. Children. Single motherhood. Vaginas. Men. Women. Dating. Polyamory. Running. Sex. BDSM. ALLTHETHINGS.
When I started I had no idea how to write a punchline, so on the recommendation of my comic friend, Shawn, I took a class. It was really helpful and I got over what little fear I had of making an ass of myself. Of course I STILL need to learn how to write a punch line, but I'm no longer terrified of learning the hard way. Right now I'm working on a set about losing weight and how it's fucked up my body. This involves an Octomom joke, you guys. Writing this shit is FUN. It keeps me up in the middle of the night and causes me chew my cuticles into oblivion. It's fantastic.
The other huge distraction this year is brunch, which I'm hosting every week here at House of Hijinks. We've got a Facebook group going and as of now we're at 165 members and growing. Which means every Sunday I host breakfast/lunch/shenanigans for everyone on that list, all of whom are invited every Sunday. So far our largest crowd has been around 50 people, but I see us growing even larger (and into the backyard!) as the weather warms up.
I know what you're thinking and no, it's not expensive. I'm not using food stamps to feed my friends. I make a dish or two every week, usually something involving a bag of flour and a bunch of our chicken eggs and almost everyone who comes brings food. And champagne. And OJ. And BACON. Last week we went through over a dozen pounds of bacon. I made BLT's and a big vat of steel cut oatmeal. That brunch cost me less than $40 to host. Seriously, if you're going to invite people over for a meal, make it brunch. It breaks the fast, not the bank. (HA!)
The best part is that this house is so full of love you'll get a head rush your first Sunday here. The kids run wild and crazy with big shit-eating grins smothering their syrup-crusted faces (both kids beg to come to brunch even when it's not my week). The grown-ups aren't much better. We drink mimosas. There's an abundance of kissing and hugging and general cavorting. HONEST conversation. REAL friendship. Phenomenal story-telling. It's probably the best thing I've ever thought of.
You know how often you run into friends and you're like, "WHY DON'T WE EVER HANG OUT ANY MORE?"
I don't have that problem. My answer is always the same: BRUNCH. It's every week. It's casual. It's a standing, forever invitation. It means I get real life FACE TIME with the people I care about every week. That's how you build a community, you guys. When Patrick's old friends ask him where he's going to church these days, he always answers: The Brunch.
If this isn't a church, I'm not sure what is.
I just registered yearofbrunches.com, too, so expect to hear more about brunch. Not only my recipes and who is here and what they cook, but how I hope to make brunch club into something a lot bigger than me and my tiny House of Hijinks. Stay tuned.