Thursday, May 1, 2008

Just Call Me Bozo

By Sue Ann Jaffarian
Usually, it’s Tom Schreck who writes about punches to the head, but today it’s my turn.

Remember those old Bozo the Clown punching bags? They were inflatable, made of thick vinyl, and weighted at the bottom. You could knock it down and it would come back for more. Hit it again and over it would go, only to merrily spring back in your face. Punch the silly thing over and over, and over and over it will return to take another blow. No matter how hard you try, you can’t wipe that silly grin off its face.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of becoming a Bozo.

You see, it’s like this: Life is not for sissies. Middle-age is not for sissies. The business of writing is definitely not for sissies. Just when you’re on a roll, really cooking with your manuscript, along comes a crisis. It can come from anywhere, be anything. It can be a family situation, a work issue, a personal condition, or a publisher problem. It can even be an artistic roadblock. But whatever it is, it tends to rob us of valuable time and creativity. The days tick by. The deadline looms. The computer keys are silent.

As Bozo, you’d simply take the blows to the head. With each one, you’d go down, wobble a bit, and magically spring back, idiotic smirk in place, ready to continue.

Just short of a sharp, pointy object, nothing can stop Bozo.

He is my hero.

Not a Bozo fan? Or maybe you have a clown phobia? Well, try this on instead.

There’s a scene near the end of the movie The Truman Show where Jim Carrey as Truman is in a sailboat trying to escape Seahaven. Christof, the producer, is hell bent on stopping him. He throws all kinds of manufactured rain, high waves and lightening at Truman, but the young man is persistent in his quest. At one point, battered and nearly drowned, yet spirit intact, Truman yells: “Is that the best you can do?”

Truman Burbank and Bozo the Clown – true role models for the modern writer.


Bill Cameron said...

Funny, people have often called me Bozo, but not, I suspect, for the reason you suggest, Sue Ann.

Still, it's a point well-taken. The lesson of the writing business in general is that determination and ability to get right back on your feet after getting the shit kicked out of you is utterly necessary. The thing I like about your analogy (though I do have a clown-phobia) is it suggests a focus on maintaining a sense of fun through adversity. We gotta have that, I think.

Mark Combes said...

As Matt Groening, the creator of the Simpson's once said:

"If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your shortwave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV."

Pretty tempting at 1:00am when the thermostat has kicked down to "night mode" and you are shivering at your computer...

Bill Cameron said...

I used to have a unicycle.

G.M. Malliet said...

I have a clown phobia, too, Bill. They always frightened me as a kid. They frighten me now. Stephen King's IT just reinforced, um, IT.