The Power of Duct Tape

I love Romcom. I love to laugh and make others laugh. I love drama. I have been told I write really good drama that brings tears. When I can combine the two, it is great.

Picture this: The scene- Intense heart break, mammoth pain, leading to the emotional climax of the story. My heroine gets drunk and, in a wrenching tear-jerk scene, confronts the hero.

I had to rewrite it three times. I kept wanting to slide into slapstick. It would have been hysterical, but inappropriate for that moment. It had all the elements for humor. But also for pain. A double edged sword.

It made me realize how closely related the two are. In classic Three Stooges, the idea of pain was funny. poke Moe in the yes, slap Curly’s head, punch the Larry’s gut; laugh. But the change the people or the mood and it becomes a fight scene, complete with injury.

Romcom is not that much different. To grab some one by the funny bone, you sometimes have to go through the heart strings. And vice versa. Those moments of laughter through tears or Joy through pain are so much more human and touching. because they are real.

Haven’t you ever wanted to laugh at a funeral? The heightened emotion leaves you ripe for humor. Have you ever watched a comedy movie and found yourself sighing at a tender touching moment? Maybe that is why the sarcastic heroine is so popular today. Not only is she a better embodiment of today’s woman but her very existence symbolizes our understanding that people are multifaceted. There are very few truly 100% dark or funny or somber or boring people. Every one has layers and layers of emotions that bleed over, like a red shirt in a bleach wash. It colors everything around us. It is the layering that makes a good story.

Perfect example: Years and years ago when my parents were struggling financially, my mother gave my father a roll of duct tape for Christmas. It was meant as a gag gift, as he could never find duct tape when he wanted it. It was also what she could afford that year.

Fast forward to the next year and things were much improved. Dad bought Mom a ring. He wrapped it inside that roll of Duct tape and told her thanks for STICKING with him during the lean times. That same damn roll of duct tape has been making an appearance under their tree for nearly 15 years. For my Hubby, when he spent his first Christmas with us, he was lost. Duct tape? He didn’t understand. So I had to explain.

Sweet? Of course. Touching, yep! Funny? It is to many, especially when you never know what item is going to be inside the roll. It has held everything from diamonds to denture adhesive. The gift is not as important as the vehicle, a cardboard roll of silver stickiness.

But that roll of tape symbolizes their history, their connection. And that is what I strive for in my writing; Continuity, connections and emotion. Diamonds or denture adhesive, I want to make you feel something. I want you to know it is duct tape but find a treasure inside that is going to reach out and grab you by the feelings. And if I can make you laugh AND cry, then my job is complete. In that story.

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5 Comments

Filed under Inez, writing

5 responses to “The Power of Duct Tape

  1. beachweb

    Dear Inez,
    I felt an immediate connection to your duct tape. I’m permanantly stuck to duct-tape-cures-all man, my not yet dearly departed sidekick of 70+ years. The story was a good one, and well tolt. Fired up a remembering about Uncle Web. It wasn’t that he couldn’t afford a christmas tree.. he just lost track of the days till, and in pops the hoard of grandkids and great grandkids, and no tree. Well he galavants all over town but its too late. No tree, even the pitifull ones are gone, and he won’t abide by a “fakey” one. Just as the little tears are about to commence, he grabs some faded newpaper and broken crayons, and….yes.. duct tape… and he and the littlest child make a tree. They start a stickin on hair barrets and pennies and scraps of tinfoil, and next thing you know the whole gang of’em.. including the teenagers, are decorating this tree.
    Now every year… he gets a big old douglas pine a week ahead… but its that ragged newspaer tree that gets all the attention!
    Sincerely
    Aunt Bloggie

  2. talesfromthecrit

    I agree with all above. That’s a sweet story, the duct tape thing. I try to actually put humor into my most dramatic moments. I call it the Buffy school of writing. But you’re right sometimes it doesn’t fit.

    AJ

  3. I love the story of the duct tape.

    And I love, absolutely love, laughing through tears. Chances ARE, if while writing you cry and laugh at the same time, someone else will, too. But I’m sure you know that already, lol.

    Great post, Inez.

    (Do you remember who I am, AJ?)

    (Evil cackle.)

  4. talesfromthecrit

    Now I do, lol.

  5. What a great story. That just proves that couples who can laugh together, last.

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