|Mom & Dad Fenske|
|My brother and me|
I thought of this yesterday when I called my baby brother for his birthday. Since he’s 33 and about 10 inches taller than me, it’s possible I should stop calling him my baby brother.
Nevertheless, he’s been cracking me up since not long after my mother broke the news that she had not given birth to the giraffe I desperately desired in place of a sibling.
The summer I was 9 and my brother 7, our parents read us C.S. Lewis’ THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. Though the story itself was enthralling, it was the language that captured my brother’s attention.
This was apparent when the lifeguard at the local pool pulled him aside for a scolding. My brother nodded stoically for a few moments before interrupting the lecture.
“Come come now, Joe, we mustn’t start a row – let’s call it pax betwixt us.”
The lifeguard stared at my 7-year-old brother. Then he walked away, shaking his head.
Our father is known more for a dry sense of humor that allows him to deliver absurdities with such a straight face, people who don’t know him generally suspect he’s insane. My parents recently joined a hiking tour in Hawaii, and the guide spent a few minutes cautioning the group about wild boars in the area. My father held up his two-inch pocketknife and informed everyone that he was equipped to spear any boars they might encounter.
The guide was not impressed, leaving my mother to promise sincerely that they had no plans to boar hunt with a pocketknife or any other sharp instrument.
Which leads me to my mother, the physical comedienne of the family. At my brother’s high school graduation, my grandmother sat fluttering a handheld fan to fight the heat. When a man seated in front of her grew annoyed and reached back to grab the fan, my mom snatched it from him and hit him over the head with it.
“You want to rethink that, mister?” she snapped.
He got up and moved.
I think of this whenever someone asks me why I chose to write humorous fiction. Certainly there were points in my long road to publication where I considered other genres. I’ve even attempted to write more serious novels, showing one to my agent at a point when we were struggling to find a home for my comedies.
“That’s not your voice,” she told me. “Writing comedy is harder than most people realize, and it’s something you do well. Don’t give that up.”
As always, she had a fair point.
So that’s where I’ve settled, not that I had much choice. I’m pretty sure I was genetically predisposed to write humorous fiction.
How about you, dear readers? Is there something you’re genetically wired to write? Please share in the comments!