Friday, March 25, 2016

Words. Magical, funny, and forbidden. -- Jen Doktorski

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

Stephen King wrote that in On Writing.

If books are magic then words are the ingredients writers use to cast spells and mix potions while standing over simmering caldrons.
Whenever I sit down to read a book from my TBR pile or new pages from my critique partners, I’m always amazed by how unique people and worlds are conjured into being by the placement of words on the page. I’m awed and inspired by authors who string together words in ways I never thought possible. (I just started reading To the Lighthouse and the first page left me breathless.) And equally as amazed by those who create beautiful, sensory images with only a few, expertly chosen words. Brown Girl Dreaming comes to mind immediately.

But the words I find the most necessary to my daily wellbeing are the ones that make me laugh. For as long as I can remember, I have been a collector of funny stories and jokes. If something makes me laugh I want to share it with as many people as I can. (I was the kid who felt compelled to read the Sunday comics aloud at the breakfast table.) Laughter heals, offering light during the darkest moments. And in life, as in Shakespeare, there is often great wisdom in the words of fools. Not pretend fools, mind you, like the kind who run for political office. But genuine, fearless fools, who make themselves vulnerable on the chance that their words will be the bright spot in someone else’s day.
Growing up, I don’t know where I would have been without the hilarious columns and books by Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry, or the stand-up comedy of Joan Rivers, Eddie Murphy, and Robin Williams. (I was lucky enough to see the late, great Williams live when he came to my college campus.) George Carlin was also someone I really admired. I saw him perform live at least twice and many more times on TV and I always looked forward to the bit he used to end each performance. It started out as seven dirty words you can’t say on TV and over the years grew to be an extensive list that always, always, always, makes me laugh.

Warning, viewers may find the following offensive, because individually that’s what each word and phrase in this list is intended to do. But when they’re strung together and delivered by Carlin? Magic.


  1. Thanks for the laugh this morning, Jen. Also, that list of offensive words had a hypnotically poetic ring to it that I found strangely mesmerizing in its offensiveness :)

    1. Glad it made you laugh, Jody! With Carlin, it's all about the delivery. :)

  2. I was just thinking about Erma Bombeck this morning. Such a wonderful talent! And the Carlin bit is priceless!

    1. The Carlin bit was the first thing to pop into my head when I knew our topic was words. :) I idolized, Erma, and yet apparently, I can't spell her name. LOL!