I’m content with my maleness but sometimes I wish I could write like a girl

As a writer of sorts I sometimes sit in envious, brooding resentment of others whose literary attainments make mine seem pallid, banal and ephemeral. The “brooding resentment” reference is a bit excessive and that only happens on badly blocked days, so for the most part, I’ll settle for the “envious.”

I’ll be candid. I envy many writers of various genres, for both their output and their turns-of-phrase. Douglas Adams of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series almost made me cringe with his drollery, wit and huge intelligence. I know that chronic writer’s block led him into so much stress that he died at an early age. But, maybe to peak too young is better than to not have peaked at all. Likewise, I love all the trips, external and internal, of Bill Bryson, and I want to be just like him when I grow up, despite the fact he’s younger than I am. Meanwhile, I have traveled the world with Paul Theroux, and have solved crimes with Ann Rule, and there are many more I could mention, but shall refrain. I haven’t even gotten into the wisdom of such columnists as Mike Royko, P.J. O’Rourke (both as columnist and book writer), Christopher Hitchens and the late and terrifying bizarre Hunter S. Thompson, the Jerry Lee Lewis of the printed page.

As I said, I have envied, and have even aped some of the above in attempting to find my own voice. But, there is one group of writers that I envy thoroughly in vain, and that is the females. Female columnists, novelists, social commentators, and assuredly bloggers (some of you female bloggers make me sigh with envy at your style – indeed, I’ll go on to say that some female bloggers trump the males of this realm handily). What they do is offer something that no male seems able to attain and that is the ability to take a simple domestic or personal situation and turn it into the sort of hilarity that can only make me, a lowly male think, I wish I could write like that. I wish I could go to the commonplace situation and present something that will make my readers wet their respective pants.

I may mention the ‘biggies’ first, because they attained a kind of mundane nirvana with their wanderings from kitchen to vacuuming to bedroom hijinks. My early favorite in this, and she has long since departed the world, is the late Betty MacDonald. Betty, writing out of Seattle in the 1940s, first gained fame for her screamingly funny tale of chicken farming on the Olympic Peninsula, called The Egg and I. It was also turned into a film in the 1940s, starring Claudette Colbert and Fred Mac Murray, and introducing us all to Ma and Pa Kettle (shown above, who were based on real neighbors of Betty’s.) A later book, called Onions in the Stew, told of raising two adolescent girls on a small island in Puget Sound. Personally, I think it’s even funnier than Egg.

A huge admirer of Betty MacDonald was the late Erma Bombeck, whose earlier stuff especially, resembled her mentor’s. She later developed her own style, and became a deserved media darling. Again, she devoted her musings to real life and the pitfalls that we happen upon throughout our lives. I could go on and on through other female wits like Jean Kerr (Please Don’t Eat the Daisies), and everything by my special heroine, Dorothy Parker (see photo above).

But, we don’t need to go to the top-guns (if that reference is appropriate) in considering female writers because I know other distaff scribes who deserve to be as prominent as the aforementioned. There are females with whom we’re all familiar on these pages, people who come and visit my blog or your blog, who I find immensely amusing and thoughtful. I won’t mention names, though I’m tempted to, but I have often left comments on their blogs attesting to how funny and also thought-provoking I find them.

And sometimes I’ll profess how envious I am of them. Envious because while I get to stand up to pee, I can’t convey the commonplace like they can. Some of them could even offer a funnier tale of standing up to pee than I could. I know they could

So, International Women’s Day recently has come and gone, and in that regard I’ll raise my metaphorical glass to the women of the blogosphere and the printed page. You are gems in a sadly postliterate world.

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9 responses to “I’m content with my maleness but sometimes I wish I could write like a girl

  1. Douglas… but…. Bryson… but…..

    OK, I admit it, I scrolled back up to the picture at least four times while reading this. I would KILL for that lamp. And probably take great pleasure in it – both the lamp and the killing doubt as some people so richly deserve to die. I work with several of them…

    Damn I need a drink

  2. LOVE this post. Just this week I have been bemoaning how hard it is to be a girl in the writing world. So often I wish I could write like a man, without the unnecessary emotion I seem to scatter in my works. It’s great to know the grass ain’t always greener…

    x

  3. Jazz and Laura Jane: Two of my favorite female writers and certainly amongst the ones I had in mind when I wrote this.

  4. I love this post! I also agree that it is sometimes difficult to be a girl in this world, period…

    As for my writing, I apparently have run dry, so if you’ve any suggestions or a secret remedy, please pass them on.

  5. But isn’t the trick to find one’s own voice? That takes a lot of experimentation, trial, error for anybody, not just us women.

    Or not. I don’t know – maybe we’re just the superior gender. Except for peeing. I’d love to be able to pee standing up. That really would be cool …

  6. So God gave you the ability to pee standing up. She gave us the ability to have multiple orgasms. Who did she like better?
    Apropos of nothing, and not really related to your post. But I’m just sayin’.

  7. That’s very interesting. I much prefer male bloggers as I think you all have a wonderful style ….. no, a number of styles, according to the subject you are writing about and that is what I find so entertaining. Women tend to be, dare I say, a little emotional …… !!!

  8. I’ll start looking for ‘onions in the stew’ as ‘the egg and I’ was a masterpiece of humour.
    Oh, and Mr. Fly informs me that in his young day Flemish farmgirls could certainly pee standing up.

  9. Pinklea: I guess I’ll have to regard standing up to pee with higher esteem. So, if men are expected to put the seat down, why aren’t women expected to put it up? Just wondering.
    Jane: Trade ya.
    Fly: If you can find Onions in the Stew I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. And I am impressed by those Flemish farmgirls. Why, if they can do it …
    Selina: Thank you for the compliment re male bloggers. I didn’t mean to disparage my own gender per se, there are some amazing male bloggers. It’s just that they are different in approach. Just like with urination.
    e: I get big dry periods, too. It’ll pass.

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