Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Have Fun???

In the previous post Claire talks about happy. I want to talk about fun, something that perplexes me (as does happiness).

I am working on a novel due in August—you fellow writers understand what this means, yes? It means working on my novel, thinking about my novel, living with my novel ALL THE TIME. Except for the occasional rest-bit when I go swimming, walk the dogs, see a movie, or bother my husband (all while thinking about my novel.)

Recently, after telling my mother I couldn’t do something because I had to work she exclaimed: “You never have any fun! You need to have fun!” This reminds me of that dreaded first-date question: “What do you do for fun?” A question I have never been able to answer properly. (Perhaps why I never dated properly.)

What is “fun?” And is it true that I don’t have any? Is writing fun? Is it supposed to be fun?

I gave my mother an example of my ideal fun day: get up, walk dogs, work on novel (or current w-i-p) have lunch, play solitaire, work on novel (or current w-i-p), swim, and ending with some evening activity. (I don’t work on anything serious after dark—my brain only functions in natural light.) The evening activity usually means dinner with husband, watching a movie, and eating ice cream. Oh, sometimes I walk to the local bookstore or farmer’s market during lunchtime. That’s fun.

But this answer did not satisfy my mother. (just so you know she is the type that sends daily emails marked "just for laughs," consisting of photos of animals or vegetables doing various bizarre things.) Fun is perception, isn’t it?

I ask for your help here. Please tell me, what is fun? And do writers need it? (You do not have to tell me what you do for fun--just explain what it all means...)

(ps. Writing this blogpost was kind of fun. Does that count?)


  1. Fun is anything that distracts you from the monotony of life in a positive way. That last part is important. Dropping a hammer on your foot would qualify as a distraction from the daily grind, but it’s not fun.

    Sure eating ice cream can be fun, but if it’s part of your daily routine I don’t think it’s the kind of fun your mom is thinking of. I’m pretty sure she wants you to go bungee jumping or visit the Eiffel Tower.

    My personal idea of fun would be breaking up the ice cream routine by rotating in a glazed donut now and then.

    Here’s a test for determining if you’re having fun: If you’re sad when you stop doing whatever it was you were doing, you were having fun. If you don’t feel any different after than before, you may have been having a pleasant time, but you weren’t having fun.

  2. Love this post, Lisa! I qualify "fun" (in the sense I think your mom's talking about fun) as anything that I'm excited to leave the house to do... or rather anything that's MORE alluring than staying home to read/write/relax, especially at the end of a work day. The list of "fun" activities is shorter than one might think, partially because I really love to read/write/relax at home. :)

  3. I often feel the happiest when I'm learning something new, or when my writing is going right, I can feel it clicking along. When I feel the most engaged with the world.

    But fun seems slightly different to me--not as serious, not as deep. And it often involves laughter. When I go shoe-shopping with my sister and the pair she wants are too small, but she squishes her foot into them anyway and we start howling with laughter, or when I'm riding the Tilt-a-Whirl and I'm not sure if I'm going to puke or never stop laughing. Fun seems more evervescent, not leading to anything, a frolic. Sitting in a strawberry patch and trying to pick berries for a pie but ending up eating all of them right there in the sun.

    It is almost strawberry season.

  4. I meant effervescent. It's early morning and I hadn't had my walk. And I don't know how to change my post. Forgive me.

    And have fun.

  5. Written fun is another toughie to define, much less to achieve. I've been reading lots of student work these last few weeks and am in awe of writers who can generate fun, triggering the guffaw instead of the wry smile.

  6. Eating ripe strawberries from our garden after a cold spring is fun. Thanks for a fun post and comments. Congrats to newly married, Lisa.