Damn, Coyote, You Ugly

April 8, 2012 § 1 Comment

And I just realized that in less than a week I will have blogged for a year. It completely snuck up on me, too. I was just prepping today’s piece and noticed that my archives went all the way back to April 2011. Since then, I’ve made 178 posts, people have commented 270 times, and I’ve had over 5,000 page views. Not too shabby, for a dude who just started posting online one day. Thanks, everyone, because you’re at least half the reason I’m doing this.

Week 14: Coyote Blue, by Christopher Moore

Humor is hard to write, and I sympathize with anyone who attempts it. This isn’t to say that this book isn’t funny; in fact, it’s certainly got it’s moments, but rather that asking whether something is funny or not is actually a lot more difficult than it seems. Some people at my store love Moore. I…am uncertain.

But let’s back up a bit. This book is pretty much American Gods with more sex and more comedy. Sam Hunter is a man with a conflicted identity about his Apsáalooke past and with the help of some trickster gods he comes to terms with who he is.

And gets laid doing it, too.

Man, Christianity would have so many more adherents if Jesus occasionally helped people get laid

This book is interesting because it’s a picture-perfect case of not showing all your research. Moore is apparently a fascinating travel writer and you can tell he did a boatload of research that isn’t shown. You know how masters of their art makes things look easy when in reality, what they’re doing is really really hard? It’s kind of like that. It looks simple, even though you know he clearly had to work really hard for it. For that, at least, I applaud Moore.

The thing is, though, is that this book is about more than just the research he did. It’s also about humor, and the damn thing about humor is that it’s really, really, really hard. You can do research (and by “research”, I mean watching videos of Mitch Hedburg on youtube) but that only goes so far. Especially since humor is different for every person and what some people find funny, some people just don’t. The fact that The Hangover 2 made any money at all was proof of this.

I’m not saying the book isn’t funny, but I am saying that at points I read things that were meant to be funny but, for me, weren’t, or were just worth a little chuckle. It was educational, and a good reminder that taste counts for a lot in humor. Not “taste” as in “expression of quality”, but taste as in “I prefer sour over sweet”.

Or chocolate to caramel

And it’s also interesting because of how “shallow” everything was. He was telling a particular story about a character, and which, because it took place in this world and time, didn’t need much world-building. This made it feel like it was shallow and underdeveloped, but it wasn’t. It was quick and didn’t concern itself with going too deeply into things that didn’t matter to the story at hand. As someone who loves writing big, long stories that examine as much of everything as they can, it was very different. I found myself expecting more, but not needing more. Was this good or bad? I don’t know, but it was certainly different from what I usually do.

I think I’ll read some more Moore, if only because he had some amazing single lines and great concepts, including “Coyote blue”, the feeling of being incapable of action because of too much thought about future possibilities. That’s a line I’m keeping for future reference.

I'm just going to imagine this guy whenever I think of "over planning leading to failure" from now on

And for next week, I’m thinking Armies of Heaven, because I haven’t read history in a loooong time.

In other news, it’s time for another poll. I want to take a one (1) week break from Lovers. To that end, I am making you make the choice for me. I have three choices that you can make. The first is that I continue the story I put up here, all the way back in October. It’s a pure comedy, and one that I enjoyed writing. The second is amysteryidea, one that I’m working on in my head but won’t tell you here, and the third is some flash fiction. Maybe a few sentences, maybe less, but complete stories in as few words as possible.

So, with that, choose! And choose wisely!

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