“We all live in the same place, the mind,” says Mel Robbins. This is the reason why I feel so at home when I read letters, diaries, and memoirs.
Reading about other people’s struggles, their hopes, their fears, and their achievements gives me hope, inspiration, and motivation to overcome my problems.
Their experiences empower me. I feel braver. I become more resolute than ever.
When I’m lucky, I learn not only how people face their struggles, but how they face their struggles with a sense of humor.
A few months ago, I read Flannery O’Connor’s letters, and I learned how she kept a sense of humor throughout her life. Flannery is a 20th-century American writer who wrote novels, essays, and short stories.
During the time span of these letters, Flannery has health issues to deal with, she’s stressed because she’s waiting to find out which publisher will publish her book, she’s receiving positive and negative feedback on her manuscript, and she worries about being tight on money.
Even though you get this sense that the struggle is real for her, her sense of humor radiates in her writing. She knows how and when to be funny.
Today, I’d like to share a couple passages in her letters that made me smile.
“I have just discovered that my mother’s dairyman calls all the cows he: he ain’t give but two gallons, he ain’t come in yet,–also he changes the name endings: if its Maxine, he calls it Maxima. I reckon he doesn’t like to feel surrounded by females or something.”from Letters 1951
“I had to go have my picture taken for the purposes of Harcourt Brace. They were all bad. (The pictures.) The one I sent looked as if I had just bitten my grandmother and that this was one of my few pleasures, but all the rest were worse.”from Letters 1952
Flannery’s writing shows her ability to find humor in every-day situations. Humor becomes a form of hope. She seems to tell readers: yes, the struggle is real, but it’s our choice to keep or find our sense of humor.