Hey. Welcome. Hang 10 while I share a true story:
Women Write Funny was founded when my career went up in flames in April 2020 thanks to COVID-19.
I’m a playwright-director www.didiballe.com (creator of “Symphonic Plays”) and had begun staging the premiere of my symphonic play "MAURICE RAVEL: A Musical Journey from Paris to Tangier" with renowned French conductor Stéphane Deneve, Principal Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Hall for May 2020. Along with Maestro Deneve and the SLSO musicians, RAVEL featured world-class pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Conor and Broadway actor Scott Lowell as Maurice Ravel.
But the curtain fell before it was raised:
My show was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Background: I’ve received 11 commissions as a playwright-director by major symphony orchestras over the past 13 years to create/write/direct my Symphonic Plays (symphonicplays.com). I’ve since written/directed fifteen (15) original full-length concert shows, premiered to success (didiball.com/press). A new genre I invented and loved took glorious flight until COVID-19 forced a crash-landing.
Foiled by a pandemic.
I had to laugh.
My demise was pure vaudeville: My livelihood and raison d’être fell thru a trap door as I traipsed across the stage ... spiraling into a black hole.
Depression, lethargy and denial stalked me for days, ok more like a month, until a small voice rose from within demanding I open the window and scream:
“F**k you COVID-19! You sabotaged my profession, stole my livelihood but no way you're going to rob me of my sense of humor! You may change the world for the worse but I’m gonna tell the story for the better by making people laugh you coronavirus POS but hey thanks for the clarity!”
To Do List: Re-invent career Tuesday latest.
Insane Plan: Rethink/strategize how to transition my Symphonic Plays into streaming/vid/film. I quickly realized my plan requires serious time and mega bucks and I needed something I can do/write NOW.
Something free and easy ... irreverent, life-affirming and badass ... like that ebullient shapeshifting thing that’s grabbed me by the scruff and yanked me out of many a dark hole throughout my life: A sense of humor.
My focus as of May 2020 is writing funny thoughtful dark and joyful stuff that might make other folks in free-fall laugh/grin/smirk/snort or maybe even guffaw. I’m now writing blogs dedicated to keeping humor alive in dire times.
But something was missing: community. I want to write funny and I want to create and be a part of a vibrant community of other women who write/act/direct funny. We'll meet virtually for as long as needed: sharing work and e-toasting to creativity, resilience and humor.
So that’s how Women Write Funny came to be.
Coincidentally while all this was happening I’ve been secretly writing my first non-fiction humor book:
The Lazy Ass Host Handbook
A Sensible Guide to Entertaining in Style
It’s a work in progress and I’ll be posting excerpts and sharing the journey (WTF Is a Writer's Life?) .
In the near future I’ll be inviting Women Write Funny guest bloggers to post on my site. And when that’s underway look for Women Write Funny podcast this summer.
Humor is where I’d began my professional life as writer and am now coming full circle. (that’s another blog).
Let us know what you’re thinking:
Do you create/write/perform humor?
How do you keep your sense of humor alive?
Has your sense of humor/wit/snark/ irony changed because of the pandemic? How?
Share your comments below. Join the community of Women Write Funny.
Upcoming Blog Posts: Excerpts from the Lazy Ass Host Handbook by Didi Balle.