Humor makes the world go round. It certainly makes people turn a book's pages. As I started writing fiction, I found that my natural sense of humor was missing from my writing, but now that I am more relaxed and confident in fiction, I'm able to be funny in a story.
In considering this, I've been thinking a lot about the nature of humor. It's a widely drawn conclusion that everything one might consider funny has an element of surprise. Whether it's a clever twist of phrase in satire, a pratfall, a fart joke, or a silly costume, we laugh as a reaction to the unexpected.
But there's another side of humor which I believe is just as important: strength. Humor is a nutrient for the human spirit, and we seek it out and take comfort in it. Humor galvanizes us and lets us face the unbearable in life, and nothing can stamp it out. The Russian poet Evgeny Yevtushenko (pictured) wrote about this in his poem "Babi Yar:"
They wanted to kill humor, but humor thumbed his nose.