|Courtesy of http://www.myquotesclub.com/|
Then there's Liz Carpenter, former press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson, who shared a bit of wisdom with me twenty-some years ago that I have never forgotten, "Never say 'no' to an opportunity. You can always backtrack from 'yes' but you can never get the 'no' back."
There are so many more writers that have influenced me, but, again, not enough room to list them all, so I will just mention one more by name, Erma Bombeck. I never had the pleasure of meeting her, but I took her writing classes via tapes and sending material back and forth using the postal system. (We didn't have the Internet then, but at least it wasn't Pony Express.)
What Erma taught me about humor writing helped when I started my column for the Plano Star Courier; It's Not All Gravy was patterned after Erma's long-running column about the foibles of family life. The main thing I remember from her course was utilizing the twist on the punchline. You send the reader in one direction with what you write, then give him or her something unexpected. I didn't know there was a name for doing that with a figure of speech, but there is. Erma never told us, but maybe that was because she couldn't pronounce "paraprosdokians" - figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and is frequently humorous.
Another writer/artist friend, Georgia Lange Moore, sent me the following paraprosdokians, so I thought we could enjoy them here:
1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.
2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you ... but it's still on my list.
3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
5. We never really grow up -- we only learn how to act in public!
6. War does not determine who is right, only who is left.
7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
9. I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.
10. In filling out an application, where it says, "In case of emergency, notify..." I answered "a doctor."
11. I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.
12. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
13. You're never too old to learn something stupid.
14. I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find one.
Dorothy Parker: “If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.”
Winston Churchill: “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they have tried everything else”
Albert Einstein: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
Mario Andretti: “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
Zsa Zsa Gábor: “He taught me housekeeping; when I divorce I keep the house.”
Which of the paraprosdokians did you relate to? Number 14 resonated with me. Want to try your hand at creating one? Please do.
|Posted by Maryann Miller - novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent mystery, Doubletake, was named the 2015 Best Mystery by the Texas Association of Authors. She has a number of other books published, including the critically-acclaimed Season Series that debuted with Open Season. Information about her books and her editing rates is available on her website. When not writing, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas.|