Bonnie S. Calhoun 

Bonnie S. Calhoun is the Founder and Publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine . She is also the Owner and Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance which is the parent organization for the magazine.

In addition to her passion for spreading the word about Christian fiction, Bonnie is also an aspiring author of action/adventure thrillers. She is represented by Terry Burns at Hartline Literary.

Introducing Rene Gutteridge

This month I'd like to introduce you to Rene Gutteridge. Her talent, as an author, is laughter! Rene, the stage is all yours!

Rene GutteridgeI figured when I started writing comedy, it would be a bad idea. I mean, nothing can crash quite as badly and with as many fiery explosions as comedy. If people don’t like it, they don’t just set the book down and move on. It’s like they’ve been personally insulted and their sites are set on whoever came up with all that stupidity that they’ve had to wade through.

But I did it anyway because I’ve never had a whole lot of common sense when it came to writing. To my surprise, people liked it. Not only did they like it, but they wanted more!

Until I started writing comedy, I didn’t understand how much I needed it. Seeking out comedy was sort of a subconscious act of therapy that I couldn’t fully explain. I knew I liked the show Frasier, but I couldn’t understand why I needed it and why it was so important for me to watch Niles stumble through romance and Frasier to be misunderstood and their father to watch it all, fully perplexed by the two people he loved most in the world.

I hear from readers all the time who are so thankful to have laughed out loud, some of whom admit it has been a long time since that has happened. And as strange as it sounds, I believe it is no coincidence that I happen to always be in the middle of a comedy project when my life begins unraveling into one crisis after another.

It is often only through sadness that we discover the nature by which we struggle to survive, and the small, nearly invisible things we do to try to keep our heads above water in this nasty pool of unending trouble.

It is indeed the mirror of comedy that allows us to laugh at ourselves, accept our foibles, and often times understand our vast weaknesses in a way that nobody else could explain.

Sure, drama has its tears and suspense has its heart-stopping scenes, but comedy has guts. What other genre sticks a finger to your chest, laughs at you, and then asks if we can be friends?

We need comedy not only to keep us humble, but also to keep us enlightened. My favorite journalistic writer, Joel Stein, can pick any topic to write about, and after reading his articles, I’ve somehow seen myself. After all, I can’t really laugh unless I secretly know that I’m one half-step away from being the very freak that I’m laughing at.

What makes Michael Scott from the hit TV show The Office so intriguing is that we can see ourselves in this guy. Yeah, maybe we’ve never said what he’s said, but we’ve thought it. That guy’s like a bad traffic accident that you can’t help staring at as you drive by. You think, Wow, a few more seconds and that could’ve been me.

And that’s how comedy, if it ever can find itself humble, serves the greater good. It’s like a warning sign wrapped up with punchy lines, irony, satire, and lots of well-intentioned exaggeration. Sometimes when I write a particularly painful scene, I think to myself that really, I could go either way here...either cry or laugh. And that’s where comedy strikes at the heart the best. It hits you hard, but then it elbows you in the ribs and tells you not to be so hard on yourself, that you’re not the weirdest person who ever lived.

Comedy in literature is often seen as the crazy uncle that is “accidentally” left out of all the holiday pictures. But come on, without him, holidays wouldn’t be nearly as fun. There’d be no stories to tell year after year. And though nobody will admit it, everyone analyzes the guy to see what exactly went wrong with him so we don’t make the same mistake.

I believe comedy is rich with insight that is hard to match elsewhere. Comedy is brilliant because it is reflective: it is turned on us so that we learn about ourselves, but we’re not devastated by what we know to be awful and true. Through comedy, we can, in fact, look ourselves in the eye, nod in agreement, and find a healthy way to tackle what needs to be adjusted in our lives—all the while having a heck of a good time. It’s like the buzz of alcohol without the fear of liver damage.

And comedy can make its mark in any genre. Who isn’t thankful for a small bit of laughter in the midst of a hardcore, gut-wrenching tale? I’ll never forget watching The Passion of the Christ. The intensity of the motion picture left me gripping the arm rests of the chair and wishing I’d gone to see something featuring Ben Stiller. Then came the scene where Jesus is making a table with legs and chairs. His mother gives him an odd look and Jesus muses that he might be ahead of his time. That single scene probably kept me from passing out from holding my breath.

So laugh, dear readers! Scoff at those who believe there is hardly a Christian to be found with any sort of sense of humor. Because here’s the secret we all know . . . it is only by the grace of God that we’re able to do anything of significance. Left to our own devices and, well, we’re a comedy waiting to be written.