The Conflict of Serious Silliness

Generating Laughter by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today I’m looking at finding the silliness in seriousness and the seriousness in silliness. I’m excited for today’s study, because I take my silliness very seriously, or is it that I find my seriousness very silly?

definition: silliness n. the quality of lacking good sense; foolishness 2. absurdity, ridiculousness, or irrationality 3. clownish, whimsical, or exaggerated humor and playfulness; unrestrained high spirits

Interesting how the first two definitions appear to be negative, deficits, lacking, but the third includes whimsical and playful which are positive and “Unrestrained high spirits” sounds great. The more I study these abstract nouns, the more they also appear to be Janus words; which adds another dimension to this study. It makes sense to create one image for contradictory abstract nouns if each one actually contradicts itself.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a conflict poem.

A Seriously Silly Conflict

What are you doing sitting in the mud? You look like a fool who lost a one man tug-of-war. I’ll find some rope and hold one end. I’m offering an out. You don’t have to thank me friend. Take it. I’m serious. And don’t let it tangle. I’m not trying to interfere with whatever you’re doing here, but don’t run against the tide just keep up the appearance of having some sense.

What are you doing there avoiding this mud? It’s cool and fun and perfect for play. I can’t think of a better way to spend the day. It squishes through my fingers. I can shape it like clay. It inspires happy thoughts of all manner of shapes. And it makes funny sounds that make me bubble with giggles, and fills my body with energy of squirmies and wiggles.

Don’t be absurd. You look ridiculous. The mud’s not for us, it’s for worms, or should have grunting pigs in it.  Here take the rope, and I’ll pull you out. Before you get a parasite or grow a snout.

I’ll take that rope, but I’ll pull you in. I don’t want to lock horns, but I think it’s important for you to relax. It’s not good for your health to view the world with that stress and that weight. Come play with me, play with me, play in the mud. 

Just take the rope. Give it a tug.


Today I may pass 70,000 words in my draft. It’s a good time to be ramping up the conflict. I think I’ll start my writing session by listing my planned conflicts, then brainstorming five to ten ways of making them worse, and more surprising.