Thursday, March 11, 2010

Here to Cheer You Up - Cornelia Read

Cornelia Read went to kindergarten in New York, California, and Hawaii--all in the same year. She still wants to live in all three simultaneously, but currently finds herself in New Hampshire, which still comes as rather a surprise every morning. Her husband used to refer to her as "the lightning rod for entropy in the universe." She now refers to him as "my first husband."

Her third novel INVISIBLE BOY is due out from Hachette/Grand Central Publishing on March 30th. If there's anything else you would like to know, please check out her website at

Here to Cheer You Up

If you ever get to the point with writing where you feel that, as James Joyce once said, "writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives," here are some jokes to cheer you up:


A visitor to a certain college paused to admire the new Hemingway Hall that had been built on campus.

    "It's a pleasure to see a building named for Ernest Hemingway," he said.
    "Actually," said his guide, "it's named for Joshua Hemingway. No relation."
    The visitor was astonished. "Was Joshua Hemingway a writer, also?"
    "Yes, indeed," said his guide. "He wrote a check." 


Do you know the difference between God and an editor?
God doesn't think he's an editor.


I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?"
She answered, "If I tell you, it will defeat the purpose." 


A writer died and was given the choice of going to heaven or hell.
She decided to check out her options before deciding. The writer descended into the fiery pits, where row upon row of writers were chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they typed, they were whipped with thorny lashes.
"This sucks," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."
She ascended into heaven only to discover rows of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.
"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"
"Not quite," replied an unseen voice. "Up here you get published."


 Q. What's the difference between publishers and terrorists?
   A. You can negotiate with terrorists.


Once upon a time, a young boy professed his desire to become a great writer.
When asked to define great, he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"

Now he works for Microsoft.


How many science fiction writers does it take to change a light bulb?
Two, but it's actually the same person. He went back in time and met himself in the doorway and then climbed onto his alter-ego's shoulders so that they could reach the ceiling fixture. Then a major time paradox occurred and the entire room, light bulb, and both guys were blown out of existence. They continued to co-exist in a parallel universe, however.


How many publishers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Three. One to screw it in. Two to hold down the author.


How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
One. But she has to stop when she's screwed it almost all the way in, then give it a surprising twist at the end.

Broken lightbulb

How many blurb writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?


How many screenwriters does it take to change a light bulb?
1st draft. Hero changes light bulb.
2nd draft. Villain changes light bulb.
3rd draft. Hero stops villain from changing light bulb. Villain falls to death.
4th draft. Lose the light bulb.
5th draft. Light bulb back in. Fluorescent instead of tungsten.
6th draft. Villain breaks bulb, uses it to kill hero's mentor.
7th draft. Fluorescent not working. Back to tungsten.
8th draft. Hero forces villain to eat light bulb.
9th draft. Hero laments loss of light bulb. Doesn't change it.
10th draft. Hero changes light bulb.


Q: How many copy editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: I can't tell whether you mean 'change a light bulb' or 'have sex in a light bulb.' Can we reword it to remove the ambiguity?


Q: How many editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one. But first they have to rewire the entire building.


Q: How many art directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Does it HAVE to be a light bulb?


Q: How many copy editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: The last time this question was asked, it involved art directors. Is the difference intentional? Should one or the other instance be changed? It seems inconsistent.


Q: How many marketing directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: It isn't too late to make this neon instead, is it?


Q: How many proofreaders does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Proofreaders aren't supposed to change light bulbs. They should just query them.


Q: How many booksellers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one, and they'll be glad to do it too, except no one shipped them any.


Three guys are sitting at a bar.
#1: "...Yeah, I make $75,000 a year after taxes."
#2: "What do you do for a living?"
#1: "I'm a stockbroker. How much do you make?
#2: "I should clear $60,000 this year."
#1: "What do you do?"
#2: "I'm an architect."
The third guy has been sitting there quietly, staring into his beer, when the others turn to him.
#2: "Hey, how much do you make per year?"
#3: "Gee... hmmm... I guess about $13,000."
#1: "Oh yeah? What kind of novels do you write?"


A male romance novelist was hiking in the mountains, and he came upon a shepherd who was tending a large herd of sheep that were grazing in the alpine meadow. The writer took a fancy to the sheep, and asked the shepherd: "If I can guess how many sheep you have, can I have one?"
The shepherd thought this was an odd request, but thought that there was little chance that the man would guess the exact number of sheep, so he said "Sure."
The writer guessed "You have 287 sheep," to the shepherd's astonishment, since this was exactly how many sheep he had.
The writer got excited and asked "Can I pick out my sheep now?" and the shepherd grudgingly gave his permission. The writer selected his sheep, bent over, and swung the sheep over his shoulders, to carry home with him.
The shepherd then asked "If I guess what your occupation is, can I have my sheep back?" The novelist was a
bit surprised by this, but figured that it was unlikely that the shepherd would be able to guess his occupation, and went along with the deal. The shepherd then guessed "You're a romance novelist, aren't you?"
The writer was very surprised and asked, "How did you know?"
The shepherd responded, "Put the dog down and we'll talk about it."


Q: How can you tell if a blonde writes mysteries?
A: She has a checkbook.


And speaking of Microsoft...

Got any more jokes? I could use a few....



Mason Canyon said...

Thanks for the laughs this morning. A nice way to start my day.

Cornelia Read said...

Thanks, Mason!

Julia Buckley said...

Hahaha. I did need this post this morning--what a fun selection of writerly humor.

I would add a few more to that screenwriting list, including the dilemma of screwing in a light bulb post-apocalypse and, of course, somehow incorporating a vampire into the whole light-bulb process (despite the vampire's hatred of light--maybe a black light?)


Vicki Lane said...

These are great! Thanks for brightening a dreary day. I especially love the copy editor's queries.

jenny milchman said...

Two of my faves together at once! Cornelia Read and M&M! Thanks for the laughs. I think some of them I will only really get once/if I am published aka not in hell. Still, I'm still laughing, and also can't wait for your new book--

Shirley Wetzel said...

Hi Cornelia,

You are TOO funny! Thanks, after just attending a meeting where we heard yet more people are getting canned, I needed the laughs. When are you coming back to Texas? The bluebonnets should be spreading across the fields pretty soon, and Arlo's doing a show on March 23. Come on down!

L.J. Sellers said...

This post made my day!

le0pard13 said...

That was funny. I want to back and re-read some of these again. Thanks for the fun post.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!!

Cornelia - as always - you are a tonic for the soul. Thanks for being here!