Why Do They Laugh?

This is the best part of writing, staring at the blank page and no words coming out, especially if I want to be funny. I think being funny is my niche, whatever niche means. I never try, but an hour can’t pass without someone laughing at something I said, and I always ask myself “What’s the matter with that crazy head? Did I say something funny?”

Only that I’m beginning to distrust my comic powers. I think they have grown so much that complete strangers giggle when they see me. Maybe I should clarify that it is complete, strange girls. Strange not in that they have two heads or extremely long necks, or three breasts instead of two (wow, it might be great to have a girl with three breasts so you can’t fail to get what to suckle when the baby is busy with the other two) but strange in that these are girls I’ve never seen before and the moment they see me, I hear them giggle.

I’m in Nepal, in a small town called Dhangadi in the far west. I’m probably the only black person these people I’ve ever seen. Even as I write this, I can still hear their deep sighs on seeing me, they do not hide their utter astonishment, their mouths form into ‘o’s and they let out deep breaths while making a certain ‘oooooh’ sound that tells me they are seeing a Martian. And immediately following this, they giggle, or laugh out loud. Only girls and women do this. The men simply stare as though I was a monkey who started talking (one girl calls me Monkey, and I think if I was from Harlem I might have been very offended, but I hope to be her boyfriend one day so I smile whenever she says this)

At first I thought they laugh because they peeked into my soul and saw the comic muse, you know the way you see a clown and laugh, but I’ve come to believe they giggle because of something else. I’m much taller than anything they have ever seen, and so much darker. One Nepali man, a workmate who I asked, said they probably think I have a really long member :)) They’ll be very disappointed when they find out mine is only an inch long – so disproportionate to my height that I’ve wanted to commit suicide over it :((

Well, I started out as a horror writer, and for many years I believed that was my niche. Then one day I wrote this screenplay that I thought would be the next The Ring, or maybe The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but the people I gave it to read told me, ‘Oh no Dilman. This is not a horror. This is a romantic comedy.’

I almost gave up writing. Why would they refer to my script, with all its blood and gore and demons as a romantic comedy? Perverts! But that is probably the time that it started to dawn on me that I’m wasting time chasing dark dreams.

And I switched niches.

I wish I could also switch fate and turn myself into a peasant, or a teacher, or have some other regular job rather than this curse that makes me want to write and like that guy in Steven King’s Misery, I just can’t stop writing or else the pig will eat me up 🙁

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Dilman Dila’s bio

Dilman Dila is a Ugandan writer and film maker. In 2013, he was shortlisted for the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize  and long listed for the Short Story Day Africa prize. He was nominated for the 2008 Million Writers Awards for his short story, Homecoming. He first appeared in print in The Sunday Vision in 2001. His works have since featured in several e-zines and anthologies including the African Roar 2013. His most recent works is the novelette, The Terminal Move, and the romance novella, Cranes Crest at Sunset, which are available on Amazon. His films include the masterpiece, What Happened in Room 13(2007), and the narrative feature, The Felistas Fable (2013). More of his life and works is available at his website http://www.dilmandila.com.
To read his short fiction, please visit http://www.dilmandila.com/fiction.html
To watch his films, please visit http://www.dilmandila.com/films.htm
Thanks for visiting!
updated 27/10/2013