​​​​Because humor is funnier when you know it's true.

Even ice cream has nutritional value

I have a writing friend who, in addition to other things, is obviously highly intelligent and insightful.  She mentioned, at the last collective of writers[1] that she was working on a romance book.  She said this with her head hung, obviously embarrassed by her non-lofty choice of topics. 

This led to a vigorous discussion about why she shouldn’t have to qualify her choice of topics.  It boiled down to this:  candy, even mind-candy has its appropriate and necessary place in the world.  There’s a reason why every North American grocery store[2] has an entire aisle devoted to candy.  Even most drug stores do.   As a society, we love sweet treats.

I mean, I love Brussels Sprouts, too.  I’ve even been known to order them in restaurants and pay my hard-earned money for them on purpose.  But the last thing I’m going to do when I want dessert is to ask if that cake comes in Brussels Sprout flavor.  Absolutely not.  I think it was Neil Gaiman[3] who said that it was foolish to look for meaning in all his books.  He said something like, “Sometimes what you want is just a good ice cream.” 

So yeah.  My friend is writing a good proverbial ice cream.  Not that flavorless ice-milk nonsense, a good ice cream, because if you’re going to have the calories, they might as well be good.

Let’s go a step further.  Most people, I think, are aware of Jane Austen, who wrote her novels and published them in the early 1800’s.  Her books are widely considered brilliant commentary on society and the human condition.  But look at the plots.  Oh, the will-they-or-won’t-they of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet!  The matchmaking of Emma Woodhouse, so attendant to everyone else’s love life that she doesn’t see love staring her in her own face!  Her books constitute the spine of all the Harlequin tropes. 

Because love and romance drive human behavior.  We structure our family lives around whom we’ve married – and divorced – and all of that comes from years of trial and error in dating to find the right person.  The very survival of our species involves the act of making love. 

Reading fiction – I’d argue any kind of fiction[4] – increases your empathy.[5]  You get to see life from the perspective of all kinds of people you wouldn’t otherwise get to meet.  Romance, which always includes some kind of misunderstanding and resolution, can help us understand how other people think and how we shouldn’t make assumptions.

I mean, even ice cream has protein and calcium in it.   You can find nutrition in the strangest places. 

-Lori B. Duff

Lori B. Duff is the President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.  In addition to her award-winning blog, she is the author of collections of humor essays, which can be found by clicking here:  Amazon.com.  Her novella, "Broken Things," released in September 2023 can be found by clicking here: Broken Things a book by Lori B. Duff (bookshop.org).  Her novel, "True North", will be released on August 27, 2024 by She Writes Press.  She lives in Loganville, Georgia, with her husband, rescue dog, and the carpet stains left behind by her adult children.  If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori on Twitter or on Facebook or read her award winning books

[1] I wonder what the group name for writers is. A pencil case of writers?  A book of writers?   I mean, since writers come up with these names, I’d expect it to be as attention-grabbing as a murder of crows or an eloquence of lawyers.  (I would have thought it would be a shark tank of lawyers, but it isn’t.  I just looked it up.)  50 Collective Nouns to Bolster Your Vocabulary | Mental Floss

[2] At least, everyone I’ve been to.  I don’t know how you’d research that fact.

[3] One of my all-time favorite authors.

[4] Insert rant about book-banning here.

[5] How Reading Fiction Increases Empathy and Encourages Understanding | Discover Magazine