by Logan Gruber
“I want to bring more laughter and play to families,” Linda Hutchinson said last Friday afternoon at the Newsleader office in St. Joseph.
Hutchinson, who lived in St. Joseph from 2002-12, and previously attended the College of St. Benedict, penned Laugh Yourself Happy: Kids Say Delightful Things, which was released on Dec. 4.
Laugh Yourself Happy is a collection of one-liners, short stories and fun quotes. Hutchinson says she gathered some of the material, but some of it also comes from her own ‘humor heritage.’ She is passionate about people identifying their own humor heritage, described as: the myths and messages in a life which encourage or discourage humor development.
“Remember the stories from when you were young,” Hutchinson said, encouraging others to discover their humor heritage.
In her new book, Hutchinson says she got into the humor business way back in the fourth grade.
“As I recall,” Hutchinson wrote, “during the fourth grade, the sharing and telling time was particularly good. It was so good, I took the stories home and shared them with my family around the supper table. It was a great source of positive attention. I continue to strive for positive attention through humor.”
Hutchinson said she received a lot of inspiration while at CSB. A program called ‘Studium,’ which begun in 1992, provides a space for those who apply to live and work in a relatively distraction-free environment, for anywhere from one week to as long as four months. Hutchinson took advantage of this program with another project she was working on, and the influence of some of the nuns carried through into her future works.
Hutchinson has written two books previously.
“Two that count,” she said.
In Laugh Yourself Happy, Hutchinson divided the book up into multiple sections. While some of the other sections explore humor heritage, Hutchinson’s own family stories and unique ideas, three chapters contain most of the one-liners: Happy Beginnings; Happy Interludes; and, Happy Endings. Here are a few excerpts.
Happy Beginnings – “Teacher: ‘Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn’t have 10 years ago.’ Winnie: ‘Me!'” – giraffian.com
Happy Interludes – “A young couple, Mark and Sherry, with their 2-year-old son attended Sunday service. They all went up together for communion. Mark and Sherry each received communion. While walking back, their son asked, ‘Where is my snack?'” – Kathy Welle
Happy Endings – “At my grandmother’s funeral, my antsy 3-year-old niece was sitting on my lap. At a quiet time during the services, she loudly whispered, ‘When is she gonna get out of the box?'” – Denise Gagner
“People have been wonderful,” Hutchinson said of the St. Joseph community.
She said she has been in contact with the St. Joseph Action Group, and multiple local businesses will carry the book on their shelves: the bookstores at CSB and SJU; the St. Joseph Meat Market; Liquid Assets in Sartell; and, the St. Cloud Bookshop in downtown St. Cloud. She is also working on getting the book on Amazon, and available as an eBook. Laugh Yourself Happy can also be purchased through Hutchinson’s website, haha-team.com.
Hutchinson also had the chance to sign her book at a few places last weekend, including the Local Blend. There, an SJU senior, Ben Hutterer, and a CSB senior, Katie Tillman, chatted with Hutchinson, and paged through the book.
“This is the story of my life,” Tillman said.
Both seniors were happy to take a little time off from studying for finals to speak with Hutchinson.
“I want to believe if people see [the book], they’ll want to give it as a gift,” Hutchinson said.