(Actually four hours and 42 minutes, but who’s keeping track?)
Writers are flocking to Dayton from 41 states, three provinces in Canada, and Madrid (yes, the one in Spain). We have big contingents from Ohio and California. Nearly half — 167 registrants — are first timers. Five are mother-daughter duos.
If you’d like to add your name to our wait list, click here. The workshop runs April 5-7 at the University of Dayton.
Several writers likened the opening of registration for the workshop to standing in line for concert tickets. “Anyone remember back in the day when you would camp out overnight outside the mall waiting for concert tickets to go on sale? That feeling of we are willing to do whatever it takes, and we are all in this together?’ That is what this feels like. Good luck, fellow Ermites. I’ll meet you in the front row,” wrote Lisa Packer of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Others described their elation after receiving confirmation: “I’m feeling like that kid in first grade who’s wound up and can’t sit in his seat and can’t hold his pencil because he’s so tense with excitement, so he’s poking his desk mate and singing songs and bouncing in his chair, and the teacher is all, ‘Jimmy, if you don’t settle down you’re going to the principal’s office,’ when in reality Jimmy is just happier than he’s been in a while and doesn’t know what to do with all of the emotion coursing through his veins. Yeah, that’s what Erma registration day feels like,” said Joanne Brokaw of East Rochester, New York, who developed a “happiness overdose headache.”
Lela Davidson, of Rogers, Ohio, expressed her joy in two words: “In. Bam.”
One writer humorously detailed her pre-registration preparation: “For weeks beforehand, I did hand and finger calisthenics ensuring that my digits were as nimble and fast as can be. Then, I went online and ordered a bunch of things I didn’t need to test how fast I could put in an order for “stuff.” The day of registration, I got up early, did my hand exercises for two hours, ate plenty of protein, set up my computer to open on humorwriters.org, set up three back-up computers, just in case, closed the cats out of my office, (despite the mewing and scratching at the door), took the phone off the hook, and prayed. One minute to registration, I was poised and at the ready. I was fortunate enough to get straight in on the first try, but because I have a double last name, had trouble. So I did the only thing I could, I deleted my husband’s name and went with my maiden name. It worked. I exhaled YUGELY after I got my confirmation, let the cats back in, and ordered a pizza,” said Allia Zobel Nolan of Norwalk, Connecticut.
Ann Morrow, of Custer, South Dakota, shared her game plan, too: “I marked it on my calendar. Told Siri to remind. Set the timer on the stove. Had my credit card ready and my hands poised over the keyboard like a NASA launch conductor waiting to send the shuttle into orbit. Other than that, I didn’t stress out about it at all.”
Two writers registered despite adversity. “With power down here for hundreds of miles due to nearby fires, I caught a momentary wink of electricity, allowing my registration to go thru, and got in! See you in April!” tweeted Margaux Hession, of Santa Barbara, California, one of the 10 finalists for the inaugural A Hotel Room of One’s Own: The Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program.
First-time attendee Julie Burton, of Overland Park, Kansas, registered on her smart phone “completely nude and feet still comfortably in stirrups” because she booked her annual pap smear at the exact time registration opened. “I’m finally going to meet some of the best humor writers in the world. I’m going to learn from them and laugh with them,” she wrote after landing a spot.
Christy Heitger-Ewing, of Avon, Indiana, noted one of the hallmarks of the workshop, its supportive atmosphere. “I think it’s beyond awesome how we all freak out about getting registered but even after registering cannot rest easy until we know all our friends got in, too. It’s like being on the Titanic and making sure our loved ones are in a lifeboat!” she posted on Facebook.
Welcome to the 2018 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.
— Teri Rizvi
Teri Rizvi is the founder and director of the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. By day, she works as the executive director of strategic communications at the University of Dayton.