The great humorist Erma Bombeck observed, “When humor goes, there goes civilization.”
Allia Zobel Nolan took that advice to heart and reached out to women humorists for their best funny coming-of-age essays for Laugh Out Loud: 40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now…Before We Forget.
Published in association with the University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop for release during its 10th anniversary workshop, the anthology will be available on Amazon for $14.99 in April. The book is in production, and a firm release date has not been set.
Betsy Bombeck says her mother would have loved Laugh Out Loud, calling it “the kind of collection that honors her sense of the ridiculous and shines a brilliant spotlight on the inane. The stories in this book reflect a philosophy she always believed: ‘If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.’”
Zobel Nolan describes the anthology as “a record of when we were young and when we were old,” reflecting a storehouse of hilarious memories.
“I wrote down my experiences in the past lane, and solicited help from some pretty funny ladies, writers who’ve been there and done that, who graciously offered to share stories about their first kiss, their fixation with disco dancing, their tanning machine fiascos, the stigma of wearing patent-leather shoes, and the fact that they once believed in flower power, making love not war, and being suspicious of anyone over 30,” said Zobel Nolan, a former senior editor at Reader’s Digest Children’s Publishing, who now writes titles “from the Divine to the feline” from her office home in Connecticut.
Fast forward to today, a time when some of the essayists have traded mood rings for menopause. “More funny ladies came forth to share episodes like an ex-husband’s cremation ceremony, a ‘You-don’t- look-anything- like-you-do-on-the-singles’-site’ dating experience, the art of surviving a millennium office, the battle of the bulge, and more,” she said.
The book is one of two new initiatives launched by the workshop this year. More than 400 writers competed for two writer’s residencies through A Hotel Room of One’s Own: The Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program.
“It’s our mission to encourage and support writers,” said Teri Rizvi, founder and director of the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. “This book provides a creative avenue for some very funny, gifted writers.”