Sunday, April 10, 2016

An Ode To The EBWW...2016 Version

*****Author's note: This is my version of EBWW '16 and it's a really long post. I've tried to include as many as I could in this and my previous post. I hope you'll read through clear to the end. I saved the last word for Erma and she says it best. Enjoy!


For two years I waited to be with my tribe once again,
My registration, plagued with troubles, was outsourced to Sister's best friend.
Not again, she said, what's the problem this time?
The power is out, so get off the line

I tell ya, I feel it, a sell out it'll be
Six hours later, the whole world could see
That the word was out about our Erma club
No tickets remained, not even on Stubhub

Soon it was the new year and new people dropped in,
Worrying and wandering, starting a new trend.
What to wear, what to bring, should I have my nails done?
Stop fretting, we said, we're here to have fun

No one cares what you look like,
Or if you're gonna walk, or take a bike
The new venue is close, the shuttle runs all day,
Please stop stressing, it's gonna be okay

Soon it was March with Dayton on our mind
Chilly and windy, north of the sweet tea line
A few days with family, the nieces and friends
Finally, it's Wednesday, March 30, time to check in

This time was different, the third time's a charm
I'm staying at the Marriott and not the family farm
Too much I've missed, in the room, halls and bar
I might have a drink since I won't drive my car

I rolled right up to the hotel's front door
My eyes popped wide and my heart hit the floor
Sitting out front was our own Gina B
Bout time you got here, wanna have lunch with me?

My stuff's right here, so go check in
Don't look so surprised, the fun's about to begin
Meet you back here, I'm starving, let's meet
I know of a place, it's off campus, just up the street

A wonderful lunch, the time flew by,
We'd better get going, I think you know why
It's off to the library where I'm the emcee
I must go prepare, they'll be looking at me

The contest winners and Betsy Bombeck, too
My family is coming, they want to meet you
Thanks, doll, my pleasure, the week's just begun
Don't know about you, but I'm here to have fun

Six trips later, my car now unpacked
I wondered aloud, did I need this much stuff?
My cooler was filled, the Diet Coke on ice
Why yes, I agreed, 3 bucks for a coke, not at that price

At the library to celebrate the contest winners
Wonderful essays read aloud by those that entered
Entered the contest, their words shared with us
Waffle irons, plumbers, shape shifters and tattoos

A drive by wave, to Betsy I gave
Sister and friend watching, I tried not misbehave
Four years ago I waited in line
Only to be told we're out of her books at this time

Not this time, so I snapped up two
Elizabeth, my friend, I have one for you
From our friend Gina, a shared name Rose
Her stories live on, inside of my prose

It's back to the hotel to wrap this night up
A phone call I placed, looking for friends
We're drinking, I'm told, you wanna come up?
Certainly, I did, I didn't want it to end

The time had flown and we're only one day in
Where could I go to find more of my friends?
A trip in the elevator down to my floor
Come to the bar, don't go through your door

More people to greet, new ones to see
I'm looking for Cathryn and Judy C
Right there they sat eating at the bar
I've admired you both, mostly from afar

Conversations on life and living in the south
I couldn't stop talking once I opened my mouth
California's a place, I've yet to see
You'll love it you said, take it from me

Back to my room trying to wind down
I hoped to sleep in cause no cats were around
An ear piercing alarm at three am
A tornado watch issued, good grief, I'm wide awake again

Checking my phone I was glad to see
The alert for Atlanta and not for me
I closed my eyes and settled back down
Sleep was illusive nowhere to be found

The light back on, it was 4:15
To work on my pitch, since I couldn't find my dreams
The words were coming, I couldn't shut them down
I posted on FB, anyone around?

It's 7 am and I'm down to the lobby
Fresh coffee, new friends and Mary Lovstad
She was the first to join, but wasn't the last
An hour later, it's packed, we're having a blast

Off to breakfast we kept pulling up chairs
Too many to count, we were everywhere
I said my goodbyes, the pitch on my mind,
Back to my room to see if I could find

The three or four words that still wouldn't come
The walls closed in I needed some fun
Down to the lobby with laptop in tow
Looking for words, trying to catch my flow

Not much later, A Canadian named Kelly
Sat down beside me and listened again
I read it to her, but there's a problem with tense
It's a problem of mine, it makes me feel dense

A short time later more friends passed by
When down to the lobby someone caught my eye
It was Cathryn and Judy, looking for coffee
What'cha working on they said? Isn't it too early?

I threw out my pitch to the Hollywood crew
The beginning needs work, who're you pitching this too?
Kelly and I, we stared at each other
Incredible, she said, a gift like no other

Soon it was time to head in for lunch
Our crew kept growing, another large bunch
Back to the lobby, I greeted all that came in
Cabin girl, Elaine, Rose, and Jo, all my friends

Many, many others introduced to me
We know you they said, are you on the faculty?
No, I am not, but it's what I do
I'm here to greet old friends and everyone new

We all checked in and received our nametags
Dinner approaching we carried our Erma swag
Wanda, Suzanne, Kate, Leslie, Kate and Pam Sievers
Barbara, Gail, AstraJudith and my first wine spritzer

Patricia Wynn Brown our fabulous emcee
Started off the conference as we waited patiently
For the wine to be served and the chicken passed about
I kept waiting on dessert, the lemon cake I hoped, waiting to be handed out

The evening speaker was Roy Blount
I had difficulty hearing, of what he's all about
More fun and laughter and more people to meet
I excused myself I really was beat

Still it was midnight but the sleep wouldn't come
An early morning loomed, I was up with the sun.
I ordered room service cause I needed protein
Muffins and pastries aren't my friend.

Out the door I went, I boarded the 7:30 bus
Speed dating for writers, was first up for me
Tracy and her whistle keeping up with the time
And agent I met with I'd screwed up big time

I wasn't prepared, I didn't know what to expect
No time to fret it was onto the next
Cindy Ratslaff, who asked good questions
Listened to my pitch, please come to my session

Onto the next I met Katrina Little
I'm coming to your class
I need help with description
I'll see you then, Saturday at nine
Your pitch is good it really sounds fine

Alan Zweibel of Saturday Night Live fame
His class was packed everyone knew his name
Sitting in the back with Christy, Lori, Ginger and Jim
We laughed our asses off, we had no shame

Out came the cameras, selfies galore
I can't get up, as my butt hit the floor
We giggled and giggled and then laughed some more
I'm okay, but no more squatting for G.
An old softball injury, I've got two bad knees

A short break to grab a refreshing quick snack
Jim and I off to the next class and we sat in the back
Judy Carter and the Message of You
Writing exercises and a brave few

To come up to the front to tell of their mess
Amazement around when they all were finished
Shari Cooper sitting tall in her chair
I have cerebral palsy, so why do you stare

I'm a snappy dresser and have great hair
So keep on looking, I don't really care
Just cause my body looks different from yours
Doesn't mean my mind isn't better than yours

So keep on staring and looking at me
I'll be laughing, it'll be good to see
When I have your job,
You'll all be saying, the laughs on us, that darn Shari?

Time for lunch with Amy Ephron
Stories of her family but I couldn't really see
My back to the stage
I looked out at the trees

It's Friday afternoon, already half over
Off to another session
Jenny Lawson, she of The Bloggess website
Brutal honesty of problems she's faced
Anixety disorders written all over her face
It's her first conference but you did a great job
We all laughed and listened and you didn't get mobbed

Another short break and the last session of the day
It was Erma 101 with our friend Gina Barreca
If you lean in will men just look down your blouse
Had the crowd roaring, it was a packed house

Erma was insurgent, a housewife to be heard
Hundreds of papers we hung on every word
Three times a week she pumped out the columns
Her collective word count extremely large in volume

Friday was over and back to the hotel
I waited on Gina as she spoke to everyone
Jane C Rosen walked us out to her car
Hop in, she said, it isn't that far

A convertible I said, let's put the top down
It's a nice day, Gina agreed, let's take the long way around
We giggled like schoolgirls as we drove back
Signing books in the parking lot, now that is so WHACK!

Friday night dinner, a reading of Wit's End
David, Christy, Jen and her friend
Keith, Gina, Barbara and Gail
We laughed and cheered all without fail

For what we were watching now that I think back
Was our Erma's columns, it was her life
Her three children seated in the front row
Childhood recalled, the memories flowed

Another late night with dessert, wine and friends
I speak for many others, we didn't want it to end
Everywhere I went and happened to be
Hey look they yelled, it's our new friend G.

Saturday morning, our last day of fun
My body said sleep, these hours you keep
It's not something you normally do
You missed the first session, shame on you

Off to the venue, I found Erma's Selectric
A photo op for sure, before it got hectic
Minding my business recalling all the fun
Holy crap, I asked, are you Amy Dickinson?

A few moments later Gina breezed in
They greeted each other just like old friends
Newspaper columnists read all around the land
Sometimes being late makes you onhand
For once in a lifetime meetings like these
Our nighttime speaker, Leighann Lord breezed right in
Another great photo, how lucky I am

Nice shirt one said, it was my green Jimi shirt
Talk to me later, I wanted to blurt
No time for that, on to the next session, then lunch with Kathy and Cindy
Come sit with me, I'm Wendy Liebman

I know who you are as my knees started to shake
Her dessert I spied and wanted to take
For the salad and cold soup aren't favorites of mine
A Cadbury egg in my bag I was glad to find

Another session before my big chance
To share with others what I've been trying to do
Stop rocking you said, you've got this, it's you
My name finally called the nerves went away
Thank you so much for deciding to stay
The feedback was good and you taped it too
For me to have later, I really owe you

Our Saturday night special, one very funny lady
She reflected on her parents, both pushing 80
The house stood up, a standing ovation
A great way to close, we gave applause with no reservation

Next on the list was the comedy workshop
Fifteen brave souls busting our chops
Many first-timers, who did a great job
Three minutes of time, we felt we'd been robbed

I could have stayed and laughed all night
We'd got to go, some said, I've an early flight
We closed down the bar and they kicked us out
We had our own session, lounging about

In the hotel front lobby
While the bowlers came and went
Dropping rhymes with Abbe and Lela Davidson
Angela, Jim, Ginger and Jill

We rocked the mic, we were writing on the fly
And in walked another, a very drunk guy
Come join us we said, we're here just tonight
I can, he said I've got a late flight

A big thanks too the hotel staff
For putting up with us, as we made them laugh
Rapping and rhyming and expressing ourselves
We were using our skills, no longer on the shelf

Being creative, it's really up to you
Lots to think on as we endured Erma flu
The four days gone by, ever so quickly
I hoped it'd missed me and I wouldn't be sickly

For my birthday was close, we missed it by one day
But my Erma friends had a lot to say
Happy Birthday, my friend, we're gonna miss you
Thank you very much, I'll miss you too.

Now, I've returned home to a yard that needs mowing
Basking in the beauty of Erma, it's ever glowing
So Teri, our captain, another job well done
I'm happy to say, I was a lucky one

This workshop, life-changing I'll say it again
It's a blessing for writers, it is our best friend
I'm happy to speak and spread the word
Of Erma Bombeck, I'll give her the last word

It takes a lot to show someone your dream
But always remember we're on the same team
Never get discouraged and continue the fight
Three words you need, YOU CAN WRITE!





 

4 comments:

sonokate said...

Way to go, G! Seeing your one-woman welcome committee when I entered the Marriott lobby ensured it would be a great weekend, indeed!

sonokate said...

Way to go, G! Seeing your one-woman welcome committee when I entered the Marriott lobby ensured it would be a great weekend, indeed!

Farm Girl Cook'n Mary Lovstad said...

Fun post. Great recap. I enjoyed it

Gianetta said...

Kate!It was over too soon!

Mary! Thanks! It was lovely to meet you.

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