Thursday, August 27, 2015

Look Where I Am

As someone that considers herself to have a humorous side, I'm always on the lookout for like-minded people. If you've been playing along then you will remember that I discovered the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop in late 2010 and had to wait another eighteen months before I could apply to go.

Fast forward to late March 2012--which is always an exciting time because Mom and I share a birthday only twelve days apart--and I received the info about who would be making appearances at the 2012 Workshop. Among others was Alan Zweibel who wrote for Saturday Night Live; Adriana Trigani who wrote for The Cosby Show; Ilene Beckerman who became a writing success later in life ; Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize Winner that wrote for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and married to Ohio Senator, Sherrod Brown and Regina Barreca, PhD, UCONN English Professor and columnist for the Hartford Courant.

What stood out the most for me was Pulitzer Prize Winner--and since I'm from Ohio--Connie Schultz was the one person that I really wanted to talk to--about what? I didn't know, but I'm sure I would think up something along the way.

It's funny how things turn out sometimes.

At the 2012 conference, of the individuals listed above, the person I had the least contact with was Dr. Barreca. She  had the crowd of mostly women on our knees hugging our abdomens begging for her to stop so we wouldn't wet our pants from laughing. Yes, she is that funny and that ain't no joke. By the time I  regained my composure, her books had already sold out and I think I might have touched her scarf as she glided past on a cloud of feminism straight past me to who knows where.

The workshop had a profound effect on me--I was hooked--on humor and everyone that was committed to it.

Over the next year or so--I became friends with all of those above and many others--and continued writing on this blog and working on Scrunchie-Fried when out of the blue one day I received an email from Gina (as she goes by) that said "Hey, MA Fat Woman, you're in the column, doll!" WHAT? I'M IN HER COLUMN! Holy crap! She's syndicated all over the world.

That started an exchange of communication  on topics that I didn't really know anything about. Feminism. British Literature. Female humor writers from the past. The art of humor writing is more than just telling a joke. It's work and requires more--something I didn't really like to do--rewrites and edits than I had been doing. I could do better.

In 2014, when the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop rolled around again I wasn't nearly as nervous as I was in 2012. Or so I thought. I was sitting outside the hotel--trying to remain upright because I was experiencing hypoglycemia--and out walked Gina. "Hey, doll, what does the MA stand for?"

Well crap! (This was my hero.) My stomach dropped and I thought I was going to throw up. It was our first time actually meeting and I couldn't form a sentence. "Middle-Aged," I finally managed and before too long my sugar and senses came back up to an acceptable level.

We hung around together quite a lot during those three days and it's amazing what you can learn from observation. When to speak, when to listen, when to let the punchline build, and most of all, to laugh as much as possible.

I've learned more about the Pulitzer Prize from the person that didn't win--Not That I'm Bitter--and have been introduced to the works of Edith Wharton--who did win--I don't know how she feels about it because she's dead--and others and accepted the fact that winning a prize is nice but it probably won't help you write a better story. Hard work and dedication will.

So, that's what I've done. I've made the decision to keep up this blog on a fairly regular basis and continue working on a series of novels that I'm really excited about and am making great progress with. I intend to finish the second one by the end of the year.

Writing is a job; it takes time. And effort. I'm learning a lot along the way and I'm especially pleased to announce that the story about calling directory assistance is featured on the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop webpage. They even put my picture up there. To quote my mom, who is a woman of few words, "Wow!"

I couldn't have said it any better myself.



Darlene said...

I second the Wow! Good for you, Gianetta.

Amy said...

2010 EBWW was my first conference of any kind. Gina and the whole event was a life-changer. Nicely said here, Gianetta.

Amy said...

2010 EBWW was my first conference of any kind. Gina and the whole event was a life-changer. Nicely said here, Gianetta.

Amy said...

2010 EBWW was my first conference of any kind. Gina and the whole event was a life-changer. Nicely said here, Gianetta.

KLMcopy said...

Last year was my first EBWW, and not my last. And i'm thinking we set up a ginabarrecachangedmylife fan club, you can be prez!

Gianetta said...

Darlene: Thank you so much! I can't wait to see you next year.

Gianetta said...

Amy: Life-changer is indeed the correct word to use here. Thanks so much! Tell Mandy "Hey"!

Gianetta said...

Kate: That sounds like a great idea! Hope to see you at the next EBWW!



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