The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop – Let The Sessions Begin!


The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop may have officially kicked off last night, but today it was all about getting down and dirty with the conference sessions, which is really the reason why we’re all here. That, and the wine.

So here again are my highlights from the day that was:

  • It all started with the Continental breakfast, where my diarrhea of the mouth once again scared someone from the table. To regain the graces of the Erma gods, I paid Kelly Harman, aka, Kelly Out Loud, for a copy of her book, which, she promised, she will send me on Monday.
  • Next I went to my first #2016EBWW session with Alan Zweibel , legendary comedy writer for SNL. I haven’t laughed that hard in such a long time. What a great way to start the day. Sage wisdom: “As writers, what you remember is not the product; you remember the process.”
  • I was almost late for my second session, “Novel Writing for the Faint of Heart”, with the funny and talented Anna Lefler, because I couldn’t figure out how to get to the 2nd floor! The elevators wouldn’t work—in a building with TWO FLOORS. A bunch of us would pack in, hit the button, and then nothing would happen. We’d go to another elevator and still no dice. I couldn’t find the stairs, either. Then, when I finally found my way to the 2nd floor, the session room wasn’t even on the map! It was like I was in the Twilight Zone. In Dayton, Ohio.
  • Thankfully, I found the room just in time, and Anna began her workshop with a few obviously humorous “statistics” such as: “It’s a universal law that 87% of people are incompetent in their jobs.” To which the woman beside me reacted, “OH! I didn’t know that.” Seriously?
  • I got a lot of positive reaction to my Beaver Swag t-shirt, and even more questions about the bizarre spelling of my last name. (“It’s pronounced Ber-kitch,” I’ll say ’til the day that I die.)
  • I admit I’m such a sheltered Catholic boy, but I still don’t understand what a Kosher meal is.
  • “Part of what we do as women writers…” began one speaker. Thanks. As if I wasn’t already feeling like a sore thumb amongst this group of 350+ women.
  • What the hell is a Roman à clef?
  • Oh, no…please don’t bring up politics! Please don’t bring up politics!
  • Just say his name. Trump. It’s not like he’s Voldemort or something. Then again…
  • And now we’re discussing Hilary’s wardrobe. How nice.
  • “If you finish what you did, and you’re proud of the work, that’s the accomplishment.” Thank you, Alan Zweibel.
  • During Barbara Chisholm’s hour-long monologue as Erma herself, I couldn’t help but think…How did she memorize all of this!? And also, I wonder if that person is going to drink her wine?
  • The conference sessions are great, but the real value of #2016EBWW is in the people you meet.
  • The award for my Favorite Person of the Day was a tie between Jill Enders, who thought I was IN MY 20s!!!, and Ginger Truitt, who said at dinner, “Are you Val? I really enjoy you!” Thank you for helping me forget my mid-life crisis, at least for a little while.

And just like that, the conference is halfway over. Looking forward to the final day tomorrow. Stay tuned…


Copyright 2016 Valentine J. Brkich

2 Responses to "The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop – Let The Sessions Begin!"
  1. Love that workshop! Love the anticipation of driving there and the renewed possibilities on the drive home.
    I met someone there who has remained a great friend for many years. I especially like that there are so many others
    who actually “get” what writers face on a daily basis. I always go by myself and come back with tons of contacts! Have a great time!

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