On Writing. Humorous and Otherwise.

Registration for the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop opened at 11 a.m. yesterday. The conference is for humor writers, the only conference I’ve ever found that is specific to humor, and is held every two years. I discovered it too late to register for the 2016 workshop, because it sold out in six hours the winter before. I’ve been waiting not-so-patiently ever since. If you know me, you know that this has been excruciating. I entered the conference dates on my calendar as soon as they were announced in spring 2016. When the registration date was announced, that went on my calendar (with the notification activated for five minutes before). I wasn’t leaving anything up to chance and set an alarm, too, that morning.

Apparently I’m not the only obsessive humor writer, because we crashed the site promptly at 10:59 a.m. I started to panic, and knew that the longer it took me to get on, the less chance I’d have to process my registration in time. I hit Erma’s Facebook page and found other panicked writers there. Just for kicks, I clicked the registration link freshly posted there, which took me to an entirely different registration page, off the normal site, that was working properly. My fingers flew and I registered and hopped up and down and then remembered that I had two guys at the house repairing toilets and so I sat back down right before they came back in from retrieving tools from their truck which is great because that would have been tricky to explain. Then, because I don’t want anyone else to suffer, I went back to the Facebook page and posted that link for the other sweating writers who were still hitting refresh on the original site. Two people came back to thank me, so I felt pretty accomplished for the day. The conference sold out in less than five hours this time.

I am monumentally pumped, for a variety of reasons. First, it’s my first writers conference. I’m excited to meet other word nerds from around the country. Second, it’s a humor writers conference, so I suspect much hilarity will ensue. Third, it’s a bargain compared to other writers conferences so I don’t feel insanely guilty about registering. Just the normal amount of good old fashioned Catholic guilt that I have about nearly everything. And I can drive there, too, so, double bonus (no expensive airline ticket, no weird layovers that mean a full day of travel because I have to fly over my destination to double back to get to my destination, no security lines, no cramped seats, no guy hogging the armrest, no disgusting airport, no risking Uber by myself to get from the airport to the hotel, flexible travel times…so, you know, more like octupal bonus).

I’m excited. I’m so excited that now I’m going to write about writing. Because that’s not boring at all.

Does anyone know how to turn off grammar correct in Word? It keeps making suggestions to me that I find irritating at best. No, dammit, I don’t want a freaking comma there. (I’m not talking about the Oxford comma in this case…let it go, people.) The comma you are suggesting is not necessary. Are you getting kickbacks from The Comma Company for every comma you promote? If I wanted a comma there, I’d have placed a comma there. I’m a writer, for Pete’s sake. Stop trying to police my punctuation! Never mind. I found it. And turned it off, along with “readability statistics” which I think is a bullshit feature anyway. I don’t need some freaking algorithm designed by a non-writerly software engineer to tell me if my crap is readable. I’ve never been told that I’m not readable, and in fact receive a compliment every now and then that tells me people know exactly what the hell I’m trying to say.

Although one kind soul did send me a private message to gently inform me that I misspelled “capital” a few posts back, when in fact I was very careful to look it up to ensure I indeed used it correctly before posting. So, boys and girls, today’s spelling/grammar lesson is this: use “capitol” when referring to a building where legislators (or people who think they are legislating when in fact they are simply wreaking havoc at best and destroying our country at worst) meet, and “capital” when you’re referring to the city that holds the seat of government. When used in a sentence, it looks like this, “We visited the capital and, while there, took a lovely tour of the capitol led by an old grumpy guy.” (Dear Reader, thank you for your advice. I appreciate your willingness to help other writers. If we all helped each other, we would not see the travesties of spelling, grammar and punctuation that run rampant in today’s world. Go forth and help the masses! You might want to start with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and all the folks writing the chyrons on the local news stations.)

I’m also considering turning off spell check because it’s all up in my face with angry red lines under “octupal” when I know octupal is a word because I looked it up dammit. Chyron is also a real word. Knock it off, Microsoft. You don’t know everything.

I’m not saying I never make mistakes. I’ve gone back to old blog posts and fainted dead away when discovering a typo. I just try really, really hard to make sure everything is correct. You know, so I can be readable.

Have I told you how excited I am about the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop? I’ll try to not be insufferable about this between now and April, but you’ll probably hear about it plenty after I go. Or, conversely, I will meet scores of people way more funny than me and shall return home demoralized and in a depressive state, vowing to never write another post again. Sounds great!

Today’s writing cottage is in the Rock Hill Public Library, a first. I had Starbucks this morning and didn’t want to shell out more money there for tea (never mind the fact that tea has been giving me wicked heartburn lately…a tragedy) and I didn’t feel like smelling like a Big Mac. This is a great solution, I think. I have a comfy chair, wifi, and no greasy smells…all for free! I love libraries.

#blog#erma bombeck#library#personal essay#writing

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