Nothing makes me happier than planning a trip. To be honest, I can get pretty cheery thinking about going practically anywhere. But I already know that the trip I’m planning to Dayton, Ohio this spring is certain to rate ding-ding-ding over the top of my personal happy-o-meter.
Whoa, you may say. Dayton? Nothing against this small-ish city surrounded by cornfields near the Indiana border, but . . . .
Even though by dear brother and his family have lived in Dayton pretty much forever and it’s always great to see them, I won’t be stopping by their Oakwood home on this particular visit. They will undoubtedly be crushed by the news that I’ll be so near, and yet, inaccessible. So sorry, Bob and Donna.
No, I can’t visit the fam, but am thrilled to report that I snagged one of the coveted spots at the 2014 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton! This workshop is only held every other year and when registration opened on December 4th, it was sold out by midnight. People are comparing it to getting the golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. These are the same people who also registered in time. I’m not sure if the general population is equally impressed.
I attended the 2012 conference on a whim. After signing up, I pretty much ignored the clever Facebook posts of the other attendees (we all think we’re funny, and we’re all compulsive writers, so you can just imagine the posts and the tweets and the general excitement that will no doubt build to a feverish pitch by April). I was busy with the work that actually pays my bills and was even a little intimidated by the outpouring of some pretty funny stuff.
Well, not only did I attend one inspiring – and hilarious – workshop session after another, but I also laughed myself sick listening to keynote speakers like Adriana Trigiani and Gina Barreca and Connie Schultz (to name a few). Members of Erma’s family were there and read excerpts of some of their favorite columns. There was even a night of stand-up comedy where brave attendees could try out their schticks on a supportive audience that wouldn’t boo them off the stage. (Okay, so I went to bed, but I heard some of them were seriously funny.)
In fact, one workshop session on humor and travel writing presented by Dave Fox got me started with this blog. I wish I could claim to be half as funny and entertaining as Dave, but I have to tell you (anybody reading this?) that I’m having a blast writing here – funny, or not so much.
So I can hardly wait to go back and drink more of the Kool-aid in Dayton this spring. This time I’m paying attention to the Facebook posts and have promised myself I’ll try to figure out how to use Twitter again. I’m looking forward to meeting a bunch of new people as well as looking up a couple of others who have become Facebook friends since the last conference, like Kari Lynn Collins whose blogs are hilarious.
I might have to circle back here to give attendees and others planning trips to Dayton some information about the city. I do know there’s a restaurant not far from the university called the Pine Club that grills up what may be the best big-ass steaks in town. (Hint to Bob for my next family visit.)
In the meantime, hey – Merry Christmas or Season’s Greetings or Happy Festivus or whatever you’re comfortable with! And may the year ahead be a great one for us all!