If you were shocked last week when I told you I was a 60-year-old virgin, hang on to your hat for this week’s news!
Teachers always warned us it could happen the first time, and they were right. I came home from my first Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop on Sunday great with …. well, a lot of things. Because, as often happens to mothers of advanced maternal age, it’s a multiples pregnancy!
I’m pregnant with enthusiasm.
There’s a reason that fast-talking motivational speakers make millions working sales conferences. There is nothing so motivating as being encouraged and told again and again that it’s possible for your dreams to come true.
But we didn’t have hucksters at this workshop. We had professional writers and comedians and teachers who weren’t just being paid to rile us up, but who were there to illustrate how possible it was to be a writer. They told their own stories to show how possible it was for us to tell ours.
I’m pregnant with inspiration.
I met writers from all backgrounds, of all ages, and at all points in their writing lives. The youngest was 11. She sat at my table for lunch and explained she was attending the conference with her mother. I asked if she wanted to be a writer, and she replied with an enthusiastic “yes!” I saw myself in that fresh-faced kid and thought how great that she was getting a 50-year head start on some of us.
On the other end of the spectrum was a woman who had been named Queen of the last conference and returned proudly wearing her crown. She was named Queen two years ago because she was starting her writing career at age 87. How can that not inspire you?
I’m pregnant with craft.
Yes, throughout the workshop we were told again and again, “You can write!” That was the simple statement made to Erma by a college teacher who inspired her to soldier on in the face of any barriers. But in the sessions, teachers didn’t just tell us we could write, they showed us how.
In some cases, the session validated what I was already doing, or gave clarity to the components of a piece and why it did or didn’t work. In other sessions, the flash could be seen for miles from the light bulbs going off over my head from brand new concepts. I participated in hands-on writing sessions and gained insights not only from comments on my own work, but also from hearing the creativity of others.
I’m pregnant with camaraderie.
Even as a newcomer, I felt like I was walking into a family reunion. True, I’d “met” a number of people online, but that’s not why. There was a welcoming atmosphere that permeated everything, allowing newbies to bond both with each other and veterans equally effortlessly. Those veterans squealed with delight upon seeing their old friends again, as I’m sure Dana, Nancy, Terill and I will when we are back on the Dayton Riviera in 2020.
In the meantime, I know we will all stay in touch, ooh-ing and aah-ing over the precious bundles of joy we all will produce (yes, even the 89-year-old!) thanks to the seeds that were sown by the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.
If only I could convince myself that, despite my delicate condition, there’s no need for me to be eating for two.