My weekend with Erma Bombeck…in spirit!


I feel like I went back in time into the late 80’s as I stepped onto the grounds of the University of Dayton (UD) Ohio. As I made my way on campus, I headed straight for the book store to pick up my UD gear to celebrate the recent Flyers run in the NCAA. The students looked like kids; the campus looked beautiful and it still felt like home. I was there to attend the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. It started with dinner at the Marriott in town where Phil Donahue was the Key Note Speaker. I remember growing up watching him on TV as my mom ironed. He kicked off the weekend remembering Erma Bombeck who was a neighbor and on his TV show multiple times. He shared the impact she had on his life and countless others. With the permission of the family, he re-read the eulogy he gave at her funeral and described the beautiful, funny woman we knew and loved.

The next two days were full of laughter, tears, inspiration, motivation and learning. There were hundreds of women empowering other women. The underlying theme throughout the event was the inspirational phrase given to Erma: “You Can Write!”

Brave woman after empowered woman stood up to tell their incredible stories of challenge and struggle yet who made the conscious decision to have that be the fuel to create their voice in this world. So much incredible talent and exactly where I needed to be and what I needed to hear. The fact that I was back on campus to pursue my dreams two decades later just made it that much sweeter and rewarding!

So I will leave you with the messages I took away loud and clear:

  • Be “Off-Brand”…be unpredictable and unique
  • Be narrow-minded; be picky like the zoom lens on a camera
  • Remember, the subject doesn’t have to be funny, the way you write about it can be
  • Channel your inner horses-ass; if it makes you cringe you are on to something
  • Network like your life depends on it
  • Always, always, always speak your truth!

But the most important thing I heard was “You CAN Write!”  It touched my soul to be validated in the very same classrooms where it all began. I left the weekend feeling BEYOND inspired but most of all grateful for the new 300+ cheerleaders I gained. Thank you for your legacy, Erma! XO

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