I went to the Willamette Writer’s conference yesterday. Boy what fun! Except for one part, I had a fantastic day. I got to be with my friends from my writing group, all of whom are successfully doing great writing, getting published, getting awards, and getting better looking all the time.
The one exception was my “pitch” meeting with an agent who looked about fourteen. Why, he was so young his diaper was hanging out of his pants leg. He was so young, he was still packing a placenta. He was so young, ah heck, you get the picture and I just Googled “he was so young” and can’t find any more besides these ones I just made up.
But this guy, who, in his bio said he handled “humor,” this guy had never heard of (gasp) Erma Bombeck! Oh my gosh. How can you be an agent who promotes humor writers without knowing something about humor legends?
I am not going to go off on this guy here. Well, yeah I am. When I was young, of course I knew all the bands/writers/politicians from my time period, but I knew previous ones too, if for no other reason than to make fun of them. If all I knew was what was occurring now or in the most recent past, I would have been a pretty dull person. I was pretty, but I was not dull. Well, actually I was cute. That’s what everyone always said, “Suzanne is so cute.” Strangers used to come up and pinch my cheek. “You’re so CUTE,” like they’d do to a baby. I’d bite them.
My daughter and her friends know the words to all the old songs. “How do you know the words to that song?” I asked, and they ignored me, as usual, so I don’t know how they know, but they do.
So this agent had never heard of the woman who wrote a syndicated humor column read by millions, who wrote several best-selling books, who was a speaker all over the world, on TV and at the White House, a champion of women, a household name, and still has such a following that the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop in Ohio sells out every year. Plus at least a couple of times a year I get an email with her sayings about how she wish she’d done some things differently and slowed down and enjoyed life more.
A great resource for humor writers is a website dedicated to her, www.humorwriters.org (where you can register for the Workshop, see a picture of Erma, and learn about her funny life). Here are some of her quotes that I snagged off the website in case you don’t bother going there.
“Insanity is hereditary. You can catch it from your kids.”
“The only reason I would take up jogging is so I could hear heavy breathing again.”
“Laughter rises out of tragedy, when you need it the most, and rewards you for your courage.”
“In general, my children refused to eat anything that hadn’t danced on TV.”
“When humor goes, there goes civilization.”
“Seize the moment. Think of all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.”
“Never loan your car to anyone to whom you’ve given birth.”
“The grass is always greener over the septic tank.”
“A child needs your love more when he deserves it least.”
“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”
“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”
“If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”
Never heard of Erma Bombeck…what is this world coming to?