Erma Withdrawals

Posted May 26, 2010 by jimhigley

I’m having Erma withdrawals. Erma as in Bombeck. Withdrawals as in I miss the sea of folks I met and was allowed to hang out with for a few days a couple months ago at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. And, sure, I miss Erma. But doesn’t everyone who had the joy of starting their day with a chuckle from her column?

The Workshop is held every other year at Erma’s alma mater, the University of Dayton. As a rookie writer, I really had no business signing up to attend, but the truth is my oldest son is a student at Dayton so I thought it would be a fun getaway – even if I ended up dog paddling for a few days with some heavy hitter writers.

But a funny thing happened on my way to the funny columnists conference. I learned that funny people are also really good people. I learned that funny people are supportive. They’re grounded. They’re inspiring. And they’re damn fun to just hang around.

I never once felt like I was dog paddling. Truthfully, I felt like I was allowed to jump on board a jet ski being driven by some big name people and go on a crazy, exciting, exhilarating ride with them.  I really liked these people.

And, I realized that I really, really want to be like them. All of them. Even though most of “them” are women.

One woman in particular is my new idol. Her name is Tracy Beckerman. She’s a humorist and writes a column, Lost in Suburbia, appearing in something like 400 papers giving her a readership of 3 or 4 million people. My heart pounds just typing those numbers. I want to be Tracy. The male version.

Tracy is a mom. First and forever. But she’s pursued a dream over the last several years to write, to share, and to touch people. She’s worked her tail off and is making things happen. A visible celebrity at the Workshop, Tracy always took time to talk to me, give me encouragement and help me believe. Cool chick.

Check her out at her blog (below). And, for a real treat, watch the CBS Morning Show clip below. Mo Rocca did a pretty fun piece on the Workshop – including a feature on my buddy, Tracy.