Honestly, I went to the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop expecting a let down.
As a Movie Lover (note the caps), I recognize the downside of hype. I've even given it a name: the "Hugo" syndrome. (Back in the day, I called it the "Sound of Music" syndrome, but I had to update it to remain cool.)
The dynamics are the same: A new movie is coming! It's on the horizon! It's SO great! You won't believe it! It'll change your life! It's story is incredible! OMG you HAVE to see this movie!!
Expectations are set in the stratosphere. Even a good movie cannot match the trajectory. Outcome: viewer letdown.
EBWW leapt onto my screen with some hefty hype, most notably: Mark your calendar! Registration opens soon! Sign up early! This workshop sells out in the first few days!
Feeling dubious, I checked my dance card, bought a corsage, and signed up.
One of the benchmarks I use for classifying a movie as noteworthy is whether or not it stays with me. Do I wake up the next morning with one of its characters on my mind? Am I pondering a day or so later what I might have done if faced with the same dilemma its plot presented? Am I repeating the punch lines?
Now 11 days removed from the University of Dayton, I assure you EBWW met and exceeded the "noteworthy" criteria.
Am I still thinking of the characters?! Yes! And the cast list is dazzling ~ with keynote speakers like Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Connie Schultz and Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel, to faculty and presenters including such notables as Laura Pulfer, Anna Lefler, Suzette Standring, and Craig Wilson, I felt enriched at every turn, and a little star-struck.
Would I / could I do what they have done? I don't know, but I'm going to try! This superlative faculty told me I could. I took away enough encouragement and practical advice from these highly accomplished and down-to-earth real people to carry me back to the computer screen with feet off the ground for a good long while.
Am I repeating the punch lines? With Erma's family reading their favorites of her columns, and humor writers populating every table, every breakout session, and every shuttle ride, laughter ruled each day. Heck, I may muster the guts to sign up for Sarah Maizes Stand-Up Comedy Boot Camp next time.
That's right ~ next time. It's incredible! You've gotta go to this workshop!