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I’ve had a really busy week and I am exhausted.
I went to the Erma Bombeck Writing Worskshop in Dayton (the Asheville of Ohio, which in turn is the Paris of North Carolina) and I’m still enjoying the dividends of that.
Maybe it’s the whole being surrounded by so many humor writers, or being with dear friends, or listening to people like Alan Zweibel tell about getting a job as a writer for Saturday Night Live and Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Connie Schultz tell about the moment that she found out that she won a Pulitzer (her Senator husband cried) and was trash talked at her local Target, or attending sessions run by Kyran Pittman and Anna Lefler and Karen Walrond and Tracy Beckerman and getting more takeaway from each of them than I think I have in any other one-hour period of my life, to the extent that I started applying the things that they taught me on Monday morning, 6:30 am and have not stopped.
Granted, it’s only been a week.
But it’s been a great week despite the fact that I was so busy with my other, non-writing life and that Young Ladrinka is now sick and is camped out on the couch and Husbandrinka is saying things like “I really hope that I don’t catch whatever he has because I don’t like being sick.” Please write that down. Husbandrinka does not like to be sick. This is what makes him different from the rest of the world.
I’ve been reading a lot too.
I’ve been reading Crispin, because Young Ladrinka is reading it in school and the teachers and I have decided that it’s better if I read along so that I can encourage him to push his thinking beyond his comfort point on the text. Unfortunately for everyone, my thinking comfort point seems to be at a relatively low threshold as I’m mostly grateful that I’m no longer in school and don’t have to read stuff I don’t want to.
I read Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal a memoir about growing up with a lunatic religious zealot mother. I disliked it immensely, even though I know and accept that Jeanette Winterson is a literary genius.
Then I read The Sometimes Daughter by Sherri Wood Emmons and what a surprise that was. I can’t remember how I came upon this book, but I liked the cover on Amazon, which makes a lot of sense since I read it on my Kindle. I expected a light read about a mom who has a baby at Woodstock and it was lightish, but I cried while reading it twice, first because there were elements of high school like that resonated so much for me, and then because there was a part about being a stepmother that I loved. It’s not the kind of book that I usually read, but I enjoyed it immensely and I loved that it reminded me that my literary tastes are not so fixed that I can’t find joy in the unexpected.
And that sometimes it’s really important to judge a book by its cover.
I also wrote for Babble. I’m so grateful for an opportunity to do a different type of writing, to think out loud about parenting choices and struggles, humorless as that can be.
This week I wrote about what it feels like to come home to my family after being away, a round up of some of the best books that bloggers read over spring (break), manners I wish all parents would teach their kids before they came over for dinner at my house (and not just so that they could teach my kids. Although, yes, that too), whether parents should be ok with letting their children fail, instead of doing everything we can to prevent it and inspired by Young Ladrinka’s reference to Carnegie Hall as Carnegie Hell, I wondered whether exposing children to the arts is Culture or Torture.
And finally, I have something to tell you.
I was going to write a whole post about it, but someone at Erma Bombeck said that the worst thing that can happen to a humor writer is to have something funny happen to them and I’m finding this to be the case. Because a few weeks ago, I was on the subway with Young Ladrinka and a woman approached me handing out pamphlets for life insurance and as she handed me one she said “ma’am, for your grandson, oh, I mean, son?”
This woman, who was about my age or maybe a few months younger thought that my 10 year old son was my grandson. And I have to live with it.
Have a lovely weekend, if at all possible. Knowing that I look like I’m someone’s grandmother.