Scarlott Letters

Just some stuff I find funny…


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One for the Books

Once again I find myself on a plane. It makes me wonder just how many times I’ve flown in or out of Dallas. It has to be well over a hundred, and yet, this was the first flight I’ve ever been on when mid-drinks the flight attendants were instructed to suspend service and return to their jump seats. Although we weren’t told to lean over, put our hands over our heads and kiss our asses goodbye, I just wasn’t feeling the love.

It was also the first flight I’ve been on where the monitor built into the back of the seat in front of me actually worked. Kari’s screen did not, even for the pre-flight safety video. Apparently, I’m much more important to American Airlines than she is. I must say, that monitor is a handy little device to have, assuming you have a functional unit. For instance, I knew our altitude was 34,048.3 feet and that the outside temperature was -58F and -50C. Do you think the designation “outside” was really necessary? I also knew how many minutes it was to our destination and what time we would arrive, provided we didn’t plunge to our deaths. Did our imminent demise make me think with longing about the loved ones I’d leave behind? No, I was wondering if the arrival time on my monitor would update automatically should we find ourselves in a death spiral. These are the things I think about. I’m keeping a close eye on it.

I am on a jet plane because I’m on my way home from my first Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, but unlike Peter, Paul & Mary, I know when I’ll be back again. That’s because I’m there, for the next one and the next. It was just that good. The presenters, speakers, and topics were all excellent and I’m extremely thankful my good friend and writer, Kari Collins, invited/coerced/forced me to go. It exceeded expectations on every level.

I think I’ve mentioned a few times that I felt like a fraud for attending. I expected someone at the registration table to tell me “Oops! There’s been a mistake. This workshop is for real writers. Now, you run along back to Texas.” A funny thing about that. Everywhere I turned there was someone telling me I was a writer…chastising me if I said “Oh, I’m not a real writer. I just have a small blog,” in response to the inevitable question about what I write. And apparently, that feeling was universal, even for veteran writers. One of the faculty, Gina Barreca, who has written eight books, edited 16 others, is a professor at a major university, a member of the Friars Club, writes for both print and online publications, has a syndicated column, and has appeared on all kinds of TV shows, said she still doesn’t feel like a “real” writer because she’s never written fiction. Wow. This woman is seriously brilliant, funny and makes her living teaching and writing. How could she possibly have a single doubt about being a “real” writer?  I made a promise to myself right then that, very much like Stuart Smalley, my daily affirmation henceforth will be “I can write, I am a writer, and doggone it, people read me.” Now excuse me while I change the entry for “occupation” on my tax return.

 

 


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Channeling My Inner Erma

I am in soooo much trouble. My good friend, Kari Collins, who is a fabulously witty woman and fantastic writer, picked me up at 5:15 a.m. to leave for the airport, on our way to Dayton, Ohio for the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop. What is wrong with that sentence? I hardly know where to start. First, do you know how early you have to get up to be ready at 5:15 a.m.? If you have a penis, you probably said 5 o’clock, and this morning at 3:30 I hated you with a passion usually reserved for the very thin or the very rich. Second, Dayton. Yeah, Dayton. Third, Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop? I’m out of my depth, out of the box, out of my league and out of my mind. But here I am, on a plane to Dayton, which is one sentence I never thought I’d write.

Writing is barely even a hobby, much less a career choice for me. This blog actually grew more out of techno nerdiness than an ability to write. Several years ago, on a trip to the Caribbean with friends, I had a brand spanking new iPad. It was first generation and it had been on the market about a week. It was shiny and new and I was giddy about my new toy. I was on the cutting edge and it was the start of my love affair with all things Apple. There were ten of us on this trip and instead of each of us individually trying to keep the poor saps back home updated and sufficiently envious, I was nominated to write about our travels and email it to everyone. I had the technology, so I got the job…and a monster/star was born. Now, I mostly blog when I have something to say that is too long for a Facebook post. And this qualifies me for a “writer’s workshop” how? We shall see.

Upon arrival in Dayton, I experienced something new…a cab driver who had to put the address in his Garmin before departure. This is not New York City, people. What cab driver in a city about the size of Midland has to put a major hotel in his GPS? Not a good one, that’s who. Also, it looked like he lived in the cab and the headliner was held in place by randomly placed thumbtacks in roughly the shape of well, someone’s head. It did not instill confidence. Judging by the look on Kari’s face, I was not the only one with doubts about surviving a cross country plane trip only to crash and burn on the ten mile cab ride to the hotel.

I’ll make this short since it’s been a long day and end with this evening’s festivities. Phil Donohue was the keynote speaker at tonight’s banquet. He might seem like an odd choice, unless you know that he and Erma lived across the street from each other back when they were both making it big in the 70s. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that his address was not only inspiring but choked me up a little. By the time he finished, I found myself thinking “I AM a writer.” It was either that or those lying margaritas.