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.