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I love writing conferences.  Every writing workshop I attend leaves me feeling energized, inspired, and armed with, well, armloads of useful information.  This time, I can add one more take-away to the list: the endorphins from laughing until I have tears running down my face.  It is the final day of the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop and I am surrounded by the largest group of funny people I have ever seen assembled under one roof.  I have looked forward to this particular conference for over a year.  The chance to meet like-minded writers, authors, bloggers, speakers, columnists and comedians?  Whoa. *Highly recommended experience*

I particularly enjoyed these speakers:

Tracy Beckerman, author of Rebel Without a Minivan and the blog Lost in Suburbia as well as the syndicated column of the same name.  Very funny lady who makes me feel better about a life in the ‘burbs.  (Much like Erma herself.)

Donna Gephart, author of several successful middle grade children’s novels that incorporate humor.  I feel optimism about my work-in-progress nanowrimo middle grade novel, based on her presentation.  I think I am on the right track with the characters, format and plot.

Karen Walford and her beautiful blog chookooloonks — this was a delightful look into how a woman with a passion for writing and photography can leave a former career behind, and follow her heart.

Wade Rouse, author of several best-selling humor memoirs.  This happens to be my new favorite genre to read.  He reminds me of David Sedaris, except Wade lives in the woods, and I don’t think David would do that.  This break-out session did involve an unfortunate incident involving a TV camera and me reading aloud our “assignment” for the day — a personal essay on one of our greatest fears.  All in good fun except I started crying while reading mine, which can lead to my next great essay about my new biggest fear, which is crying in front of a TV camera and room full of strangers while reading out loud.  But he was great.

Add in the chance to talk to the most helpful editor of a regional parenting magazine that I could hope to meet, and hear Gail Collins, Bill Scheft, and many other authors… I need to go lie down somewhere before my head explodes.