Erma Bombeck and Friends, You Inspired Me

We find inspiration in nature, yoga, TED Talks, pets, music, books, travel, and more. But for me, the greatest source of inspiration can be found at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, the only one dedicated to humor writing. It’s held every other year on the campus of the University of Dayton, fondly called the Dayton Riviera. We celebrate the spirit of Erma Bombeck, a suburban housewife, syndicated columnist and author of 15 books. Her sayings like, “There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child,” touched the heart of America and covered their refrigerators.

The Presenters

Erma Bombeck and Friends, You Inspired Me stacey GustafsonThis year’s presenters included Liza Donnelly, award-winning cartoonist with The New Yorker Magazine, Rita Davenport, award-winning TV host and John Grogan bestselling author of Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog. We were wowed by their story, devotion to writing and the ability to generate laughter.

However, the people who inspired me the most were other attendees and workshop staff. The Erma-ites I meet uplifted each other and boosted self-confidence with their generosity and kindness. Getting along with 350 women (including 30 or so men) can be a complicated matter, but at this workshop, all ages, shapes, and backgrounds worked together for three days and nights, sharing companionship, laughter and cake. Lots of cake.

Here’s my shout-out to those who affected me the most.

You Inspired Me

Vikki Claflin – Your helpful attitude inspired me. I am grateful for the time you spent at airport sharing your publishing secrets.

Erma Bombeck and Friends, You Inspired Me - Stacey Gustafson

Gina Valley

Gina Valley – Your bravery to perform stand-up comedy inspired me. Monica Piper said it best, “You reminded me of Rosanne Barr.” You killed it.

Elaine Ambrose – Your charity, Cycling Without Age, brought tears to my eyes. You reminded me that the most important thing we can do is help others.

Teri Rizvi – Your attention to detail and hard work throughout the workshop made it the best by far. Because of you, I will be back 2020.

Patricia Wynn Brown – As emcee, your lively spirit made everyone feel at home and welcome.

Jim Hands – Crowned King on the last evening, your friendly nature made you hard to ignore.

Erma Bombeck and Friends, You Inspired Me - Stacey Gustafson

Monica Piper and Leighann Lord

Leighann Lord – Your magnetic personality and passion brought it all home on the last night as you introduced the evening’s speaker.

Wendy Liebman – Your friendly and supportive personality made everyone feel important and relevant. You have changed my direction in life.

More Inspiration

Linda Wolff – Your cheerful and positive point of view was refreshing. Thanks for sharing your work.

Anne Paris – Your knowledge of technology expanded our mind.

Tracy Beckerman – Your expertise and dedication to blogging and branding inspired me.

Erma Bombeck and Friends, You Inspired Me - Stacey Gustafson

Wendy Liebman

Linda Roy – Your welcoming attitude made me feel part of the group.

Lisa Packer – Your curious and likeable attitude made you fun to be around.

Marcia Kester Doyle – Your bubbly enthusiasm for writing and blogging is contagious.

Dorothy Rosby – Your genuine interest in helping others made you a star.

Donna Beckman Tagliaferri – Your cheerful energy made me want to be your friend.

Risa Nye – Your excitement for writing and sharing spirit made a lasting impression.

Erma Bombeck and Friends, You Inspired Me - Stacey GustafsonI will be back in 2020 because of the inspiration I gained from my Erma-ites. There is no substitute for laughter, friendship and companionship. From the words of our leader, Erma Bombeck said it best, “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.”

By the way, did not need a seatbelt extender on the way home.

When Church People Knock Stacey GustafsonLooking for a good read?
Are You Kidding Me?: My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives is available on Amazon and eBooks. It’s filled with stories about crazy families, holiday chaos, school disasters and more. Hoping to make you laugh one story at a time. Get your copy now!! Click to purchase on Amazon.

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  1. What a great time we had! Thank you for including me <3

  2. I’ve been wanting to go to one of those conferences. I love Erma Bombeck. I have “The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank” on my desk right now and flip through it when I need some levity or inspiration. I recognize many of the names you listed, have stopped by some of their blogs in the past. Nice of you to honor them this way.

    • staceygustafson says

      If you get a chance, go! Next one 2020. Wonderful way to be with your peers, funny, generous ladies.

  3. Eugenia Murphy says

    Beautiful and refreshing approach to recognizing and being a mirror for the women you described. Thank you for sharing. Keep making us smile.

  4. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. It’s always so fun to get together in person with those we meet with online.

  5. Thank you for the mention, Stacey!
    It was great to get to hang out with you and to have some time to talk. Thank you for all of your help and advice. Looking forward to seeing you in May, my friend!

    • staceygustafson says

      I had the best time getting to know you better. Seriously, how do you find the time? I’ll never complain again about having two kids. And I working on May!

  6. This is a conference I’d like to attend, to find my inner humour and connect it to my writing. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Awww! Thanks Stacey! And you inspire me–jumping into the world of standup! So wonderful to see you again!

  8. How great to be included in this all-star lineup! I’m glad we had the chance to talk at Erma this time. Best of luck with all the good stuff ahead!

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