Being a metal writer around a bunch of humorists can be dangerous.
This weekend, I'm spending some time as a conferee of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop at the University of Dayton. I'm attending the conference classes solo. No one that lives near me is a writer, so this means I go and routinely plunk myself down beside some unsuspecting soul and 1) either start talking or 2) check my email on my phone depending on the time of day.
So far, I've met a lot of really awesome people. Impressively, the conference has writers from all over America and I ate lunch with people from New York, Indiana, Minnesota, California... Well, you get it.
The conversations between me and the other, more humorous, writers goes something like this:
Writer: Hi, I'm XYZ from Somewhereville. I write a humor column for "Something With a Big Circulation."
Me: So good to meet you. You traveled a long way. I'm from right here in town.
Writer: Really? That's nice. Are you a humorist?
Me: No. I'm a music writer.
Writer: You write music?
Me: No, a music journalist.
Writer: How cool! Like what, classical, jazz?
Me: Heavy Metal.
Writer: Oh. Really? [This is, after all a humor conference. It's possible I could be joking].
Me: Yep. I interview bands and stuff. Rock bands, hard rock, my niche is 80s glam.
Writer: Excuse me, what?
Me: Glam. You know, hairbands. Um...like Motley Crue. I also write about modern metal.
Writer: You get paid for this? [Incredulous tone].
Writer: So you get to go backstage at shows and stuff? That's very glamorous.
Me: Nah, it's a job.
Writer: Wait, did you say you focus on mainly 80s stuff? I love the 80s. How old are you? [Peering at me now, as if I'm still joking].
Writer: 30?! You don't look your age.
Wash, rinse, repeat. Of course, this is long form. Sometimes I only get a few minutes to chat with these funny people (and most are women, by the way).
A shorter, shuttle bus trip:
Writer: Girlfriend, can I sit here?
Me: Yep. [I scoot over by the window and pick up my giant Bring Back Glam! pink purse].
Writer: Did you enjoy your day?
Me: Yes, I learned a lot. I really liked the class on getting an agent.
Writer: Oh, I took that one too!
Me: Are you a humor writer?
Writer: Yes, I write humorous children's books. For boys mainly, grades 5, 6, 7.
Me: It's great to have a niche.
Writer: Yes, it is. Are you old enough to take classes here?
Me: [By this time I'm tired and I think I misunderstood the accomplished writer]. I did my graduate degree here at the University, yes.
Writer: [Screeching] Graduate degree?! You look 12! Girl, you should be the poster child for the fountain of youth!
Me: Thanks. I'll walk around with my chest puffed out the rest of the day. Here's my card.
I can't help wondering if that writer from Texas will really keep my card, hit this website and read the exchange. I hope she doesn't get mad. It's not my fault these humor writers are naturally funny! I also love how every person I've come into contact with immediately has a glam related band story. I'm telling you people, it doesn't matter where you go in the world, or what your line of work, Glam lives. Need an ice breaker? Tell someone you love Def Leppard. Have an uncomfortable situation to squirm your way out of? Mention you saw Iron Maiden on tour back in 1988. Chances are the person you're trying to schmooze has a similar memory, and soon you've got a new best friend. Glamtastic.