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Queen for a Day

I’ve never been a queen before. Royalty does not run in my family. In fact, I didn’t even expect to be noticed while attending the very popular Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop recently. But by day two, I was being crowned queen of the conference. As I stepped to the mic to make my acceptance speech, these words came out: “It’s never too late. I’m going to start writing.” My daughter, standing by my side, had always heard me talk about writing “someday.” Today is my someday.

This morning, back at home and up before the sun rose, all I could think about was writing. Yesterday I had made a commitment in front of 350 people to start a new life as a writer, and the queen could not let her subjects down. While at the conference, bits and pieces of anecdotes had entered my mind -- old stories that I had scribbled down through the years. Some made me laugh, like playing in a disastrous bridge tournament that I thought was a class. Another was becoming a “Hot Flash” tap dancer. And then, of course, there’s yesterday’s crowning -- how scores of people I’d never met approached me with curtsies and hand kisses. I was a celebrity, a monarch to behold. I would never be the same. Ideas flooded my mind.

But where do I begin? Did I mention I was still wearing the plastic tiara? (The onset of dementia had not entered my mind until I looked in the mirror.) Should I just take a quick nap before I jump in? I’m a bit weary from the coronation. No, even though I am now “her highness” I have to start writing if the promise I made is to have any credibility. It is time to get to work.

Words from the workshops flashed before me, tips to be garnished for success: “Action words are good. Avoid clichés. Minimize adjectives and adverbs. Humor should be subtle. Just write; put it down.” But my problem is not only that I’m an “Erma Virgin,” it’s that I’m a computer virgin as well. I don’t know how to use a word processor. So in my excitement to begin putting my thoughts on paper, I pulled out my old typewriter from under the bed and placed it on the dining room table. Erma would be proud. My daughter was not. She insisted that I must use the computer if I plan to be a famous author one day. So we sat down together and began.

Of course I am going to be a writer. Me, mother of seven, grandmother of 19, performer at nursing homes, 30-year teaching veteran, queen for the day — and now a budding writer.

Her highness declares, “The best is yet to come!”


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