Several of us hit our humor limit after dinner last night, crept off to bed, and didn't emerge until "second period" this morning. I have to disagree with Commander Cody; at a humor writing conference, you can have too much fun.
Today's seminars were the best of the bunch. I did "Yoga for Your Funnybone" with Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant of accidentalcomic.com. Leigh Anne, from Eugene, OR, via Abilene, TX, focuses on standup and quip-filled books. (Leigh Anne won the 2004 Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Content with a piece about her first mammogram, at which the x-ray machine caught fire with her, er, clamped in it.) During one of her humor exercises, I wrote and performed a short stand-up piece on "jealousy, shame, depression and comedy writing." (People laughed, and even applauded!)
The lunch speaker was Asheville, NC, newspaper columnist Susan Reinhardt, notorous for her Southern bad-girl persona. Her outrageous tales of family and redneck neighbors are syndicated and her first book is out: Not Tonight, Honey -- Wait Til I'm a Size 6. She explained the title original referred to a size 10, but the publisher changed it so it would work for New York readers, who think that size 10 is grossly obese. I found Reinhardt a tad over-the-top, but it was sure fun watching the (mostly mid-western) audience figure out what to make of her.
After lunch, I caught Gordon Kirkland again. I'd thought he was a bit diffuse at the luncheon presentation yesterday, but he was fabulous with the smaller group. I don't think I've laughed so much in years. A Canadian (from Vancouver, B.C.), he at one point in his pre-humorist career worked as a writer in the Trudeau administration in Ottawa. The office secretary was French Canadian and not always comfortable with colloquial English. He recalled the day she answered the phone and told the English-speaking caller looking for his subordinate, "I'm sorry, Linda eez busy right now. Would you like to talk with Gordon Kirkand? He eez on top of her."