Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Today is An Army of Ermas Day!
When I was a kid, I was an advanced reader. In 1970's terminology, this means "finished the kids' section at the library before age eight." Fortunately, I was the spawn of parents that were avid readers themselves. They let me check out books from the grownup section, and they had a wall of books in the rec room, which meant I had immediate access to all kinds of things that many adults would have been astonished to see children reading.
Inevitably, I gravitated towards Erma Bombeck. Partly, it was the hilarious titles that drew me in. I was smart enough to know what a septic tank was and just WHY the grass was greener above it. I understood the pun involved with cherries and life being the pits. So there were plenty of times when I lay curled in my bed to read about Erma's adventures (her name was pretty funny, too) in suburbia, with PTO moms, Little League, kids, and her long-suffering husband. Even as a ten-year-old, I knew that Erma was funny.
Fast forward about thirty or so years, when I got an email from Stacey Graham, about a new project she was starting up. Stacey and I have "known" each other online for several years, thanks to being part of Absolute Write. We've hit it off pretty much from the beginning, and watched each others' careers and lives evolve. Stacey's a busy woman - in addition to raising a tribe of amazing daughters who all look just like her, she is a fellow Jane Austen addict who hunts ghosts, cooks a ton of granola, comes up with zombie haiku, and writes some pretty nifty books.
So all of a sudden Stacey announces that she's got this idea. And it had nothing to do with zombies or granola.
In fact, it had to do with living everyday life, and finding the humor in it. It was an idea for a collection of pretty entertaining people to put together a collection of pretty funny stories, touching on all the things that make our lives what they are. Kids, spouses, jobs, road trips -- in fact, it was a project that Erma Bombeck herself would be proud of. In an homage to Erma's sense of humor, Stacey's idea was that we were putting together an entire Army of Ermas, of all different backgrounds, shapes and sizes -- and yes, there are even a few Dude Ermas.
When I first heard about it, I was pretty busy with other projects (yes, National Novel Writing Month, I'm lookin' at YOU) and was unable to commit right off the bat. Within a couple of months of seeing other contributions, I thought to myself that this was indeed something I wanted to be part of, and so I made the time to participate. I'm in good company, with a number of folks who make me laugh out loud every time I read their words.
I'm honored to be an Erma. It's a chance for someone who grew up reading Erma Bombeck's stories to pay a little bit of tribute to one of the great humor writers of her generation. Equally important, it's a chance for me to be part of a project I truly enjoy, with people I genuinely like and respect. Stacey, thanks for that. Thanks for letting me hang out on the nice little green patch over the septic tank.
And the rest of you, if you haven't had a chance yet, go check out our little corner of the Internet at An Army of Ermas, and thank Stacey for all the hard work she's put into this amazing and hilarious project!
Want to read some more Ermas in the wild? Visit these other contributors, and see how they're celebrating An Army of Ermas Day:
Terri Lynn Coop