My Mother Says I Am Funny
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My friend Dorkus and I just returned from a local writers’ conference where I felt alternately brilliant and stupid during the entire three days.

Dorkus is a most enjoyable traveling companion, being both sensible and possessing many unusual qualities that make for good writing fodder. Dorkus arranged for us to stay in her friend’s home, which she said was “rustic.”

I am completely unprepared for the 8 x 12 shack that first came into view. I feverishly begin to look for an outhouse as the place is so small it could not possibly have a toilet. Dorkus laughs hysterically at my dismay and tells me that I can stay in the woodshed if I like, but she will be staying in the cabin. I am overjoyed to see another structure across the expansive property; the setting is beautiful and the house/cabin very comfortable.

After I see the spotless cabin, I make a mental note to pick up after myself. We begin to prepare dinner and I confidently open the wine with the “rabbit ear” corkscrew that I brought along. The cork disappears into the bottle. This was not the plan and I try to dig it out and find that I am only able to spray wine all over the pristine white counter. I immediately clean up and apologize profusely while successfully knocking the entire bottle of peppercorns on the kitchen floor. I make more apologies and encourage Dorkus to gulp more wine.

Wanting to help, I begin to build a mighty fire, but this time I set off the piercing smoke alarm for a good five minutes. Dorkus begins on another glass of wine; she remarks the wine has hints of blackberry, cherry and cork. I am sure she is regretting inviting me but I am helpless to correct my bad behaviors. I seem to be unable to stop myself. I slink off to bed for the evening. In the morning I find I have accidentally turned the electric blanket on to “bake.” I wake up in a confused sweat but am ready to take on the authors/editors/agents at the conference.

We are somewhat delayed as my dear friend Dorkus can find nothing to wear. I seem to recall that I carried in several steamer trunks of her clothing; surely there is something to wear in one of the trunks. She parades out to show me one outfit after another. She wants to have just the right look for the conference.

Looking at my watch, I wonder aloud at her ability to make a “correct” fashion choice. After all, she is a twenty year veteran in the fashion industry. Dorkus dithers about and finally comes up with a fetching ensemble. I find it rather amusing that she borrows a necklace from my meager belongings to complete her look.

We meet many enjoyable people and lecturers at the conference and find at the end of the day after attending different seminars that we both seem to gravitate toward the same people. Did she meet Madam Red Hat, I ask? Yes, she did and enjoyed her very much. What about the woman named Shawn who was writing a humorous take on grief? Yes, she met her and got her number. This is all very satisfying and we trade information; we are both suitably impressed by the immense amount of talent at the conference.

I learned about famous authors who were rejected time and again only to send out one more manuscript, write one more article, or bribe a publisher with homemade jam before their initial acceptance into the publishing world. This was all good to know as I was soundly rejected by most of the editors but encouraged by all of my new-found friends. My favorite comment was, “There are lots of funny people, what is so different about your manuscript?” I unflinchingly tried to explain that my mother enjoyed my writing quite a bit, but the lecturer didn't seem impressed. At this point I felt very much like I had been rejected by one of the judges on “American Idol,” but I refused to be intimidated and told her to have a nice flight home. I hope she is sitting in coach next to a person who has the same penchant for spillage that I do.

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