A Hotel Room of One’s Own

Posted Sep 15, 2017

New York Times’ bestselling author Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) tweets, “I cannot recommend this enough.”

Well, what writer can possibly turn down free room service? A maid? The solitude of time to write? On the banks of the Dayton Riviera, no less.

Parade.com broke the story nationally on Sept. 6 when the University of Dayton announced “A Hotel Room of One’s Own: Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program.” Writers selected for the inaugural residencies will receive a free registration to the April 5-7, 2018, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop as well as travel, hotel and meal expenses for a two-week experience of a lifetime. The Marriott at the University of Dayton is an in-kind sponsor for the program.

In a Q&A interview with Parade’s Nancy Berk, Los Angeles novelist and comedy writer Anna Lefler reflected on what inspired her to start the program for two humor writers.

“I can’t think of a more perfect kick-off to a residency than to surf that wave of workshop motivation and inspiration — right into your hotel room and onto the page. The vibe at the Erma workshop is truly remarkable; I’ve never seen anything approaching that combination of heartfelt encouragement and professional instruction,” she said. “I see why it’s been called “the Woodstock of comedy” — the attendees emerge every bit as blissed out, they’re just covered with brownie crumbs and sticky notes instead of mud.”

Berk also penned pieces for The Huffington Post, “Need an Excuse to Finish Your Comedy Project? Now There’s a Humor Residency with Free Room Service,” and HumorOutcasts.com, “No Joke!”

If you read only one funny list about writing comedy in a Dayton hotel room, let it be this hysterical Buzzfeed offering, “12 Things Humor Writers Can Do Alone in a Hotel Room.” #1 — You can answer the age-old question, “Just how long will a tiny soap last?”

Sharon Short interviewed Lefler for her “Literary Life” column in the Dayton Daily News on Sept. 10.

“I’ve observed how the Bombeck workshop is a magical experience,” Lefler said. “I realized how lucky I’ve been to juggle parenting and writing, and know it would be difficult to add a full-time job or other responsibilities to that mix. I also know that when I was able to say ‘I am a writer,’ that changed my life. So I wanted to give back to the workshop and to writers.”