The Apron is Mightier than the Pen

The most inspiring author? She was a 50s housewife, her kids drove her crazy, and her typical suburban life could have been called boring.  Yet Erma Bombeck found humor in everyday existence and wrote about life’s joys, challenges, disappointments, even death, inspiring millions of readers through her syndicated newspaper columns, magazine articles, books, and TV appearances. As a young writer and mother, I was one of those inspired fans.

 Categorized as an “American humorist,” Erma Bombeck made writing seem fun and easy, even though humor is a very difficult genre.  She encouraged others to write and her success gave writers hope that even the seemingly mundane can have monumental meaning.  From childbirth to mid-life crisis, carpools to breast cancer, Erma Bombeck mixed sarcasm with understanding of human nature.  Her husband, children, neighbors, and mother-in-law were not her targets but her favorite (if flawed) characters.

 My favorite book may be The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, but Erma’s If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits, helped me not only see the humor in motherhood and marriage, but encouraged me to pick up a pen and write.  Erma died in 1996 and I had to continue to raise my children and write without her wisdom and wit.  But, that’s the best part about being a writer: The words you put onto paper (or disc/flash drive/digital memory) can last forever, just like Erma’s words:

 “When humor goes, there goes civilization.”

 (To learn more about Erma Bombeck’s life and works, visit

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1 Comment »

  • Nicole Wittenburg says:

    Wow Janet! Great post. You really got me interested in this writer, and I am checking out the link right now. Isn’t it amazing how reading inspires writing?


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