Tuesday, July 3, 2012

BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME --

July 3, 2012


When I started this blog, several weeks ago, I promised that I’d try to feed it regularly and care for it properly.  So far, I’ve written three whole posts, and they’ve all been about me. My life, my rescue animals, my garden, my philosophy.  Well, that’s what I thought it was supposed to be about, but I’ve already had enough of me to last a while.  I mean – I pretty much love being me.  I love taking care of critters and planting stuff and writing stories.  I love my family and living on a farm and milking goats and all that.  But I’m ready to talk about somebody else. 
I have a long list of people I’d love to talk about for one reason or another, and the first is Kathy Patrick, over in Jefferson, Texas.



For those of you who don’t know, Kathy is the creator of the biggest “reading and discussing” book club in the world.  The woman is a dynamo, and when she gets an idea – look out.  Things start to happen.
Back in 2000, Kathy was in between jobs, tossing about for something to do, and she came up with the notion of incorporating her two passions: doing hair and reading books.  The result was Beauty and the Book (the only hair salon/book store anywhere) and the Pulpwood Queens Book Club. 



The shop is a marvel – full to bursting with books and movie posters and baubles and oh-my-God Wonderful Stuff. There’s an autographed door that authors, famous and unknown, have signed.  And you might brush against some lovely hanging gown or masquerade costume.  Feathers for your hair?  She’s got ‘em.  As small as the place is, you’ll never see it all, even if you go back every week, because Kathy keeps rearranging the mix, and more keeps coming in.  It’s a tiny treasure hunter’s paradise – so much so that you don’t even see the beauty salon paraphernalia until Kathy points you to a chair and informs you that “We’ve got to do something with your hair”.     
 As for the book club?  It started out with just a handful of members, and now there are well over 500 chapters – all over the United States and in fifteen foreign countries.  There’s even a chapter in a women’s prison in Alaska! 
Every January, hundreds of women (and a few men, mostly spouses) congregate in Jefferson for what’s known as Girlfriend Weekend.  A two day extravaganza where readers and authors come together to talk books and play dress-up and party.  It’s one of those “You can sleep when you get home” kind of things, and by the time the ladies pack up to leave, they’re already talking about what they’re going to wear next year. 
But while you’re there – oh, while you’re there – book nuts are getting to visit with their favorite authors (Pat Conroy, anyone?  How about Fannie Flagg?  The list goes on.)  And new authors are making friends with prospective fans.  In the meantime, there’s a book room set up where attendees can buy books and have them signed on the spot – and, everywhere you look – there’s food.  Glorious food.
Then there’s Kathy.  Running the show.  Welcoming the world the same way she welcomes a friend (or stranger) into her shop.  With a dazzling smile and open arms.
So, yeah – let’s talk about Kathy Patrick. Warm.  Beautiful.  Outlandish.  Magical.  And the best friend readers and writers ever had.

10 comments:

  1. AMEN Jenny! In this day and age of changes in publishing, one thing is constant...Kathy Patrick's loyal support of writers and helping to connect them with readers. She is a gift to us all.

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    1. You are so right. So many good things happen for all of us because of her. After all, that's how I met YOU! Thanks for reading and commenting, Michael!

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  2. I love reading about EVERYTHING you love!

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    1. Good! I'll write about you soon, because I love you a bunch. Plus, the work you do to help and guide writers is amazing.

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  3. What a WONDERFUL post, Jenny. I just heard about Pulpwood Queens Book Club earlier this year on Twitter. How fun to learn more about the magical woman behind it. I would LOVE to attend the January extravaganza. Sounds like a blast!

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  4. Oh, you have to come to Girlfriend Weekend! Can you possibly make it? Just say yes -- and then find yourself a flapper dress -- or make one. You've never had so much fun!

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  5. Jenny,
    I have never posted to an author's blog before. I just woke up this morning to finish the last few pages of your book (yes I fall asleep reading even when I do not want to). I did not want it to end. I am a librarian and library director in North Hampton, New Hampshire, and have not read a book I loved this much in a very long time. You are right about the time and setting being magical. I loved this book for so many reasons. I woke up telling myself I ought to be opening my scriptures and not a novel, but when I finished the last few pages I felt I had been reading the Good Word. When Samuel says he had been too busy being about the Lord's business to teach his children to swim and then realized that watching them laugh and grow was doing the Lord's business, I knew that not all scripture was in the Bible. I loved this book on so many levels. It seems like one of the rare books where you know the author gave birth to it, and did not just have an intellectually self-motivating mental fart to produce it. I hope you are not offended if I make a comparison to To Kill a Mockingbird because I feel this book should share a shelf with Harper Lee's "baby" as well. I am more than hoping you will write another book about the Moses Clan, or something of equal worth to you that will inspire and uplift us all. So little is out there these days of this quality which is why I have to make a nasty confession that I do not read as much as I used to. I am of the age where when I take my precious time to sit down and read I want to be either entertained or inspired, and you hit both nails on the head. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book. I'm going to share it with everyone I possibly can.

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  6. Looked up your blog because I so enjoy your book. Looks like your editor gave instructions--connect with your readers on social media. Also looks like you're about as stubborn as Swan and can't be forced.
    Anyway, just wanted to say that although I'm sure we disagree on most everything you're not supposed to discuss at dinner,(the 1950s was the dullest, most mediocre, most stultifying decade of the century in my opinion, and I lived through most of them) we do share interests in both gardening and rescue animals. And I love your writing, so fresh and full of energy. Engaging characters a reader must either love or hate passionately. Terrifying and hilarious episodes. Thank you for writing so well, giving us this literary treat.

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  7. I loved The Homecoming of Samuel Lake. As several reviewers on Amazon.com will attest, it is not a simple story or an "easy read." You wrote a fascinating book that will, I predict, become an exceptional film. The love between the characters, and oh the richness of your characters, was the best part of the book for me. I look forward to more of your books! (I also have a paragraph or two about your book in my blog this week {http://mlisreader.wordpress.com/}).

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  8. I LOVE your book! I am an original Pulpwood Queen and agree with you, Kathy is amazing. If you ever consider taking on a menthe, please consider me. Ask Kathy if you need a reference. My name is Mandy (Arnold) Cauley and I'm stuck with my writing. I really need a mentor to read a bit of what I have and say, "This one, finish this one." If that is even possible. Please contact me at mandy3vb@yahoo.com if you would consider helping me. I live in Ruston, LA...not far from Jefferson.

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