Friday, September 25, 2009

The Pulpwood Queen's Reading and Writing Life for Me!

Oh, The Reading and Writing Life for Me!

I am not your typical writing author. Though I write everyday, I would much rather promote other author’s books. I toot my own horn loudly, but am I comfortable doing it, no way. It’s a lot more fun to toot someone else’s horn, kind of like it’s a lot more fun to clean somebody else’s house, but I digress, as usual.

For those that don’t know, I own a hair salon/book store, Beauty and the Book, the ONLY one in the country, perhaps the world, here in the piney woods of East Texas. We are not on the grand scale of the author sending literary map but I get my fair share of authors here as I offer FREE COMPLIMENTARY hair services besides hosting their book events. Now what other bookstore offers that kind of benefit, I ask you? I have a captive audience for selling books because as I cut, color, and style women and men’s hair, I talk those books, BIG TIME!

“Okay, Larry, just a trim as usual?”

“That’s right Kathy, maybe a little shorter over the ears. It grows like crazy there.”

“Great, will do” as I cape him up and start clipping, “so heard you took a little trip to Vegas? Get in any reading?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact. Kay was reading “South of Broad” by Pat Conroy. She couldn’t put the book down and read it on the way out loud. I got lost in the story too.”

Okay, now I have successfully transferred all thoughts of hair beauty to the beauty of books. I am in the door, pitching our next great read, “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett, our selection for October for the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Clubs that I founded nearly ten years ago.

Now nothing pleases me more than giving a great hair cut or style. I am one hairdresser that takes great pride in my work. Shoot, I want these people to not only be happy but to come back to my shop again and again. What a novel thought! I also know that when they do, I will also be talking up books.

Years ago, I did the same thing with my hair salon, Town & Country Headquarters in my hometown of Eureka, Kansas but I was not a book store too. I talked books to everyone who came in and loaned half of everything I recommended. I learned an important lesson. Never loan a book that you ever want to see again. Half the people never returned the books. So when I opened my hair salon/book store, I now SELL the books I recommend and therefore, my library stays intact. There is nothing worse than to lose forever your first edition copy of any book, signed by one of your favorite authors to a friend. But my friends, life is about relationships and the lesson in this story is that no matter how much you love a book, the friendship is more important period. I solved that problem by just selling them the book and if I loan it, I say my own private goodbye to that book. You can imagine my delight when a friend actually returns a book. I have always perceived books too as my best friends so we are reunited at last! Serendipity!

I also believe in the power of the story. Coming from a family of storytellers, I get real excited when I read those first words in a book and I make a connection with the story. I can honestly tell you that I love all the books that I have made OFFICIAL Pulpwood Queen Book Club selections and listed all books that I have selected from inception to publication of my book in my first book, “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life”, Grand Central Publishing. I call my book “the little book that could”. Because I think I can, I think I can, until I know I can make reading known that this pastime is quite simply the best entertainment in the world.

This week has been a big week for me as a lover of the printed word. In one day, I hosted the First Lady of Houston, author, Andrea White who brought a whole busload of bookloving women to my shop as part of her East Texas Conversations Tour as her husband, Mayor Bill White is running for U.S. Senate. It was and always is an honor to host a public reception for anyone running for public office. Bookstores should not only be a place to promote the literary word but should be a meeting place for the community on all things that promote the spoken word and public policy too! As Andrea handed out FREE her latest book to all attended I was overwhelmed by her generosity and kind spirit.

The next thing that happened was I was invited to speak at the Alabama Book Festival on my book and promoting literacy. I am always amazed how people hear of me far and wide, usually by word of mouth from friend. I happen to believe that I have some fine friends in Alabama and if you are reading this and responsible, I would like to thank you in person. I have many, many dear friends in Alabama and wrote all about this today at I hope we will check out my web blog and read it too.

Next, I was contacted by a film entertainment production company in California about the possibility of a reality show based upon me and my Beauty and the Book. Now I have been on television a lot, it’s thrilling, scary, and fleeting. I have had more than my fifteen minutes of Andy Warhol fame. But I still get excited about the possibilities because as I see it, here is yet another big way to help promote authors, books, and reading! I hope it works out but if it doesn’t, I still have my good works to do regardless of promoting authors, books, and reading.

And last, one of my dear author friends emailed to inform me my favorite author in the country would be attending my annual Girlfriend Weekend and with an author entourage! I can now die one happy woman but I don’t plan on doing it any time soon. I have a lot of literacy promoting work to do!

You see, after six years of writing my book to publication, I learned the most valuable lesson of my life. Put God first in your life and everything becomes really, really clear on how your life’s path should go. I have veered off the path more times than I cared to mention but it was not until I finished my book and read it as if for the first time, I realized that my life is not about me. What a revelation! It’s about what God has given me as my gifts and talents and what I should do with them. I do believe my gift is to promote reading. It’s my life mission. It’s about service above self. My service to all of you is to promote authors, books, and reading. I am your resource, I am your encourager, I give my life to God and the power of the printed word.

At the same time I am writing another book but this one is not for me, this book is for you. I call it “The Pulwpood Queens Guide to Reading and Writing for a Higher Purpose”. Because all my life I have been a reader but it wasn’t until I wrote my own story that I really got it. Life is about the story, the relationships with others. It is not about what kind of car you drive, where you live, how much you own. Life is about friendships and sharing our stories.

You see everybody has a story. Everybody has a story to tell, if not for you, for your family and friends. And if you don’t write your story, or record it, or tell it, a library of you has been lost to all your family and friends. Everybody is important, it’s just some of us have a way of telling a story that transforms lives. I think of Pat Conroy immediately when I think of the power of a great storyteller, or Rick Bragg, or Barbara Kingsolver, or Michael Morris, or you. Won’t you join me on the reading and writing life? I know because of all my author friend’s, I found out I was not alone. I have found that with my book club members, though I am a flawed queen, I have found the greatest relationships of my life. These women and men are so important to me and lift me places I never dreamed I could go.

As we embark on this fall season, let’s join together to become a nation of readers, a nation of readers who promote reading and relationships and leave the hate and cruelty of this world behind. I have a story and so do you. I do believe that when we come together as one, there is nothing that can stop us in making this world a better place. I have a dream too, and so do you. Let’s make dreams come true because as in the fairy tales of my youth, I always loved the happy ending!

Tiara wearing and Book sharing,
Kathy L. Patrick
Author of “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life”, Grand Central Publishing
Founder of the Pulpwood Queens Book Clubs
P.S. I also invite all of you to attend my biggest event ever, the 10th Anniversary of my annual Pulpwood Queen hosted book club convention which we call our Girlfriend Weekend Author Extravaganza, January 13 – 17, 2010. With over 50 of the best in authors, speakers, actors, and musicians featured, we are offered an author workshop, two full days of author panels, two nights of the best entertainment including Friday night our Happy 50th Birthday Barbie Party with a Barbie Fashion Show featuring all our authors, Saturday night our infamous GREAT BIG BALL OF HAIR celebrating the 70th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz themed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, and a Sunday Wine Down Party all in historic Jefferson, Texas. Email me at and all send you all the details!
P.P.S. Photo of First Lady of Houston and Author, Andrea White and her entourage at Beauty and the Book in Jefferson, Texas!


Shelby said...

Thank you for this. You spoke to me in my language out loud on the page.

I'm writing my story.

Ad Hudler said...

You have so much energy is humbles me! 'Can't wait to join y'all this winter in TX.
Ad Hudler