Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Ran Off with the Circus

by Nicole Seitz
Some of the most unexpected blessings of my entire writing journey have been the people I've met and friendships formed along the way. Not something you'd expect to hear from a girl who, on her kindergarten report card, had "Cannot throw a ball" and "Does not play well with others."

I've come a long way, baby. My husband makes this puppet-moving-mouth movement with his hand when I talk too much...to strangers. I like strangers. They're strange, just like me. And over the past several years, strangers are becoming my fastest, bestest friends. Let me explain.

Ringmaster, Kathy Patrick
 Last weekend, I ran away to the circus. Really. If having the time of your life, dressing up in costumes and laughing the nights away with a bunch of clowns and animal tamers is the circus, then I'm not lying. I am still riding high after an amazing trip to Jefferson, TX, where every year the Pulpwood Queens book clubs congregate to party down at Girlfriend's Weekend. Kathy Patrick, friend to all, is the mastermind and Energizer bunny behind all of this. She was probably the girl in kindergarten that everyone fought to sit next to. She is a magnet for good times and fellowship, and people flock to her and the the quaint historic town of Jefferson.

This was my third straight year of attendance, and for me, it just keeps getting better and better because of the PEOPLE! I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed visiting with friend Shellie Rushing Tomlinson (author of SUE ELLEN AIN'T FAT, SHE JUST WEIGHS HEAVY). We met three years ago at the same Jefferson Convention center--I was dressed as a cicada Barbie with wings and she was a rainbow. We just hit it off. This time, we sat talking in Beje's Diner with Christian karaoke going on in the background dressed in pink prom attire. It was just what we needed.
Me, Shellie, Lisa Wingate, Carla Stewart, Marybeth Whalen

I also got to spend time with other amazing authors and friends, River Jordan, Michael Morris (I bought his wife's painting in the silent auction), Karen Harrington, Kathryn Casey, Marybeth Whalen, Lisa Wingate, Carla Stewart, Judy Christie, Marcia Fine...okay, I'll stop here, because the list is just too long, but you get the point! And I haven't even mentioned the Pulpwood Queens who have touched my heart year after year!

Jimmy Moomaw, author of

In addition to some old friends I've made along my writing journey, I got to make some new ones. I cannot name them all, but let I'll give you some highlights: driving author Robert Hicks (THE WIDOW OF THE SOUTH) around and around between Shreveport and Jefferson, missing my turns because he's such an amazing storyteller. Being outfitted by the lovely Pulpwood Queens of Eureka (and Woodlands) in a pink prom dress, gloves and silver shoes. Staying at the Benefield House Bed and Breakfast and being spoiled by sweet owner Donna. Visiting last year's bed and breakfast, Steamboat Inn, just to visit with those sweet owners. Meeting Jimmy Moomaw, who turned 75 years old with us and told me to buy her book "Because it's really good. No crap." I liked her frank style and the way she boogied on the dance floor so I bought that book and cannot wait to read it. And how could I forget talking about how I missed my family back home with author William Torgenson (LOVE ON THE BIG SCREEN), and learning he turned sentimental on me and went to call his own family after our chat.

The point is, I never knew playing with others was so much fun. What was I afraid of before? What's amazing to me, is that when it comes to a love of books, people seem to be able to reach a deeper level of intimacy quicker, and therefore, the relationships seem more meaningful. I have become more open to others because of writing my books and I've learned to reach out and truly connect. Of course, I realize there is a divine hand at play because the connections seem so poignant and perfectly timed. All in all, I am blessed with many people I truly care about now, and that is a far cry from the girl who, not so long ago, liked to keep to herself behind a computer screen. I'm fairly sure when I'm too old to remember any of the titles of my books, I'll still have some of these friends around to haunt me with freakish photos from our weekends in Jefferson. Knowing me, I'll just invent my own past and convince myself I really did run away to the circus. And you know, that doesn't seem like such a bad way to go.


Nicole Seitz's latest novel releases on January 31, BEYOND MOLASSES CREEK. She is the author of five other novels and often paints elements of her book covers. She lives in Charleston, SC, with her sweet family. Visit her web site at http://www.nicoleseitz.com/ or find her on Facebook and Twitter.


Pulpwood Queens of Eureka, Pam and Heidi


Anonymous said...

In terms of communication theory, people connect faster and deeper because of our consubstantiality - "being of one substance with" - or "shared experience." It is the stuff that makes strangers - acquaintances; acquaintances - friends; friends - lovers. I knew the first time we made eye contact, that I liked you and we could be friends. And it was so. And I am beyond pleased to have a new friend who plays so well with others.

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reneaw said...

What a wonderful post. Looks like a good time was had by all. Thanks Kathy for all you do to promote reading, and to encourage authors around the world. Hugs.

Kathy L. Patrick said...

I know how hard it is to truly capture our Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Weekend but Nicole did a fantabulous job in doing just so. It's the book loving party I would want to attend and one thing that needs to be said. You can have the time of your life and pay it forward too. We gave away $7,000 away to area schools for their libraries, our Author Silent Auction raised just over $3,000 with half going to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library project and the other half for our yearly literacy initiatives including Pulpwood Queen Scholarship for our students and to scholarship those doing outstanding literacy programs to come to our weekend. We also recognized those Pulpwood Queens running chapters around the country that were doing amazing literacy endeavors. Everybody wins that comes to Girlfriend Weekend. As writers are batteries are recharged, as readers we have the opportunity to meet those authors we so admire and discover new ones, and we pay it forward big time.
So next year the theme of the weekend is THE GILDED AGE, (turn of the century to the 1920's, come join the Wonderful World of The Pulpwood Queens Book Club, www.beautyandthebook.com. Magic is there if you look for it and now you can look no further.
Tiara wearing and Book sharing!

txrose said...

Enjoyed reading your blog of our times at Girlfriend Weekend. Nothing like it!! Was so wonderful to talk with you. Especially loved hearing more about "The Spirit of Sweet Grass". Loved it. Will be looking forward to reading your new book. Hope to see you next year!!

River jordan said...

What a great post. Snagging this picture of you and Shellie to post on the Clearstory Radio page. So sorry I missed you but for those who'd like to hear a little more about Pulpwood Queen weekend they can tune in today at Noon at www.clearstoryradio.com
The stories of the weekend never end. And everyone walks away inspired. THanks for sharing this with all of us!

Shellie Tomlinson said...

Dearest Nicole,I have every intention of blogging about PQ this week at my place, but I do declare I may just title it "What Nicole said" and link back to this. Well done. THX!!!!

Judy said...

What a wonderful description of a wonderful weekend, Nicole. This is an amazing event for readers and writers -- and shows how one person, following her passion, changes the world. Thanks, Kathy!
Judy Christie

Real Exams said...

I always take much care while talking strangers.

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