Dear Southern Authors and our readership!
Yes, this is a Christmas letter to all of you! Ever since I have made my life an open book with the publication of my life story in books, “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life”, I have vowed to tell only the truth and nothing but the truth. After all it’s like that old adage, “The truth shall set you free!” So let me begin with what prompted me to write a Christmas letter.
I was decorating the last of the five Christmas trees in my house, upstairs in what we call our movie room, our other favorite pastime in the Patrick family besides books. I was cross-legged sitting half on the side table and arm of my chair when one 52 year old leg sprung loose and I was suddenly falling backwards towards the floor. My life did not quite flash before my eyes but I knew the landing was not going to be pretty. It was as if I was falling in slow motion, seriously. I turned to try to break by fall by putting down my hand but not fast enough. The back of my head hit the corner of my inch thick glass coffee table and I landed with a thud. The shock of pain hit my head and hand and I began wailing. As my high school old daughter, Madeleine, ran up the stairs to see what happened, I felt my head to see if a chunk wasn’t missing or if I was bleeding. Nope. My head was still intact and the coffee table was not broken. A miracle indeed as this past year of book release, book tour, and more has fluffed me up to marshmallow stage. To put it nicely, I have become quite fluffy. My weight alone in hitting that table should have caused considerable damage to my head and to my table.
Now I hurt, my head was throbbing; my arm seemed a little out of whack, as my wrist. I checked to see but nothing was broke so I counted my blessings that I am addicted to milk, strong bones my friends. I’m sobbing by now and Madeleine is asking me what happened, what happened. I am trying to explain and she’s laughing as she goes, “Momma are you alright?” As I crawled my way back up to a sitting position, I told her to quit laughing and get me some ice. A goose egg the size of a lemon was popping up on my head. She laughed all the way down the stairs.
First of all, what made that event so funny? Beats me but one thing I know, it could have been a whole lot worse, tragic actually. I could have died. Okay, so maybe that’s a tad bit melodramatic but as I write this, that glass coffee table still gives me the shivers, thus this Christmas letter.
Ever since my book was published this past January, I have had this sinking feeling that I better get my life down on paper. Weird premonition, whatever. I know I have a bunch to say, so let me begin.
Right after the New Year, I hit the road in a Texas Cadillac, (Excursion provided by my generous publisher), with four of my Pulpwood Queens in tow. We traveled ten states through the mid-south and south, 27 stops with sometimes eight events a day for my book tour. I mean how many authors get to go on book tour with their bestest friends, make that paid vacation with their bestest friends. I am counting my blessings having Grand Central Publishing as my publisher. We had a blast as I was doing BIG HAIR Makeovers at all the book store stops! What fun! Our Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Weekend was right smack dab in the middle of book tour and what was I thinking. It’s all a blur now but a happy blur!
Home at last and both my co-workers bailed out on me while I was gone. Alone again working at my Hair Salon/Book Store, Beauty and the Book but thankfully, many of you all came to visit me plus tons of Red Hatters, book clubs, and women having Girlfriend Weekends to my now hometown of Jefferson, Texas.
This past year I tried to prepare myself for my oldest daughter leaving for University of Texas at Tyler. I did not prepare myself well enough because I spent most of the early fall in crying jags missing my Lainie. She adjusted very well to the college experience, so well, she called us bright and early one Sunday morning to tell her father, sister, and I, if we wanted to see her bail out of an airplane at 10,000 feet to get our booties over to the Gladewater airport a.s.a.p. I have never dressed so fast and in fact, watched all ten of her college Outdoor Adventure Club members jump out of planes that day. My heart was literally in my hands and going ninety miles an hour praying as she jumped, parachuted, and leisurely drifted down to land successfully on sold ground. God is watching over for me and mine for sure my friends. And did I mention the tattoo?
Oh yes, my daughters just a couple weeks ago came to me to tell me something. I panicked. What’s up? Madeleine explains, “Don’t get mad Momma, but Lainie got a tattoo!” I flashed back to the sorority girl who pierced my ears with a needle and potato when I was working for my aunt at the Stillwater Country Club, one college summer and all of us waitresses were on break. My parents threw a major hissy fit and told me I had maimed my body for life. Only white trash got their ears pierced, what was I thinking? As I asked to see where she got the tattoo, praying to God it was NOT above her bootie crack or on a boob, she informed me it was on the instep of her foot. Wow, that had to hurt, I was thinking as I inquired, “What is the tattoo?” She showed me and all spelled out in gothic writing was, “THE THIRTY”. Aha, The Thirty was a heavy metal rock band, a Christian heavy metal rock band of which the members were also my daughter’s best friends. “Why Lainie, why? What if the band breaks up and for gosh sakes, you’re going to be a doctor! With a TATTOO!” Now I’m praying there won’t be any more, or piercings!
Then if the skydiving, tattoo wasn’t enough, my husband who I swear has been going through midlife crisis the past ten years, decides after watching Lainie skydive, that he’ll take back up getting his pilot’s license. Thanksgiving morning he was gone at the crack of dawn off flying. It was bad enough to have one bird leave the nest now the Jaybird was off flying into the wild blue yonder. What gives?
Did I mention my life with my youngest Madeleine? This past year she has been the Junior Varsity Mascot, Pup Pup, a Bulldog character. I have attended more football games and Pep Rallies than I care to mention and by somebody who hates football. Did I also mention we made the District Playoff’s so more hauling Madeleine and that big grey Bulldog costume around East Texas? Did I also mention it has been freezing cold?
By the last game, I finally got into it and we lost. I was screaming at the top of my lungs, “Blood makes the grass grow, KILL, KILL, KILL!” Again God was watching out for me because I was getting way too into the violence of that game.
Madeleine and I moved on. Screaming and crying, “NO, NO, NO, I will not take you and your girlfriends to the midnight showing of TWILIGHT! Over my dead body, Madeleine, for goodness, it’s a school night. I desperately need my beauty sleep. NO WAY!” 7:30 p.m. that evening we arrived at Marshall Cinema to stand in line for the twenty tickets left for the midnight showing. I was number nine.
I was going to hate this movie, after all, it was about vampires, and I hated all those vampire movies from the 70’s when I was in high school. I could remember, disgustingly, how the last vampire film I watched had a male vampire chasing another male vampire. They were just too pretty, you know what I mean. And I left in disgust after a girl vampire bit another girl vampire on the boob. I mean what was that all about?
To make matters worse, all of us parents from Jefferson and our teenage daughters had to sit on the front row. Talk about a neck crook. As the film, began I was all ready and waiting to hate this film then something happened. I was mesmerized by the characters and the story. I walked out in a daze as all the girls were talking about how they had to come back and see it again. All I knew was I had to read the books. Madeleine and I proceeded to read, (she was already almost finished on book one), all four of the books in one week. We bonded over Stephanie Meyer. I will be forever indebted for her giving me a common ground with my teenage daughter who nothing I do normally seems to please her. We have spent hours talking about the books, the characters, and both think that the Edward character is just about the finest thing to ever walk this planet besides Johnny Depp.
Somehow I have managed to survive this entire year. I have lived to tell the tale and now hard at work on not one but two books. I am alternating between another non-fiction book, “The Pulpwood Queens’ Guide to Reading for a Higher Purpose” and my first novel called “Eureka!” As I have said before, I have a lot to say and feel like time is NOT on my side. Pray for me!
Did I also mention this past year I have done the coolest thing I have ever done, I am teaching a life writing class at the homeless shelter, Newgate Mission in Longview, Texas? I have initiated as President of the Jefferson Rotary Club, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program here in Marion County which provides books to new borns until they start school, a book a month. I also now have over 200 chapters of The Pulpwood Queens up and running from Anchorage, Alaska, to the Jersey shore, from Florida to California and ever where in between and not. I also have members and chapters in eight foreign countries with a chapter soon in works, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
My life has been blessed from reading books. As I traverse this country this next year speaking to library associations. Friends of Library Association, Rotary Clubs, (I’m President here), churches and more, don’t think I let everybody know that it’s all because I have been blessed because I am a reader. I may never be rich, moneywise, in my lifetime, but I am enriched because of my family, friends, authors, and books. Okay, this Christmas letter I was going to work in all the skeletons in my closet but that door is going to remain closed. Who has the time to read a 10,000 page book! Nobody can be as up as me to not have their down times too! But I refuse to let my dysfunction get in the way focusing on the FUN in my life. Life is fun and even funner, is that a word, if you become a real reader!
Thanks for inviting me into this southern author book family. Again God has blessed me BIG TIME!
May you all have a Merry Christmas and that may be politically incorrect but so am I. I pray to God, I salute our flag, and I am proud to be a Christian! Thank God we live in America where we are free to make our own choices. May you also make the right choices and choose the right path. I assure you I have stumbled many, many times, but always turn to God, who is leading my way!
Now on to truly celebrating Jesus birth and decorating my shop for Christmas! I’m only doing one tree and standing up the entire time, so no worries. Pray for me anyway!
Tiara wearing and Book sharing,
Kathy L. Patrick
Founder of the Pulpwood Queens Book Clubhttp://www.beautyandthebook.com/www.pulpwoodqueen.com
P.S. The blonde is my oldest daughter, Helaina, and the brunette is my youngest Madeleine with her peeps!