Everything good that has ever happened in my life is because I have been a reader. Being a reader is a part of me as my slightly crooked front tooth, the fact that I bite my fingernails, and that I am slightly pigeon toed. But I never knew you could make a living from being a reader, that came much later to me in life. All I know is what I have learned through my mistakes only now I use the word "discoveries. Funny how that sounds so much better. I have discovered you just don't quit your day job and for me that being a hairdressing bookseller.
When I was growing up education was always stressed in our family home. I never knew what I wanted to be as all the things that interested me were things that I never dreamed you could make a living from, but I tried. I grew up in the city pool, my dad managed it, so we kids were swimming as babies. I eventually became a lifeguard. Great job as you could work on your tan and get paid. For me that was $2 an hour at the Eureka Country Club. Sounds like not much but I could fill up my VW bug on three bucks, but that kind of job kind of peters out after college. This was years before I learned their were professional lifeguards, okay, but the television series Baywatch made me realize that was NOT going to be a possibility. I love art, creating, but everybody knows being an art major is the kiss of death as far as jobs are concerned. So what do I do, I go to Kansas State University and become a Design major. Well, you can dream can't you but it sure doesn't pay the bills.
After my second year of college my mother informed me I needed to get a REAL job to help pay my way through college. So after checking out the job market for a two year college student I pretty quickly learned that cooking hamburgers at McDonald's, (they turned me down as being overqualified), I needed to get a serious career. I dropped out of college and became a hairdresser. Makes sense, right? I know you are laughing.
No, seriously, becoming a cosmetologist was a legit way of making some big bucks. Vidal Sassoon was on the rise and Farrah Fawcett had driven young girls in droves to salons to emulate that iconic cut. I excelled at beauty school and became a graduate of Crum's Beauty College in Manhattan, Kansas. This was to be a means to the end of me getting a REAL education. I could work my way through college doing hair.
Fast forward to years of searching for my life work, in and out of colleges, seven to be exact to end up with my dream job of becoming a book publisher's representative. (You have to read my book to get the back story which will be mentioned up ahead).
Ah ha, you could make a living from being a REAL reader. Then I got fired, downsized, was how my boss explained it. The big box chains had come in to independent bookstore territory and were shutting them down by the dozens including pretty much all in my four state client base. I was back to square one.
That is where my book begins, "The Pulpwood Queens' Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life", my life story of how books have saved me over and over again. My beginning chapter began with getting fired and I aptly titled the chapter, "When Life Hands You a Lemon, Forget Lemonade, Make Margaritas", well I paraphrased that chapter title as it has been some time, 2008, since that book was published. I ended up going back to cutting and coloring hair. Yes, that's right I opened my Beauty and the Book, the ONLY Hair Salon/Book Store in the country.
So that's my day job, I do hair and talk and sell books! I love it! I have combined my two passions, creating art, (doing hair), and talking books!
Now my Daddy always told me it never hurts to learn a trade with your hands, that advice has served me well but it is books that have taken me all the places I never dreamed I would go. Or the people I would meet...including Diane Sawyer of Good Morning America, see photo above. You see my book club that I started shortly after I opened Beauty and the Book, The Pulpwood Queens, has become the largest "meeting and discussing" book club in the WORLD! 516 chapters, folks, coast to coast, everywhere inbetween and in over a dozen foreign countries. Diane even asked me and my book club to help Charlie Gipson and her kick off their READ THIS Book Club on Good Morning America. Who would have ever dreamed that this small town Kansas girl now an East Texan turned hairdressing bookseller would ever have that kind of opportunity.
Then I just recently was sponsored by Random House Publishing to film 12 episodes of an online book club talk show, Beauty and the Book, www.beautyandthebookshow.com
! Who knew I would be flying to California to do shows with the likes of Janelle Brown, Lisa See, and Fannie Flagg, see photo above, and many more from my shop like, Susan Vreeland, Paula McLain, Karen Abbott, Anna Quinlen, and the like. Oh, the places reading good books can take you!
Then I have this annual Pulpwood Queen Book Club Convention every year called Girlfriend Weekend. The last two years have brought the likes of Pat Conroy, about fifty authors every year to this sold out venue, see photo of my Pulpwood Queen SIRENS of Katy, Texas!
We won't even mention or perhaps we will the Pulpwood Queen literacy adventures to Europe, trip to Monroeville, Alabama for the 50th Anniversary of "To Kill a Mockingbird", (my favorite book), or cruising to the Bahamas, and now our trip to England in December of this year with The Pulpwood Queens of Houston!
Now back to my day job, doing hair and selling books. Running the hair salon part is easy. I have a client base that is spread far and wide. Authors mecca in to my shop and book club groups too. We always have fun. The book part is hard, no doubt about it. I learned right away that the only true books I sell are local, regional, and Pulpwood Queen Book Club Selections so that is what I carry. But even selling those has become a daily battle. With online book sales offering the moon and e-readers, my only course of action is hand selling big time. Now I can talk books all day and night but I need people to come to my shop to do that so why not plan a literary road trip to my little ole independent bookstore/hair salon! We'll leave the hair dryer on for ya and recently have become a jewelry store too! We have many Pulpwood Queen branded items for sale. I only sell what I truly believe in so I think my shop is the best kept secret in the country, perhaps the world afterall, we are the WORLD WIDE HEADQUARTERS OF THE PULPWOOD QUEENS!
Everything I carry I believe is a treasure. This is my life's work creating beauty and sharing books. I may never have known what I was going to be when I grew up but God did have a big plan for me and I know now it's all centered around Beauty and the Book! So again, don't quit your day job, you never know where it may take you!!!
Tiara wearing and Book sharing,
Kathy L. Patrick
, official website!
, official book club talk show site!
, official blog site!
, official Girlfriend Weekend site!
, official Christian Book and Author Event site!
P.S. Check us out on Facebook under Beauty and the Book and Kathy L. Patrick. I'm on Twitter too under Pulpwoodqueen!