Wednesday, March 11, 2009

All Hail the Pulpwood Queen--It's Kathy Patrick

Kathy Patrick started a little Texas bookstore called Beauty and the Book and then a tiara-wearing book club called The Pulpwood Queens that went global. Because of her mission to “get the world reading” Kathy’s notoriety has newspapers, magazines, documentaries, and broadcast media—including Oprah’s Oxygen station-- talking about her the world over. But now her life is an open book as she tells her story within the pages of her own book The Pulpwood Queens Tiara Wearing Book Sharing Guide to Life—yes, we’re giving away an autographed copy Saturday. So here on Words to Go—Here Comes Trouble! Please welcome with me, Kathy Patrick, the Pulpwood Queen herself!

KATHY: Thank you, Patty, for having me.

PATTY: Kathy, you and I recently had a great off-the-cuff discussion that really was the impetus for this week’s theme. Would you like to share a bit about some of the ways you were a stand-out as a kid?

KATHY: When I was a kid, yes, I dressed a little bit different. My favorite outfit in the 5th grade was a Sears pink uncut corduroy jumper, white Peter Pan blouse worn with purple knee high socks and clear acrylic go-go boots. I wore on the top my sage green plaid coat with built in neck scarf with fringe and a real leopard beret with black python band that I swiped from my mother’s closet.

PATTY: Sure, just the normal attire of a fifth grader.

KATHY: I spent my lunch hour not at recess but up on the stage in the gym dancing with my girlfriends to 45’s on the record player. I did the Freddy, the twist, the jerk, the pony, but my favorite was swing dancing to Beatle songs and The Beach Boys.

PATTY: Those were the days.

KATHY: My favorite subject was art and reading and my teacher had me do all the backdrops for school plays and usually had the lead part in the play too. I was a pre-teen drama queen so move over Lindsay Lohan.

PATTY: Look out! Now, you had your own way of rebelling against kick ball too.

KATHY: Yes, instead of playing kickball, I played with my Troll dolls under this one specific tree that had this great base with a hole that we use to pretend they lived in. My best friend’s name was Debbie and we both liked the color blue, Girl Scouts, and building forts and tree houses. We did not have much time for girly girl stuff but enjoyed riding our bikes and having slumber parties. I was a model student though because I thought teachers were the most incredible women I had ever met. I never wanted to look bad in their eyes, they were just too important.

PATTY: I hear you. I idolized my teachers too. I asked Shellie Thomlinson yesterday—her book also a PWQ selection—what she was thankful for. So I’d like to ask you the same thing.

KATHY: All the relationships I have made since I opened Beauty and the Book, since starting my book club, The Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys, becoming an author, and of course, all my author friends who still support me in huge ways.

PATTY: You are certainly a big fan of mine.

KATHY: No matter how much fame you accrue, how much money you make, how big a house, or expensive a car, you might dream of, the only thing that matters on God’s green earth is your relationships with family, friends, and others. Those are the true riches on this earth and because of that; I am one wealthy and happy woman. I am very, very thankful.

PATTY: You were once asked, “If you died, what would you want to be remembered the most for?” How did you answer?

KATHY: I would hope to be remembered as being a good mother.”

PATTY: Great answer!

KATHY: In hindsight, I found that answer fascinating as authors, books, reading, and promoting literacy is so important to me. But of this life I have lived so far I have learned that in order to truly change the world, we have to start treating and raising our children as the most precious gifts of all. I tried to do that with my children.

PATTY: This is an important banner over the Hickman household too.

KATHY: I wasn’t even near perfect, but I tried really hard to make them confident, young, ladies. I like to think I helped them develop their own person, gave them wings, and let them fly to find their own dreams. For me that was through reading as I read to them before they were born and still read to them today with one in high school and the oldest in college.

PATTY: I did that, read to them from the womb.

KATHY: I also believe that the more we climb the ladder to success through hard work and determination; we must also reach behind us and help others climb up too. It’s no fun at the mountaintop alone.

PATTY: You are a very purposeful lady, Kathy.

KATHY: That is why reading has led me to a higher purpose. I am currently teaching a life writing class at a nearby homeless shelter and I began this all because of a book, Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Here I thought I was going to be giving to them something precious of me, when what I have found is that their gifts to me have given me a true purpose in life.

PATTY: That was a special moment when at the Girlfriends’ Weekend, these guys came walking in. I talked with one of them and he was so moved by your commitment to them.

KATHY: I practically skip every time I go to meet them each month as this class has brought such joy to my life. Sorrow is there too but the relationships we have formed in this group will carry me through to my dying days.

PATTY: Any parting words of wisdom, Kathy?

KATHY: It’s better to give than receive, I mean, they weren’t kidding. So onward book soldiers, live your life as you would wish for your children.Tiara wearing and Book sharing, Kathy L. Patrick.

PATTY: Thanks so much for chatting here today as our special guest Kathy. As I said Kathy is going to autograph her book The Pulpwood Queen’s Tiara Wearing Book Sharing Guide to Life. I’m sitting here looking at the rhinestone tiara on my bookcase. Kathy Patrick sure knows how to create special memories for book lovers. So let’s do as Kathy says, give of ourselves and to our children.

Tomorrow, we have a special novelist in our midst as Melody Carlson drops in to pay us a visit. Our special week continues—Here Comes Trouble—on Words to Go!