Top

arts

Stories

 

Oprah of the Piney Woods

Kathy Patrick wields some hefty clout out of her beauty shop/book store

At the end of Beauty and the Book's first year, Patrick had an idea to hold a reunion for all the authors. This became the first Girlfriend Weekend, complete with the Great Big Ball of Hair banquet where the authors serve as waiters.

Girlfriend Weekend No. 12 will take place in Jefferson January 12-15, 2011. Diane Blanco and 18 of her Lake Houston book club members are already signed up.

"We would not miss it for the world," Blanco says. "When you see all these authors, they just flock around her because she helped so many of them get started. She is so generous with making connections and giving people encouragement, not just to read, but also to write."

Kathy Patrick washes the hair of Jenny Wingfield, author of The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, in Patrick's hair salon/bookstore, Beauty and the Book.
Chris Curry
Kathy Patrick washes the hair of Jenny Wingfield, author of The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, in Patrick's hair salon/bookstore, Beauty and the Book.
Books hand-picked by Kathy Patrick line one-half of Beauty and the Book, which she calls the only combination bookstore and beauty salon in the world.
Chris Curry
Books hand-picked by Kathy Patrick line one-half of Beauty and the Book, which she calls the only combination bookstore and beauty salon in the world.

"You get to meet the authors up close and personal," Patrick says. "That's what makes my book club different. We have so much fun and then we have this crazy convention every year that is unlike any book festival in the country. We make entertainment. We read, we have parties, we dress up, we play."
_____________________

By 2013, the Girlfriend Weekend will probably outgrow the confines of the Jefferson Convention Center, and Patrick's not sure where to go from there.

At times she is humble. Other times, her ambition seems boundless, as she talks about the various projects she wants to work on, and the ones she's already tackling, from her second book to coordinating the youth group at her church, not to mention her online presence. Patrick runs an active Pulpwood Queens Twitter account, Facebook pages and several blogs dedicated to both books and her own adventures. And then there's the Web series, where she's interviewed everyone from Lisa See to Yann Martel.

"When she told me she would love to host a book-related talk show it made sense for us to collaborate," Bashirrad said. "Random House was already investing in producing video trailers and author interviews for key books. So it wasn't a reach to invite Kathy into the process and launch a Web series dedicated to the books we would have been pitching anyway to her book club. All of this dovetailed nicely with the increased demand for digital content — we heard from readers that after reading our books they'd surf the Internet looking for more information about the subject and the author."

"I work 24-7," Patrick said. "I think I am wired a little bit different than most. I never dreamed this would ever happen. But that's what happened."

Later this year, she's going to England with one of the chapters of the Pulpwood Queens. She's already done one Queens cruise.

"My goal before I die is that this keeps on going. You know how Juliette Gordon Low started the Girl Scouts program? This is not just for my generation. This is for many generations, and I'm hoping my daughters and my friends' daughters will all embrace this," she says.

She walks around the shop, overflowing with bric-a-brac, pointing out various mementos of previous Pulpwood Queen gatherings.

"When I'm gone I want this to be what remains of me, exactly like this. I want this to become a museum like the Eudora Welty House. I want people to say 'This is her shop, these are her books. Look, there's still a lock of hair on the ground.'"

brittanie.shey@houstonpress.com
_____________________

Correction
10-19-11

In an earlier version of this story, we misspelled the name of 42 Taillights Motorcycle Club President and author Michael Sager.

The Houston Press regrets the error.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
Bill Torgerson
Bill Torgerson

Fun read! Nice background for me as I try to tell a story around the video I shot at Girlfriend Weekend 2012.

Writecarolodell
Writecarolodell

The comparison to Oprah is not an exaggeration--Kathy Patrick is fierce, fun, and has a genuine passion for books and people. Her devotion to her fans, to literacy, and to her community is the glue to her "queendom." Her book clubs are not just in name only--her clubs read and discuss and are a driving force in the publishing world--and you don't know what fun is until you experience one of her Girlfriend Weekends--held each January--those folks know how to party--with some of the well-loved and well-loved authors as guests. Kathy lives a big life in a small town! She's an example of what one person can do. ~Carol O'Dellwww.caroldodell.com

Carrifrederick
Carrifrederick

I was one of the many people that made the pilgrimage to Jefferson, Texas after reading her book! Let me say, Kathy Patrick is one of the sweetest people showing true southern hospitality that there ever was! There were eight of us that made the trip and the day ended up being magical! She is definitely kind and generous. She is genuinely the Pulpwood Queen! All she gushes about is books and books and more books. We loved it, where some people stalk after movie stars and athletes we do the same with authors!! LOL She needs her own reality show for sure! I remember when we were visiting Jefferson and we went into one of the little shops there, I ask the store owner, "Do you know who Kathy Patrick is?". He said, "Oh yeah, shes crazy isnt she?"..we all laughed and said, "She seems pretty normal to us!"

Brookebivey
Brookebivey

Wonderful article! Love, love, love Kathy Patrick and the Pulpwood Queens!

Twila Carter Ilgen
Twila Carter Ilgen

What a wonderful article! Great story, Kathy's a real jewel of the Piney Woods! Keep up the good work!

West7t4
West7t4

This is probably the most interesting and well written story I have read in the Press in years. Keep it up and I will become a regular reader again.

Kathleenkaska
Kathleenkaska

What an incredible article! This is the best one ever (including what I wrote). Oprah of the Piney Woods, Kingmaker, great names. And I love the photo of Kathy and Pat Conroy. Kathy is truly a jewel of the literary world and I'm delighted to know her.

Kay Huck
Kay Huck

Kathy Patrick is a one woman show who is all about the other person. Fabulously intelligent, sensitive and creative. Once I met her I ran home and started a PQ book club! It wasn't long before others wanted to join. Her book selections always stimulate discussion and most of the authors have either phoned in or used skype for video calls. Bowing at the foot of The Queen!

 
Loading...