Friday, February 02, 2007

Can I do it?

can i do it?
(Photo Ted Lukac)

It's tough to be a mother, and if you think the job is over when your pride and joy grows up and leaves the house--or even when they sprout their first grey hairs, think again.

The photo above, "Can I do it?" shows someone who has endured a crippling lifelong phobia of public speaking, as I contemplate my first reading. And in the background, my mother does the job of mothers everywhere: she worries with me.

Years of failure in speaking publicly passed through my head...the oral reports in school when the paper I held in my hand rattled in time with my banging wedding, with only 30 of my nearest and dearest in attendance, Ted as cool as a summer melon, and STILL my voice quavered...the times I was invited to speak or read my poetry, when cowardice won and I cancelled at the last moment.

It's here!
(Photo R. Laban)

But now with the success of my debut novel on the line, could I do it? I paced, fretted and fumed for days. While I stewed, Mom drew patterns on the floor with her own circular pacing. And also like good mothers everywhere, she encouraged: You can, you can, I know you can!

At B & N, Hyannis
(Photo R. Laban)

And guess what? I could! To a standing room only crowd (okay, this is my hometown and they were nearly all friends and family, but STILL...) I talked OUT LOUD, I read OUT LOUD, and the most amazing part? I wasn't even nervous!

Must've been the presence of my mom smiling in the front row just like she's been all my life. Aren't mothers amazing?


Anonymous said...

Oh, wonderful! What a good feeling that is, right? Congratulations on another lifetime achievement. And yes, mothers are wonderful.

Left-handed Trees... said...

Hooray!!! I was waiting for an update, knowing that the reading was coming. I was at a bookstore today and saw your book prominently displayed when I walked in! Congratulations...
Love to you,

Robin said...

Aw, how sweet. And a big congrats to you, Patry. I knew you could do it! I should be getting your book soon. I'm excited. I'll have to see if they've stocked it in the bookstores here.


Becca said...

Good for you, Patry, for conquering that fear! And congratulations on having a mom to support you :) I'm lucky enough to have one like that, too.

When I got home from work today, my copy of Liar's Diary was waiting in my mailbox ~ can't wait to read it this weekend!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to cry! I don't know which is more touching: you're adoring mother, your courage, or the fact that your is published and your first reading is standing room only.

Brava, Patry, brava. And give your wonderful Mom a hug.

Anonymous said...

I'm SO proud of you! Extra proud that you weren't even nervous. What a wonderful mother you have - can she come to my events too (if I ever get any)?


Unknown said...

Good job. I'll look for you in Border's.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...


It's different when everyone has come to see you on purpose with enjoyment and love in their hearts.



Zhoen said...

Good for you. You were setting your own rules and expectations, which always helps.


robin andrea said...

I am so heartened to read that you did it, and did it well. I always sound like I'm going to cry when I speak out loud publicly. So, I appreciate the effort, and especially your success. What a support and delight it must be to look out there and see your mother, cheering you on. A perfect beginning to your public life, and may it always be so.

My copy of Liar's Diary is on its way. I can't wait!

Tinker said...

Oh, Patry! How wonderful for you - and your mom!
p.s. Picked up my reserved copy last night, and one chapter into it, I already don't want to put it down - but I'm trying to savor it; that and other people think I should actually do something around here besides read and blog! lol


MB said...

You did it! And the first one is always the hardest. Your mother must be an amazing woman to have produced you... but I like to think that it also has much to do with your coming into your own full bloom!


Anonymous said...

Hurray for you!! What an amazing, tangible experience to savor. And yes, mothers are amazing.

Judy said...

Congratulations on your debut novel. Can hardly wait to get it. Good job, girl!

tut-tut said...

I've never given a reading of a published work, but I've read in a writing workshop, so I know how you felt (a bit) going in. Good for you!

Sustenance Scout said...

So happy to hear it went so well, Patry!!

rdl said...

You rocked!!!!

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing woman, Patry, who never ceases to humble me. Well done for conquering a fear that is not to be underestimated. Whenever I think of public speaking I remember Tony Robbins who apparently was terrified of public speaking and intentionally set himself a goal of holding as many public presentations within a year as he could. Having your wonderful sounding mother there sounds just as good to me!

kenju said...

Congratulations. I will check the store for the book tomorrow.

robin andrea said...

I'm already reading chapter 3 of The Liar's Diary. I love this book. You rock, Patry, you really do! Wow.

Crockhead said...

Congratulations! I can't wait to get into my copy.

Leah said...

good for you, patry!! that's awesome! congrats on getting out there and congrats again on your book! i look forward to reading it! :-)

Lorna said...

Of course mothers are amazing, but my goodness, we are all in awe of a published author who can speak OUT LOUD in front of a packed house. I'm so excited for you.

Patry Francis said...

marja-leena: It WAS a wonderful feeling. Thanks for all your support along the way.

delia: Thanks for telling me about the placement of the book (yes!!) and for all your good thoughts. So disappointed that I won't see on the 9th, but SOON!

robin: You'll have to let me know how the audio sounds. I haven't heard it.

becca: You can't imagine how much it makes me smile when I think of my book in your mailbox! Thanks xox

amy: Thanks for all your good wishes, and my mom appreciates her hug, too. Can't wait to see YOU at a reading soon.

susan: My mother is basking in all the love!

tish: Mom and I will be in the front row at your Boston reading!

Patry Francis said...

sarala: Thanks! Let me know if you see the book!

jordan: An audience with "enjoyment and love in their hearts" definitely makes all the difference. Looking forward to seeing you in California! I'll email soon. xox

zhoen: I think it also helps that it happened in middle age. Things just don't scare me as much as they used to.

robin a: I can't believe you're sitting in that beautiful tranquil house, reading my book! How cool is that? p.s. I always sounded like I was going to cry when I spoke in public, too. Still not sure what force helped me overcome it.

terri: Thrilled to hear you're reading it! (You mean there's other things to do besides reading and blogging?)

mb: I think you hit on something. I DID feel as if I was coming into my own--at this late date in life. And in many ways, it was THIS BLOG and all of you who helped me do it.

kathryn: The thing that scared me most turned out to be the best part!
Now THAT'S amazing.

judy: Thanks for all your good wishes!

tut-tut: I used to do just about anything to get out of reading aloud in a writing group or class

k: I got your nice message right before I left for the reading! It helped...thanks.

r: Thanks for being there! Your smiling face meant a lot!

kerstin: I've always heard that the best way to overcome your fears is to do the thing you fear. (And silently, I always said, but I CAN'T!) Seems like it's true after all!

kenju: Let me know if they have it in your bookstore--and thanks!

amishlaw: Looking forward to your reaction!

leah: Thanks! I really believe that all the support I've gotten here has made a huge difference.

lorna: "Out loud" are key words for me, since usually I speak with my pen or my computer. Thanks for your good thoughts. I know you understand the power of mothers well--from both sides.

Diana said...

I'm reading it now, Patry! About a third of the way through and I will definitely post about it when I'm done.

WIsh I could see you at a reading but you're probably not coming through nowheresville, Idaho. Are you? ;)

Laini Taylor said...

Yay, Patry! Congratulations! So glad your first reading when smoothly! I just received my amazon copy in the mail, and since I already have my ALA copy, I am contemplating who to gift it to. My mother, I think!

Best wishes for many more crowded, wonderful signings!

Caroline said...

This sent a tingle. I am so impressed! Huge achievement. I may well come to you for advice in the furture. Hope you don't mind. Or perhaps you could hire out your mum?????

I'll look out for your novel.

Anonymous said...

yayayayay!!! this is just wonderful and I am so happy for you!!! do you realize what an inspiration this post is for all of us?

(I'm going to print it out and read it over and over again everytime I feel vulnerable)

Anonymous said...

And look at you--you're GLOWING! (As you should be!) I'm so excited for you, Patry...truly. Hugs.

Shannon Hopkins said...

Congratulations and well done. :-)

Stephanie said...

Aw, Patry. This made me very teary. Congratulations to you and your mom!

Alex S said...

Yay and yay again and a huge hooray as well! I thought we had another week til it came out. Well I WILL be getting it then today or tomorrw. So Excited to read it- and congratulations to you!!!!!

Avus said...

Well done you! I have taught instructional techniques and public speaking and I know how gut wrenching it can be for many people. Even many great actors are physically sick before going on.
There is no real remedy except just going back in there for more and it does get easier!

Unknown said...

I'm sure you are pretty preoccupied but are we doing Third Day today?
Even if not mine is up.

Anonymous said...


I knew you could do it. So glad it went so well.


paris parfait said...

Oh, sweetie of course you could do it - you already did the hard bit - writing the book! So glad your mom was there for you and that the first launch went well. Great photos! And hooray for the book getting off to a good start! (I'm waiting for my copy from xo

Crockhead said...

Nice photos. Congratulations.

(Are we doing Third Day book club today? I have my review up.)

Crockhead said...

Nice photos. Congratulations.

(Are we doing Third Day book club today? I have my review up.)

Crockhead said...

Nice photos. Congratulations.

(Are we doing Third Day book club today? I have my review up.)

Crockhead said...

Nice photos. Congratulations.

(Are we doing Third Day book club today? I have my review up.)

Crockhead said...

Nice photos. Congratulations.

(Are we doing Third Day book club today? I have my review up.)

Crockhead said...

Nice photos. Congratulations.

(Are we doing Third Day book club today? I have my review up.)

Crockhead said...

Nice photos. Congratulations.

(Are we doing Third Day book club today? I have my review up.)

Dale said...


Wot they all said. Yesterday I got a box from Amazon, & couldn't imagine what it might be -- it's been awhile! I pride myself on having been the one who made their counter tick over from 0 to 1 (though it was probably actually your Mom) when it was first possible to pre-order.

You're next in line. I'm feeling very chuffed and daunted by having such brilliant friends these days -- I'm reading Tarakuanyin's book in ms right now and am utterly blown away by it. When I finish I'll reassemble myself, fully expecting to be blown away again, for the Diary.

So wonderful to hear that the reading went as it did. And the pictures are stunning!

Crockhead said...

Nice photos. Congratulations.

(Are we doing Third Day book club today? I have my review up.)

Crockhead said...

Oh, God, Patry, what did I do? Please delete all these identical comments.

Anonymous said...

So happy for you! I was also delighted to see your shining face in my inbox this week, featured in the Porter Square Books newsletter, announcing your reading this coming week.

Go, Patry!

steve on the slow train said... says my copy is on the way. Wonderful pictures. Clearly you can do it. And to have a mother who'll give you that kind of support is an incredible blessing. I'm looking forward to reading your book.

Anonymous said...

Patry, congratulations! You look relaxed and happy, as you should be. I so wish that I could have been there at your reading. The next best thing is that your book is on its way to me, Amazon says so. I pre-ordered it and I'm eagerly awaiting it. Maybe you can tour the UK and then sign my copy?
Very best wishes and great success.

Jessie said...

I'm smiling right now because I'm thinking about all those times my mom sat in the front row for me. And yes, I agree--mother's really are amazing.

And so are you. Congratulations on overcoming your fears!

Patry Francis said...

diana: Can't wait to read your post--though I'm always a little bit nervous when a friend reads my work.

laini: Yes, to your mom--who I can't wait to meet!

amishlaw: I'm looking for 5 stars from you! (And I'm leaving up all your repeated comments. They make me feel very popular.)

caroline: So happy to have discovered your blog and your story. Glad to see you here!

irene: What a lovely thing to say! Thank you!

marilyn: The best part? Soon we will be glowing in pictures TOGETHER. Your support has been amazing.

tara: Thank you; and now that I've scrolled down and read from Dale that you have a completed ms. I'm very curious...Hope we can meet when I come to the West coast next month.

stephanie: I really do have the best mom. Thank you!

alexandra! I can't wait to hear what you think. But even more than that, I can't wait to meet you. SOON!

avus: A speaking coach! Oh, I wish you were closer!

sarala: So glad you didn't forget Third Day!

Laura: Thanks for also being out there in the front row, and for cheering me on in SO MANY WAYS.

tara: I always thought I'd rather sit down in my room and agonize over three novels than get up and speak for 3 minutes. But now I'm starting to agree with you. This is the fun part.

dale: You were the absolute first to order the book--an act of blind faith, for which I'll always be grateful. (And now I, too, am looking forward to reading tarakuanyin's novel!)

sara:I hadn't seen that. Thanks for posting it. Now hopefully, no one from Porter Square has read this and is now wondering if I'll cancel out...(I won't! I won't!) Hope to see you soon!

steve: By far, the most amazing thing that has happened to me as a writer is imagining the book in the hands of all my blog friends. A small miracle. Thank you!

natalie:Oh, Natalie, I wish you were there, too! Somehow I know I would have looked in your face and known there was nothing to fear. How do I know that? Not sure, but I do. And absolutely. Thanks for buying the book!

jessie: Maybe that's why you learned to do those handstands--because your mom believed you could! Thanks for your good thoughts. They power the world.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Patry! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!

You continue to inspire. :)

Sky said...

hubby brought in the amazon box today! we opened it with huge grins! it is now in my fat, little fingers to read at my pleasure! yesssssssssssssssssss!

congrats on your speaking engagement. it matters, patry, when your heart is involved...and this is, afterall, YOUR DREAM - so i am not the least bit surprised that it came easy, was actually fun, and was a smashing success! you go, girl!

Patry Francis said...

kg: Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and your friendship here in the sphere.

sky: Not that I'm prejudiced or anything, but doesn't the book look beautiful???

And I do agree: speaking from your heart, or doing anything with that spirit, makes it easy!

Shannon Hopkins said...

Dale's too kind. :-) The manuscript he has was written by my mother and me together, and it's actually a memoir about our breast cancer experience. (We had breast cancer together, and she saved my life. Unfortunately, her cancer metastasized, and she is no longer with us.) I do have novel manuscripts too, but I'm just not very good at trying to get them published. I admire your courage and fortitude in having gone the whole way with yours, which I am reading right now (Well, not exactly right now, as I'm typing, but you know what I mean!)

Patry Francis said...

tara: Memoirs are an extremely popular genre, and easier to sell than fiction--if that's in your mind at all. It sounds as if you have a very important and POWERFUL story to tell. Interesting that I heard about it on my "Aren't mothers amazing?" post.

Shannon Hopkins said...

I realized a little after posting my last comment that you had mentioned you would be in the west on your book tour. Will you be swinging by Seattle or Portland, by any chance? I will certainly make an effort to be there if you do. When can we find out your schedule?

As for the synchronicity of you hearing about my mum's and my manuscript on your "Aren't mothers amazing" post, yeah, it's interesting, isn't it? Life seems so full of little connections like that. :-)

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Patry! That's wonderful, and I know you will only get better and better at it. I was very touched to read about your mother's presence because my mom died a month before my book came out last spring, so she was never able to be there - as she would have certainly been - but I've felt her encouragement and love many times since then. We're both lucky to have moms like that. Bets of luck with every appearance you make!

Anonymous said...

This is such a thrilling, thrilling time full of every emotion, I imagine-- so glad you are recording even pieces of it so that you can pull them out later and savor them again and again. Conquering your fear will taste even sweeter when you reflect on it! This is just so huge an accomplishment on every level-- I can't wait to read the book-- it is my big treat awaiting me next weekend once I get through my workweek-- so many many congratulations to you, Patry.



JP (mom) said...

Fabulous ... you look very relaxed and confident in that last photo! What an accomplishment. Bravo to you, Patry. Much peace, JP

Fred Garber said...

Patry...Congrats andd good luck on the speaking circuit. I use to give speeches for a living and it doe get easier! I just ordered your book and am looking forward to reading it!

Therese said...

I'm so pleased and excited for you!

Congrats, and here's hoping this great start is an omen of only more good surprises to come.

Myfanwy Collins said...

BRAVA!!! Yes mtohers are amazing and so are you.

Please can you tell me if there is a listing somewhere of your upcoming readings/signings in New England. I want to attend!

Patry Francis said...

tara: I will be coming to Seattle in March. I'll definitely let you know when and where once the schedule firms up.

blue poppy: Conquering my fear was almost the sweetest part of all. Now that I know I can do this, there's no limit to what I might try.

beth: Because we are both only child, we share a particularly strong bond with our parents. I was thinking of you at that time--the loss all tangled up with the birth of the book. You, of course, had your father with you. It's a sorrow to me that mine, who would have been so thrilled, was not here to see it. But there it is: the mystery.

deb: As some have said, when you really believe in what you're saying, when you have that passion, you forget yourself and everything else. It seems to be true!

fred: Thanks; that's encouraging. Now I'm wondering: have you done poetry readings as well? (And oh yes, THANKS for buying my book. I hope it justifies your faith in me.

myf: The readings are listed on my Website: I would LOVE to see you at one!

therese: Everytime I see your giraffe with the blue halo, I smile. Thanks for sharing the journey. (I look forward to sharing yours soon!)

Anonymous said...

Victoria (my wife) just read your book and loved it! She's a big mystery fan, and she enjoyed the novel's pace and characters.

Keep it up, Patry!!

Myfanwy Collins said...

Awesome! Just checked out your list--I will try to make it to the Concord, MA one as that is the closest.

Patry Francis said...

peter: So thrilled to hear Victoria enjoyed the novel. After reading about her on your blog, I feel as if I know her.

Myf: That would be wonderful, but if not then, I know we will meet soon!