Monday, June 02, 2008


We all have them. Stories from our childhood that others like to tell about us. Stories we don't remember, and that don't seem to be connected to us and our self-concept. Stories we may not particularly like...

Here's one my mother began to tell in recent years: I was four or five, and sick with the flu so she stayed home from work. An extra day off was rare for her and she planned to take advantage of it by getting some things done. There was also a carpenter working on the house that day. But as they attempted to go about their productive business, I moaned theatrically from my room. Moaned and called for my mother every five minutes.

"Mama, take my temperature."

"Mama, bring me a glass of water."

"Mama, come and sit with me."


Finally, the carpenter packed up his tools in frustration, and said, "I can't work in this house." (If you ask me, he sounds like a constipated primadonna. But of course, when this story is told, no one asks me.)

My mother was immediately embarrassed for her house. It was old, a fixer-upper they'd bought for five thousand dollars in the fifties. Was he saying it was too far gone?

But when she asked what was wrong, the haughty carpenter only snorted. "It's not your house, lady. It's your kid. How do you stand her?"

So no, this is not my favorite story. And what makes me even less fond of it is my family's reaction to it. They never seem to get tired of hearing it; and no matter how time my mother retells it, they hoot at the punchline as if it were the first.

"But Ma, you always said how good I was," I say petulantly, hoping for some kind of retraction. "I was your little angel, remember?"

"Of course, you were good, honey," my mother says, patting my hand. But there is something in her eyes...(In the background, the hooting goes on.)

"The poor kid was sick!" I say irritably. "Was it too much for her to ask for a damn glass of water?"

But once again, no one seems to hear me. They're too busy laughing.

Anyway, I've come a long way from that whiney five-year-old. Or so I thought until this weekend. I'd had a low grade fever and hadn't been feeling too well all week, but on Saturday morning, things took a dramatic downturn. I woke up with the highest temperature I've ever had, heart racing, and a debilitating pain in my side. When I tried to get out of bed, dizziness knocked me back down.

It turned out to be a kidney infection, which is not usually greeted as good news, but my doctor was jubilant. The alternative, "what they were afraid of," would have required an ambulance trip to Boston, and probably a "procedure." An innocuous enough word, I suppose, but these days it's become one of the most dreaded ones in my lexicon.

So the good news was that I didn't have to be admitted. I could go home and rest on my own couch, drink tea (or in this case, cranberry juice) from my own blue cup, sleep in my own bed. The bad news was that I still felt like hell.

I settled myself on the couch, but the pain made it difficult to get comfortable; and my feverish head was too addled to read.

"Ted," I called. "Maybe you should take my temperature."

"Ted, I need a glass of water."

"Ted, come and sit with me; I'm lonely."

Ted, of course, had things to do, and he'd just spent five hours in the emergency room. "I can't just sit with you all day," he tried to explain. And I understood. Well, sort of...

Later in the evening, he was tired when he joined me so he tuned into a podcast on his IPod.

"Aren't you going to talk to me?" I said.

"Huh?" he said.

Then, reading my face, he took out his headphones and tried. The conversation wasn't exactly flowing though. See whining is essentially a monologue. The whiner has all the good lines: I'm hot; I'm cold; my stomach is killing me; my head hurts; you know, I just feel awful; in fact I feel like I'm gonna die right here...But the only line the other person gets is a variation on "Gee, I'm sorry."

When I realized I was getting nowhere, I escaped to the bathroom--internationally known as the best place to throw oneself a pity party. I tried my best to work up a good one.

Why has all this happened to me? I asked. Why do I keep getting sick? And how much can I take?

The only problem was it didn't work. I hadn't really felt sorry for myself since I got my diagnosis in October, and now when I was ready for a good wallow, I just couldn't do it. I looked in the mirror and answered my own question:

Why has all this happened to me? It just did. Deal with it, chump.

Why has my health become such a soap opera with constant histrionics?
Think of all the years of good health you had. Were you asking why then? And if not, how dare you start questioning it now?

How much can I take? As much as I have to--and not because I'm particularly strong or brave, but just because there are no alternatives--except suicide and giving in to a case of terminal whining. I wasn't ready for the former; and the latter wasn't working too well for me.

And if my pity party wasn't enough of a bust, by the time I should have been shedding some pretty good crocodile tears, I burst out laughing.


Because at that moment, I remembered my mother's story. And maybe I remembered being that five-year-old with the flu, too. She was miserable and feverish, and even though her mother appeared every time she cried for attention, it didn't help; she still felt lousy. She was too young to know that even the most loving mother or husband, child or friend, cannot protect us from the pain and loneliness that is part of our life on this planet. And if we think they can, or demand they try, we only push them away--as I proved with the carpenter those many years ago.


I don't talk about books and writing all that much here, even though they're my life, but after this story, I figured you could use some good news that's better than a kidney infection:

The Liar's Diary sold in the UK last week, to a very enthusiastic publisher who plan to make it their lead title in spring, 2009, and reissue it in mass market paperback the following year. They say they're committed to doing everything they can to bring me a "huge" readership in the UK. Is life good or what?


Zhoen said...

Concentrated cranberry pills.

Well, it's a better line than gee I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

So happy about your book! Sorry you are sick and while complaining does no good, you of all people have a right to it once in a while.
Feel better soon. Blessings, Annie

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Patry,
Congrats about your book in the UK first off. Secondly sorry to read of your feeling ill, but your perspective and reflections upon it do inspire others. The Maori have a saying here, Kia ka ha, Remain Strong. Have a great day Patry.

Patry Francis said...

zhoen: A much better line. I didn't know there was such a a thing, but I will definitely look for them. Like the new photo by the way.

Annie: Thank you. Actually, the antibiotics (and gallons of water) are doing their job. I feel much better today.

Patry Francis said...

ruahines: Thank you. I'm pretty excited about the UK deal! And thanks for your beautiful words, too. Why does everything sound better in the Maori language?

Liquid said...

I do so admire you, for many reasons.

Janet said...

Sounds like a constipated prima donna to me too.

There is a story or two about me too that make the rounds in the family, but there is no way I will reveal them in public! ;o)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the U.K.!

And, I have to say, your inspiring essay got me laughing, and maybe that's crass, but truly: Whining when sick has GOT to be universal.

Patry Francis said...

liquid: How kind of you to say that--especially after hearing about my propensity for whining...

Janet: I wasn't planning to reveal this one either, but it fit so perfectly.

lisa: Thank you, and I'm glad you laughed. Without humor, I would have gone mad long ago.

S L Cunningham said...


The hardest thing about narrative writing is putting enough distance between us and the topic we're writing about, especially when it is a topic we may not necessarily be comfortable with. But you do so here in an essay that is honest and introspective. When we are sick, we expect those closest to us to be caring and compassionate, not insensitive or oblivious.

Congratulations on your book.

Wishing you well,



Lisa said...

You never cease to amaze me! You won't believe this, but two weeks ago I woke up at 3 AM with some horrendous symptoms and ended up in the ER with -- a kidney infection. It was painful, I was feverish and nauseous and after I finally got home and fell asleep, I woke up four hours later with a migraine. I was literally crying and looking for sympathy, anything from Scott. Your essay made me realize (in hindsight) that when you really feel physically miserable, you have to just suck it up because nobody can really help you. I am glad the antibiotics have kicked in and you are feeling better.

And...that is great news about the UK!!! Congratulations!

Larramie said...

No reason to ask "Why?" about that great UK sale, is there, Patry? ;) Brava!

debra said...

Shit happens doesn't it? In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, McMurphy says that you can no more let the humor blot out the pain than you can let the pain blot out the humor--otherwise you go plum crazy. Been there, done that. Don't intend to do it again!
The Universe does continue.
Kudos on the fabulous UK news!

robin andrea said...

If we don't get to whine when we're really sick, when do we? I guess it's why caregiving should be done in shifts, so the caregiver is completely refreshed and always ready with all the compassion necessary for the moment. Laughing at your predicament is a good solution too! That's life, isn't it?

Jolly good news about the UK book sale. I am so happy for you, Patry. That kind of news can take away a lot of pain for a little while.

Hope you are on the mend, my friend.

Sustenance Scout said...

Oh my, congratulations!! What a neat way to wrap up that post. And I bet you didn't whine half as much as your husband or kids do when they're sick. :P Hope you're feeling much better! K.

Dale said...

Oh, God, the stories our parents tell. The droll ones. I've sworn not to do that to my kids. So far I think I've done pretty well, but of course you'd have to ask them to find out the truth :->

Hugs, dear. Kidney infections are nasty, nasty things. You get to whine a little.

Anonymous said...

Congrats about the book. Sorry to hear about the kidney infections.

For what it's worth, I was also an exceedingly whiney kid... and a stoic fatalist now.

Caroline said...

I am so excited that you're being published in the UK. I look forward to buying a copy.

Take care.


Sky said...

what fabulous news about the most exciting new author in the UK! You are just going to become an international sensation, girl!

well, your whiney story just described me perfectly! do you remember my telling you how i whine and how impressed i am that you are so stoic? hubby would love it if i could have a pity party somewhere away from him and end up laughing at myself. i do laugh about my whining sometimes when i get it fully that i am being such a brat...but there are other times when i am too into the moment and my discomfort to even comprehend what a pain in the butt i am being!

big hugs to ted for being such a saint and to you for having to deal with these health issues. life is not always easy or comfortable and surely isn't always fair. it is just life, and you are right - we have to accept some things and deal with them. the alternative is simply not an option.

sometimes the 5 year old kids who still live inside us just need to be held or stroked or reminded that "this, too, will pass." nope, other people can't fix it, but sometimes they sure can make the journey easier. luckily ted is one of those companions. :) hope you are feeling much better soon. do you warm your cranberry juice like hot tea?

Amy MacKinnon said...

Patry, you call me anytime you need to whine. I can take it. when everyone around you has had enough.

As for the UK: WA-HOO!! Who's the publisher?

Anonymous said...


Glad to know what's going on with you. And I admire the way you worked your way around from misery to insight. And I'm thrilled about the UK deal. Hooray. But I dunno. I think there's something to be said for complaining. Jim and I went to a wonderful event in Chicago last fall, as part of the Humanities Festival. Called the Complaints Choir. Part of an international movement (see link). Very amusing and wonderful, elevating our everyday miseries to the level of art and community.

Be well, my dear.

Fred Garber said...

Great post. The part about the bathroom being the place to hold a pity party is so true! Congrats on the book deal. And thanks for the comment about Zingers on my blog!

Bill said...

What a wonderful post. And congratulations on the book;ou know I'm a fan.

Maryanne Stahl said...


infection, book deal, pity, laughter...all part of life, which you share with us so beautifully and honestly. your words made me think of an old joni mitchell song, the circle game. here they are, for you. heal soon. xxx

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when you're older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
And they tell him,
Take your time, it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Patry, even your whine is admirable. Go ahead and whine, anytime, anywhere you feel like it. Your whine must be respected and goes: wined and dined.
Bravo for the UK edition. I've already got my copy, of course.

Beryl Singleton Bissell said...

Oh Patry, this self deprecating acknowledgment of being human is so very touching and so very funny. Meanwhile, such grand things are happening -- your book listed in an anthology of crime novels AND sale to yet another foreign press. Bravo sweet friend. Five-year-old or mature woman indulging in a bit of well-deserved pique, you are a shining light to all of us.

rdl said...

and i thought this was going to be about Hillary. :D
how did i miss this story?
sorry you weren't feeling well - glad you're better.
great news about the UK. my bags are packed. :D

Patry Francis said...

Scott: Looking at a subject from a distance, especially when that subject is oneself...That's one of the great rewards of writing, don't you think?

lisa: If only we lived closer, we might have comforted each other over a huge glass of cranberry juice.

larramie: Thank you! Did any one ever tell you those daisies are a perfect symbol for YOU? You always come to celebrate.

Debra: I always did love McMurphy.

Robin: So true. I think my poor caregivers are ready for the second shift to come in.

K: You are so right, as Ted would be the first to admit! (In fact, that, too, is a source of many jokes between us.) A cold or a sore throat, and I swear the world is coming to an end.

Dale: That's the thing about seeing kids grow up. Many of our complaints about our parents come home to roost. We used to have a story like that about one of our sons. We thought it was funny and cute, and weren't aware or sensitive enough to see that he didn't. But after catching the wounded look in his eye one night after relating it, I never told it again.

Dave: "A stoic fatalist" I like that term...

caroline: I'm not sure if I will get an opportunity to go to the UK and promote the book, but if I do, I hope we can meet!

sky: Obviously, your husband thinks you make it all worthwhile. Ted seems to stick around, too...even when the five year old escapes and runs rampant through the house.

Amy: I wouldn't do that to you! You've got too many GOOD things going on in your life right now.

Susan: I suspect complaining in chorus would be much more fun and satisfying than doing it alone in the bathroom. Reminds me of a long car trip we took once. One of the kids was whining relentlessly. Finally, when we could take no more, we all started chiming in, giving a loud, joyful release to all our own complaints. God, that felt good; and in the end, even the cranky child gave up and had to laugh.

Fred: Thank you...but ever since I read your post I've been mysteriously craving Zingers--and I don't even know what they are. That's the power of advertising!

bill: Thank you, but no haiku today? See, you've spoiled me now.

Maryanne: I love that song. Thanks for leaving the words here. After my father-in-law's recent death, Ted put together a very moving video about his life, and he used that song.

Natalie: I'll be counting on you to move copies of the book to a prominent place in your local bookshops when it comes out! And as I told Caroline, if I'm invited to do some promotion there, we'll have to get together.

beryl: Humor, especially directed at myself, has probably saved my life--or at least my sanity. Thanks for your words. I hope you know you are a light to me, too.

r: Wouldn't it be great? xxx

Anonymous said...

I'm late here, and will just chime in how much I enjoy your stories, and this one about how your whines turned to laughter - a lesson that's hard to remember sometimes. Keep on getting better! And huge congratulations on the UK publisher!! Oh, and Patry, thank you for your visits and words at my blog, they warm my heart!

Laura J. Wellner (author pseudonym Laura J. W. Ryan) said...

Life is good...kidney infections suck. You poor thing, my goodness, dear, get well soon! Aches and pains, fatigue and fever...I'm ready for a pity party of my own because I'm so tired, but I'll take mine on the front porch with a cold Guinness in a Daffy Duck glass, and put my bare feet on Max, we'll watch the world go least until the thunderstorms chase us inside!

Anonymous said...

Oh, poor baby!

My true love and I have a little code. We tell each other "I have a cold," but sometimes we tell each other "I have a lonely cold." It helps us be kinder to each other.

We have determined that certain kinds of germs, in order to spread themselves to new environments, create the extra symptom of unusually intense loneliness. It's a tough break for the person who has a lonely cold, because we can't really change our quarantining behavior, but at least we can make it a point to say nice things to each other more frequently from the next room.

Most of the time when I'm sick, I just want to lie in a room by myself being privately disgusting. But when I have the lonely cold, even though I am every bit as disgusting (with the smells and the body fluids -- you know), I might not only have a headache, fever, and vomiting, but I am also desperately lonely and for some reason MUST have my true love keep me company every single minute of my sickness. But of course, I don't actually demand this, because I don't want him to get sick. But this does not prevent me from sending out periodic wails from the other room. (And when it's his turn, and he always does get a turn in spite of whatever precautions we take, my true love experiences and behaves exactly the same.)

Love is amazing, and infections are gross and miserable even when you are loved, and even when you're not actually going to die from them or have to have a (shudder) "procedure."

Congratulations on England. :)

Josephine Damian said...

Patry: Congrats of the UK deal. Much deserved.

Everyone knows a slightly sick man will always complain/whine worse than the sickest woman! Ted needs a reality check, IMO.

Left-handed Trees... said...

CONGRATULATIONS on the U.K. deal, why should the Brits be denied a chance to sink into your wonderful book?!? (I read it fast the first time b/c I had to know what was going to happen, then dipped in slowly for round two.) I am sorry about the kidney infection...cranberry might just be your new best friend? That and your steady doses of laughter will keep you going strong!
Best to you,

Aimee said...

Congrats on the good book news!!!! And you know, sometimes you do have to whine, even if it is in the bathroom and your own mirror is calling out your flawed thinking. And then you pick yourself up and realize how lucky and wonderful to have Moms that CAN stand you and your whining and husbands that try really hard.
I whine a lot while sick and that the people around me still love me makes me really happy!
PS Kidney infections suck. Sorry and hope it goes away soon!

Mary Akers said...

Congratulations on the fabulous UK news!! And your post was wonderful, human, and kind--as always.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Well done about your book.
You know about pain, and you know what makes life beautiful too. Our blessing is that you share it, share both sides with us.
I think we've all whined when we're hurt or ill, and nobody could find the right thing to comfort us.
And I think that carpenter was an impatient man who didn't like children. It was not a reflection on you :) Goodness, you were sick- and a child- how could you not be expected to complain? It's hardest with young children because they can't quite tell us their trouble.
I treasure this blog and always look forward to your updates.

Patry Francis said...

marja-leena: Visits to your blog warm MY heart, too.

laura: Wish I was there to drink a Guiness with you! The scene you describe sounds like heaven.

Josephine: Thanks and nice to see you here. P.S. Imagine a man in childbirth?

aimeepalooza: Not to contradict myself (though I do so regularly) but love does make every kind of pain easier to bear. It doesn't make it go away, but it helps.

Mary: Thank you so much. It's lovely to see you here!

theelementary: I've never been able to understand people who dislike children. Some of my best friends are under ten, and I just saw two of them yesterday (my granddaughters.) Thank you for the kind words.

Kate Evans said...

It's true...PROCEDURE is a horrific word.

Great news about your book! Congrats!

Sharon Hurlbut said...

Oh Patry, a kidney infection is no fun at all! I'm sorry to hear about it. I know exactly how it feels, having been there a few times myself. Rest, drink, rest, and go for whatever distracts you - books, movies, music, computer. Sometimes we just need to let it out, even if no one wants to listen. And hey, keep resting even after you start feeling better, because these things can really take it out of you. As for the good news, I'm jumping up and down with joy for you!! What a blessing, to be able to see the good as well as the not-so-good. Take care of yourself!


Patry Francis said...

Hey KATE EVANS, Great to see you hear again. You're obviously a woman after my own heart.

SHARON! Resting has been my life for several months now. Today when I went out to run a few errands, I was almost afraid I might have forgotten how to drive. Thankfully, I didn't. Makes me feel as if I might really get the hang of living again.

Tish Cohen said...

What I love about you is that you do whine at times. It's what assures me you're human. What I also love is your whining turns into laughter in the end. I can just picture you in the bathroom, looking at yourself, shaking your head, laughing...

Huge congrats about the UK! That's delicious news, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of the kidney infection. It really doesn't seem fair that you should have to deal with more than you already have. Personally I think you are entitled to a bit of a whine. :-)

Wonderful news about the book deal. Way to go!!!

Anonymous said...

Patry, your insightful good humor never fails to amaze and inspire me...I've whined for far more trivial reasons, than you've been given lately.
I've often thought it was a good thing I wasn't born a century before, when life was truly a daily struggle. I could just imagine the other settlers voting me off the wagon train, "She's whining again. Can we leave her behind?" lol
I'm so glad to read you're feeling better now. And I'm so happy for you about the UK book sales - Congratulations!
Hope you continue to feel better and better~((HUGS))

Amber said...

Congratulations of the UK book deal! That is just really, really cool. :)

And I think that guy sounds like a jerk. If he said that about my kid, I might have kicked him in his plummers crack.


Patry Francis said...

tish: Thanks, dear. Can't wait to dig into Inside Out Girl which arrived in the mail today. It looks gorgeous!

coll: Thanks for being so understanding. The whining did help for a moment or two; after that, it's counter-productive--at least for me.

tinker: Thanks for a good laugh. I think my family was getting ready to "vote me off the wagon train" last week. You make a good point though. In so many ways, we don't know what it's like to struggle for existence.

amber: I love the line about kicking him in his plumber's crack. Next time my mother tells that story, I'm going to quote you.

Patry Francis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Ann said...

I'm glad you didn't have to have a "procedure."

Congrats on the UK book deal. I loved your book.

Diana Raabe said...

I did it! I finally ordered your book, Patry. I've been "meaning to" for ages and now the deed is done.

(Two-day shipping!)

Patry Francis said...

Mary Ann: Readers like you make it all worthwhile! Thank you so much.

Diana: How nice to see a Gather friend here! I miss the place immensely and do hope to get back to it soon. Ah, time....And oh yes, thanks for buying the book!

♥ N o v a said...

I'm so happy that the people of U.K. get the opportunity to read your book. I loved it! I couldn't put it down, as I'm sure the Brits also will have a hard time doing so.

That carpenter should have been ashamed of himself. Guess he wasn't around kids too often.

Gill said...

Your story is so true. We all face it alone, and so the whining is redundant. But a five year old doesn't know this. Sometimes even as adults we just want to be pitied, or whine. It is all our human nature. We must feel validated, not told "oh you'll feel better soon"...we want everyone to know for sure that we feel like shit, NOW!!!! We just want that acknowledged I think.
I must find your book! I'll go online for it.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Oh, Patry, so sorry about the kidney infection--but as always, you take the bad stuff and turn it on it's head. Yes, you're right, if we're going to ask/whine "why me" when it's bad,we better be ready to ask the same thing when it's good.

And the UK news, WHOO-HOO!!!. Fantastic. All good things. Yea, you!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post Patry.

I love getting on the ride of your stories and chugging along they unfold. Then wham ... you smack in those thoughtful/sweet/hard/good/surprising truths.

Sorry it was a kidney infection. Glad it was only a kidney infection.

(and YEA about the book!)

Sending warm good vibes your way.


Patry Francis said...

missnova-san: I wasn't fishing for compliments (honest!) but 'm so happy you liked the book!

Gillian: At times, the five year old in all of us just demands to get OUT! Thanks for your interest in my book~

Judy: Thank you, dear writing friend. I wasn't expecting to get any new foreign sales this late in the game. Goes to show all the things I still don't know about this business.

Deb:Thanks for hopping on my little story train. I enjoyed my visit to your blog, too. I wanted to comment about your article about Ernest Hemingway needing to be AWAY from the place he was writing about, but I need to think about it first.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the book news!

I loved the carpenter story. It reminded me of the story my parents always told about bringing me home from the hospital when I was a few days old. They stopped at a pizza parlour for dinner and I cried so much they were asked to leave. I wonder what stories I'll annoy my kids with when they are older...

Anonymous said...

Love the line, "whiners have all the good lines", definitely a truth; and the expression "pity-party", which we don't hear much over here. I've had one or two, no be truthful, quite a few of those recently. And you're entitled. Big Hug.

Anonymous said...

Patry, belated congratulations on the UK deal! Hope you're feeling better and better every day and that your writing is going REALLY well!

Mary (m :))

M. Damian McNicholl said...

So happy to hear that Patry.

You'll be big in the UK...and lead title too. Excellent.

Patry Francis said...

tara: Sounds like you were a troublemaker from the start--just like me.

ainelivia: Too bad we couldn't have had our pity party together. I bet it would have been much more fun.

mary: Good to see you here again! I've been thinking of you, and hoping all is going well for YOU. Thanks for all the good wishes.

Damian: Thank you! And yes, it was a great way to end a week that began rather ignominiously in the emergency room.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Patry on the U.K. release of your book!!! That is fantastic. :)

Everyone complains, especially when sick. I feel it's like a release of bad energy, letting the sick feelings out. Yes, no one really likes to hear those complaints, but everyone does this -- at least a little bit -- when they're sick, yes? ;)

Hope you're feeling much better, BTW.

Anonymous said...

Patry, thanks for the thought! Life and writing (as if they were two different things) are all good right now, even though the waiting game is still playing somewhat interminably in the not-so distant background.

Anonymous said...

oops.. that was me :)


Allie said...

Your perspective never ceases to amaze me! Congratulations on the UK sale!

Barrie said...

I hope the kidney infection is behaving itself and disappearing.


NoVA Dad said...

That is great news about the UK market opening up for you; hoping for tremendous sales for you! And I hope you've recovered nicely from your time on the sofa.

(Between you and me, there are times where a little bit of whining never hurts anyone; I've been known to do it myself from time to time:-)

Anonymous said...

I'm one of Ted's patients who has done a lot of Interim Pastoral work in Protestant churches. Your unflinching, self-aware, accessibly stated perceptions are surely a blessing to many-- and not only those who are going through serious medical passages, or their loved ones.
Thanks greatly for helping to further the divine-human conspiracy described in Romans 8: 28: "WE KNOW that in all things God is at work to the good with those who cherish God. . . "
It would seem that you and the Highest Power, together, are using your adversity richly unto such more ultimate ends.

LitPark said...

I read this days ago and got called away to something before I could tell you congratulations on this wonderful news!

Hope you're feeling better. xo

Patry Francis said...

kg: You've gotten to the heart of a universal truth. We ALL love to complain when sick, but NO ONE wants to listen to anyone else's complaints. Thank god for the bathroom mirror. it may not offer much comfort, but it's always there to listen.

M: You're doing the right thing. Keep writing and living, and do your best to enjoy the persistent drone of the waiting game in the background.

allie: What a lovely comment. Thank you--

barrie: Thanks so much. Hopefully, the kidney infection is vanquished for good. (I never was a big fan of cranberry juice.)

matt: I suppose your right: a little bit of whining is therapeutic. Thanks for all your continued good thoughts.

anon (Ted's patient): Thanks so much for visiting the blog, and for a comment that leaves me humbled. Ted has some wonderful things to say about you and your wife.

sue: thanks for coming back! xxx


Carleen Brice said...

Congrats on the UK sale! Maybe you and I should get together soon. We could throw one hell of a pity party! :)

Patry Francis said...

Carleen: I wish you lived closer! Pity parties for two are much more fun than the solitary variety--especially if they include a bottle of wine.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

i hope you feel better soon, patry. i love the wisdom that i get from visiting your blog...thinking of you..

Anonymous said...

What a great ending, about the book!

I'm glad the story of when you were sick as kid came back to tease you in a good way. I relate to this a bit because I was on the couch for a week or two recently when I cut into the muscle in the back of my leg and couldn't walk. It tied into a theme in my life that I had to deal with.

I once had a fever spike so fast that my teeth literally chattered. I had to laugh at myself because it was so dramatic. It was a breast infection while I was nursing. A gram of vitamin C every hour got rid of it in a day.

paris parfait said...

Wonderful news about the UK launch. As for the whining, all of us have done it at one time or another and not always with good reason. A kidney infection is good reason - lots of cranberry capsules, juice and water, as you know. Hope you're feeling worlds better by the time you see this note. xoxox

Becca said...

By this time, hopefully you're all better and concentrating on giving The Liar's Diary the UK sendoff it deserves.

I think you've probably been working so hard to stay strong through your serious illness that you just have no more strength left to deal with something as annoying as a kidney infection!

I hope it's all gone :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is anything wrong in whining when one is not feeling well. Perhaps you were also whining for that darling little five year-old girl you used to be. Little children do not understand that calling for their parents cannot make their sickness go away. And I think it was horribly mean of that man to say that about such a small child. I used to chastise myself for complaining, even when I had plenty to complain about. It got so bad that I actually learned to ignore myself when I was sick and to call myself mean names (cry-baby, whiner, weakling, weinie) if I felt bad when a tragedy struck my life! I wonder how you would feel if you hugged yourself really big and let it also be for that little girl you were who didn't feel well. I send you my very best wishes, Patry. I hope your good health will soon be restored to you. And what wonderful news about the book!

Kitty said...

I hate it when my family members tell those stories, but look how wise you are! You can look at that story from a totally different perspective now, a sign of true growth.

Many, many congrats about the book deal!!!

Beryl Singleton Bissell said...

Back again Patry. Loving this story and the wisdom of its ending. Hoping we'll soon see more.

P. A. Moed said...

There's such wisdom in your story. Who says that any hard-earned lessons come in pretty packages? They usually are earned after the whining and crying and wringing of hands. It takes a lot of courage to show your less glamorous side to the rest of us.

Congratulations on the UK deal!

Taradharma said...

what a brilliant moment of clarity you had in the bathroom...your thoughts are inspiring. See what can happen when you retreat to the privacy of the bano for some good ol' gut wrenching tears? Been there, many times.

BTW, I finally have read The Liar's Diary, ckd it out at the library, and I enjoyed it very much. Hard to put it down, even when heavy sleep was upon me. Oh, the tangled webs we weave!

Anonymous said...

Well, your post had me laughing and crying, too. What a great post. You treat our common foibles with such sympathy and such a light touch.

Maryanne Stahl said...


are you feeling any better?


Carleen Brice said...

Patry, Thanks for the well wishes! I would've emailed, but I can't find your email address. Hope you're doing well this summer too.

Peace to you,

Anonymous said...

Patry! I got your pkg I had sent you a couple MONTHS ago back in the mail just today for not enough postage! I am dumbfounded that it took this long and tape is torn off the side like its been opened but all is in there! So out it must go again to the lovely and wonderful you! I hope you have been feeling ok. You are in my thoughts and prayers with much love and light.
love, Alexandra (portland)z

LitPark said...

Miss you, Patry. xo

Anonymous said...



Mary Ann said...

Stopped by to see how you are. I hope you're having a good summer.

Beryl Singleton Bissell said...

Thinking of you as are all of us who check your blog.

Ric said...

Been toooooo long without a comment, a note, an entry.

Hope all is well.

Patry Francis said...

Thanks so much to all of you who have checked in on me. Every day I plan to update the blog, and every night I go to bed without having done it... So much goes undone these days & I have to be at peace with that. Maybe tomorrow...I miss you all.

Karen Carter said...

Hugs from Denver, Patry! K.

JP/deb said...

Some wise words in this experience Patry.

How much can we take? As much as we have to. And how do we deal with what we have to take ... with grace & humor ... you demonstrate both.

Peace & love, JP/deb

Gary Boyd said...

Sending some healing, strengthening, blissful love your way Patry. Hang in and get your muse back it's blueberry time.

Laura J. Wellner (author pseudonym Laura J. W. Ryan) said...

Thinkin' of you today while in my garden (more than once) and for a second I thought I smelled Cape Cod, so I thought I'd better stop by...I hope you're well, and getting better, it's been a long, long time...miss you. My Fred tells me to send his best. Love, Laura

Unknown said...

Thoughts and prayers with you, Patry. Just that. Simple. Thoughts and prayers. The blog? Heck, we worry ... but it's not important. Your time is the most precious gift of all. And your efforts have shown us a wondrous aspect of life that very few people are able to place in words.


Anonymous said...

So glad I checked in. I have been worried, but I am just glad you are okay. Take it easy and post when you feel to. Much love.

Kurt Kuden said...

Patry, do write more.. I miss your writing.. :)

Anonymous said...

Just dropping by to send you some positive vibes. :)

Anonymous said...

We're pullin' for ya, darlin'. Glad to hear you're at least planning to update, even if you don't get to it. Frankly, that's how I blog too, though your blogging is a thousand times more beautiful than mine.

--Kristi 7/31/08

♥ N o v a said...

I miss your postings, Ms. Patry. Hope you're well. ♥

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Patry,
Thinking of you, wishing you well. Kia kaha - Be Strong.

Anonymous said...

Just checking in to see if you had an inspiring story for me to read.

I guess I will have to simply wait... (And I'm sure all of your eager readers will agree that it will be worth however long it takes for your next post to pop up.)

Hope you are feeling well today. Thinking of you.


SweetAnnee said...

Oh my kids remember things like that..totally not me and I don't have a clue what they are talking about..
the carpenter sounds like a real ass..

I sure hope you feel better soon, no one knows how we feel when we're sick but that can't relate..
great news about the book TOo

Fred Garber said...

Thinking of you today and praying that all is going well. This is a good day to eat some sweet corn!

MB said...

Thinking of you Patry, as ever.