Pat Montandon was born in Texas and lived in Oklahoma as the daughter of a two ministers. At eighteen she became the tenth person in the world to undergo successful (blind surgery as it was then called) heart surgery. In her twenties Pat wrote and produced benefits for the American Heart Association. Pat was dubbed San Francisco’s “Golden Girl” by the press and named one of the top hostesses in the United States by Esquire Magazine. She wrote How To Be A Party Girl, published by McGraw Hill, and launched a career in radio and television and became a columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. Pat is the author of How to be a Party Girl, The Intruders, Making Friends, the first soviet-American co-publication, Celebrities and Their Angels, and Oh The Hell Of It All (Harper Collins) a memoir published April 6, 2007. The paperback A Life Beyond Imaginings: Whispers From God will be published April 6, 2008. Pat is currently working on Recipes for Conversation, based on her Roundtable salons as well as It’s Not About Your Neck, based on her seventy-nine years. Pat founded Children as The Peacemakers, an international foundation in 1982 and has now made thirty-seven trips around the world with young children, meeting with world leaders in twenty-six countries. PBS has broadcast a documentary about her work. This George Bernard Shaw quote sums up Pat’s philosophy. “This is the true joy of life: The being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being of a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
When I learned to read at about age six, I found a musty storage closet and would nestle into one of my mother's patch work quilts and stay there reading-Pilgrim's Progress, David Coperfield, comic books,The Bible-until it was time for supper. I devour books like some eat popcorn, relishing every word. Thinking about the books that have influenced me, my mind flipped through a catalog of titles until I finally settled on the following books.
Roots: Alex Haley. Alex was a dear friend. During the time he lived in Rome, New York, he invited me there so he could show me how to write a book outline. He was patient, funny, and inspiring. Alex was a master storyteller. When he talked, in soft melodious tones, about the Gambia river, how he went to Africa to discover his roots,and what led him there, I would sometimes weep. He believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself. Alex was working on Before This Anger a book that was to become Roots. When Alex and his assistant George Sims and my beau went to New York City together. One day, outside fifth Avenue's Brentano's book store, Alex said, Patsy Lou, someday your book will be right here in this window. Do you really think so, I asked. Honey, I know so, he said. And it was.
Earth Abides, George R. Stewart. I recently re-read this book and was as taken with it as when I was first introduced to it many years ago. Stewart captures what it must be like to be a survivor when no one wishes to survive, in much the way McCormac does in The Road.
Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck. Having experienced the depression and Oklahoma's dust bowl when I was a kid, Grapes of Wrath reads like non-fiction to me. The Joad family, Rose of Sharon, Tom, are still working the fields in my mind. Steinbeck's delineation of character is a study in how it should be done.
Gone With The Wind!
Love and Will, Rollo May
Peeing On Hot Ashes is my next book. I've changed the course of my writing, putting Recipes for Conversation on hold while I write about my childhood. Even though I've touched on my childhood in other books, there is so much colorful fodder there, that I feel I must write about it. The title, Peeing On Hot Ashes, is consuming me, and is from an actual incident when I was eight. I almost died from steam engulfing me when my pee hit the ashes, so to speak. I have been affected by that incident for the whole of my life. How did I happen to pee on hot ashes?, because I was scared of the dark and didn't want to go to the outhouse and so, decided to pee on a bucket of hot ashes my dad had left on the back porch to cool. A really bad decision.
Sandra Dijkstra Literary agent
PETA, Women for Women, Amnesty International, Children as the Peacemakers, Peace to The Planet
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