Transcript:                    Thanks, Allen. This is David Brower, and our special guest today is Patty Clark, author of Damsel in dis Mess, because I want to say Damsel in Distress. Hi Patty, how are you?

Patty Clark:                   Good. Thanks. And a lot of people do get that wrong.

David Brower:              Well, it’s a catchy title to say the least. Damsel in dis Mess: Girl Antics and Other Shenanigans by Patty Clark. She’s a success story having struggled for so many years, and came out of it alive and laughing all the way. Patty’s mission is to send smiles across America, and her witty confessional offers an uplifting approach to life’s challenges, the most everyone can relate to. Man, we all have challenges in life in some way shape or form, don’t we?

Patty Clark:                   We sure do.

David Brower:              Your laughter is like fricking’ contagious. Oh, my god. I love it.

Patty Clark:                   Well, you know, people have said to me, “Why aren’t you on stage? Why aren’t you a comedian?” I’m not really a comedian. I mean, an author can sit and edit stories over and over to make it humorous, which I’ve done.

David Brower:              Right.

Patty Clark:                   So I’m not really a spontaneous comedian by any means.

David Brower:              But you do have an infectious laughter and that’s got to be a huge part of, I’m sure, what comes across in your book is your personality, the way you feel about life now, and the things that you’ve gone through, right?

Patty Clark:                   Well, my journey has really led me through a lot of struggles in life, and it was either put a gun to my head or be constructive and find a way through each of them.

David Brower:              Nice.

Patty Clark:                   So I started writing thoughts down on paper as a means of therapy, and those thoughts turned into fun-filled, self-deprecating stories, and that’s how I wrote my book. They were tough stories in real life, but I just turned them around to make them a little humorous. And my stories are ones that so many people can relate to, and that’s what I’ve been told. That they can relate to my stories.

David Brower:              Well, that’s a gift right there. And so many of us, I think, sometimes when we’re going through different life struggles or drama or stress or depression or whatever it is, there’s oftentimes when we just feel alone, like nobody else is going through this except me. And for you to be able to constructively laugh your way out of those things, and I’m sure I’m exaggerating a bit, but to your readers, it helps them not feel alone, I would assume.

Patty Clark:                   Well, and I have to tell you a little story. Back last summer I did a radio show in Orange County with a guy that has millions of viewers, and I was real intimidated going there because I’m not one to be in front of a camera or do that kind of stuff. And he kind of caught me off guard, asking me questions and things. Again, it was just real intimidating. So I came home and I had another gal out of Florida call me to do her radio show, and we were discussing it. And then in the process of discussing it, she said, “I get several emails a day from women who have unsuccessfully committed suicide.”

David Brower:              Oh, my god.

Patty Clark:                   And my heart went to my throat, and the light bulb went off in my head, and I realized then and there that it was my mission to really reach out to those women who are feeling like that because, you know, I’ve been through real tough times myself. I haven’t tried to commit suicide; but, you know, we all have our low points in life, and it’s how you deal with it and get through it. The way I did was obviously just … I can remember being so frustrated and just jotting down thoughts on paper. It’s like keeping a diary. You write this stuff down, and you don’t really do anything with it; but I ended up turning it into a book, but turning it into something that people wanted to read with a little more humor in it.

David Brower:              Yeah.

Patty Clark:                   But now, that’s my feeling, is not even try to be funny anymore; if I can share my stories, and help people through their troubles, then that means more to me than anything.

David Brower:              No question about it. To be able to pay it forward in any way, shape, or form, and maybe save a life along the way, I mean, I just got goosebumps saying that. I mean there’s just nothing like that.

Patty Clark:                   Exactly.

David Brower:              So tell us a story that people can relate to, and maybe one that kicked off your book, or one of your favorite stories in your book that you’d like to share with people.

Patty Clark:                   Well, I’m originally from Michigan. My dad was going to be a Catholic priest until he met my mom. We had 10 kids in our family, so much of my childhood was chaotic.

David Brower:              Yeah.

Patty Clark:                   And I moved to California 15 years ago, because I always wanted to be a California girl. I had gone through a divorce and raised daughters as a single mother; and that was pretty stressful.

David Brower:              Yeah.

Patty Clark:                   And then I made this decision to start my life all over again on the West Coast, and went through a series of struggles all over again. I felt my life was sort of like the Wizard of Oz since I raised little munchkins on my own.

David Brower:              Yeah.

Patty Clark:                   I was a very scared Dorothy walking this goofy road without knowing what was ahead, but I remember looking up to-

David Brower:              That explains the red shoes on the cover of your book.

Patty Clark:                   … but I looked up to the sky, I clicked my heels three times and prayed to the mighty professor marvel I call God and powered through every twister that awaited me.

David Brower:              Wow.

Patty Clark:                   Pretty much.

David Brower:              I love the cover of your book, seriously. Once you said, “Dorothy”, I’m going, “Oh, she’s got her red heels on. She’s clicking them. That’s awesome.”

Patty Clark:                   Thank you. I got a lot of good reaction to that cover.

David Brower:              I bet you did. I bed you did. So-

Patty Clark:                   I’m thinking of doing a second book, and I don’t think I can beat this cover, though.

David Brower:              It’s pretty impressive, I got to tell you. Absolutely. Unless you put Toto on the cover, I don’t know what you’re going to do with it. So when people read your book, I assume that they reach out to you, maybe try to share their stories with you. How does the piece of you communicating with your readers happen?

Patty Clark:                   I think I love it the most when people tell me what their favorite story was.

David Brower:              Yeah, that makes sense.

Patty Clark:                   You know, whether they can relate to that one in particular or not. I do love hearing the feedback.

David Brower:              So do you go out and do any public speaking to women’s groups and those kinds of things, about your book and about what you’ve been through?

Patty Clark:                   I’ve done a few, but it’s just really not what I want to do. I’ve done a lot of radio shows. I think I prefer doing the radio shows.

David Brower:              Yeah.

Patty Clark:                   I have thought about going out and doing the speaking, but I’ve got other things I’m trying to do and it’s hard.

David Brower:              It is hard.

Patty Clark:                   It’s hard. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything.

David Brower:              Well, that’s right. I mean, we have to focus on the one or two, or maybe even three things, that we’re really passionate about on any given day, and give those things our attention until they either come to fruition or we just kick them to the curb and go somewhere else. So, yeah, getting involved in a ton of things is really hard. And when you’re … I’m going to guess, you’re an introvert, and that makes it even more difficult to go out and speak in front of groups.

Patty Clark:                   It is, and like I said, it’s easy to sit here and write and then take a day or a week to edit something.

David Brower:              Right.

Patty Clark:                   It’s a lot harder to get out there and just speak like you’re a natural speaker. I’m just not a natural speaker.

David Brower:              But you interview well, so that’s a big deal, and you have a contagious laugh, which is also a big deal. So what does your family think about your writing? You got a family with nine siblings, and what kind of feedback have they given you?

Patty Clark:                   Well, I think my kids were ready to put me in an asylum when they read stuff about them, but my dad is still alive. He lives in Florida. He’s 94 years old.

David Brower:              Wow.

Patty Clark:                   Still has more of a social life than I do. He’s amazing. He wrote a Christmas letter, which he does every year, and he just bragged about my book telling everybody they had to get it and read it. So there’s that answer. My dad loves me, my kids maybe not so much.

David Brower:              Well, anytime, I mean I want to be your dad when I grow up. My gosh, 94 years old, living in Florida, having a social life, bragging on his daughter. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Patty Clark:                   And I owe any sense of humor I have to him, because he has always been a man that loves jokes, and smiles all the time. He was in an optimist club when he was younger-

David Brower:              Okay.

Patty Clark:                   … and that says it all.

David Brower:              It sure does.

Allan Blackwell:            He’s a true optimist.

David Brower:              Yeah, it sure does. So how long did it take you to write the book?

Patty Clark:                   The stories evolved. I’ll have to tell you, my dream was to do a blog. So about six years ago, I think it’s been, a friend helped me start the blog, and within four posts, I was picked up by a Kansas newspaper, The Parsons Sun-

David Brower:              Wow.

Patty Clark:                   … and I wrote for them for two years; so that was the kickstart of my writing career. And as I look back now, I think, “Boy, my writing wasn’t even that great.” But it was a fun run. I wrote for them and then things progressed, and I ended up writing the book.

David Brower:              And to be picked up that quick has got to boost your esteem and your confidence that you’re headed in the right direction, right?

Patty Clark:                   Well, that was it; and anybody who attempts to be an author, you got to know the trials and tribulations that come with that. You send clearing letters out until you’re blue in the face, and I sent them out for the first year. I did get a couple responses, handwritten notes from publication companies that said, “We aren.t the publication for you, but keep writing because we enjoyed your stories.” So, that really kept me going.

David Brower:              Wow, that’s super encouraging. And then, of course, you had a bunch of knots on your head from banging your head against the wall and you can only drink so many bottles of wine, so I’m sure that was all-

Patty Clark:                   Right.

David Brower:              Tell me about … You were a six-time contest winner in the Tell me about that.

Patty Clark:                   Oh, that’s right, that too, I forgot about that. That was before I got picked up by the newspaper.

David Brower:              Okay.

Patty Clark:                   I just happened to find them online one time, and I started submitting stories and ended up winning six of them.

David Brower:              Wow. Was each one a trip to the Bahamas? Or, what did you get?

Patty Clark:                   I didn’t get paid for those. That was just-

David Brower:              Did you at least get a trophy or a plaque? I mean something.

Patty Clark:                   No. I just got my name written online. That’s about it.

David Brower:              Well, that’s good. Bragging rights is always good. I mean any time you can-

Patty Clark:                   It is.

David Brower:              … put yourself down as a six-time contest winner regarding humor, which is what you’re about, I mean that speaks … No matter whether anybody knows anything about you or not, that gives you some instant credibility. That’s pretty significant, you know.

Patty Clark:                   But I do want to say that anybody that has the passion of writing like I do, because it truly is probably the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my life. And I still, to this day, I want to sit at my computer all day long and write, which I know I can’t do, it’s not good for my body. But to never give up their passion because you just keep plugging away and plugging away. I even have to say, to this day, I’m a much better writer now than I was when I first started.

David Brower:              Sure.

Patty Clark:                   Because you do it long enough and you learn so much.

David Brower:              Yeah, you learn your craft. You get feedback. You build confidence. And I think something else too, the way you started out, I think a lot of people … Well, I shouldn’t say a lot of people. I think some people, you know, they do diaries. They do journals, or they’re thinking about doing a diary. They’re thinking about doing a journal of some sort. Maybe they’re thinking about doing a book. And I think the reality is, is once you start, I mean the biggest, the hardest part in life is just to show up. So once you start, you might find a gift in there that you didn’t even know you had, you know.

Patty Clark:                   I know, it’s so true. I think the biggest compliment I’ve ever gotten, and this has been said by a few people, is that I’m the modern day version of Erma Bombeck, which you can’t get any-

David Brower:              Oh, my god. That’s-

Patty Clark:                   … any best compliment than that.

David Brower:              No, that is beyond high praise. So that’s … and maybe that’s the name of your next book, you know. I love Erma Bombeck, with a picture of Toto on the cover.

Patty Clark:                   Did you ever read her stuff?

David Brower:              I did. I read her column all the time, and my mom was an avid Erma Bombeck … My mom was one of the funniest women I’ve ever known and to see her read that and just laugh until she almost wet her pants was … That was worth the price of admission, you know. She was a big, big fan.

Patty Clark:                   Yeah.

David Brower:              Big, big fan. Is she still … I mean, she’s still syndicated, right?

Patty Clark:                   I don’t know.

David Brower:              I’m not sure either. So-

Patty Clark:                   It must have been fun living in your house, if your mother was a comedian.

David Brower:              Oh, my god. She was such a kick in the pants, I got to tell you. She, yeah, she made my day. I was an only child, and my dad was on the road a lot. So to be able to hang out with my mom and embrace some of her humor like you did with your dad, that’s a gift that you’re just eternally grateful for. I think about that every day. It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty cool.

Patty Clark:                   Neat.

David Brower:              So what’s your next book?

Patty Clark:                   Well, it’ll be another compilation of stories. I just don’t know what the title’s going to be or the picture will be.

David Brower:              Yeah.

Patty Clark:                   Pardon me?

David Brower:              Are you getting close on finishing it? Or, where are you in the process?

Patty Clark:                   Yeah, I’m getting close. I’m also thinking about writing a book about … My boyfriend and I live together and he is … You talk about comedians. This guy has more stories than … And I’ve heard them over and over and over until I’m blue in the face, but they can’t go unrecognized.

David Brower:              Right.

Patty Clark:                   I mean these stories are … And so I’m thinking of doing a little twist and using my humor and writing these stories all about him. So-

David Brower:              You should do that. Oh, my gosh. That’d be great.

Patty Clark:                   Yeah. I’ve already been dabbling in it a little bit, and I don’t know. I might be sequestered to the house for the next year doing this.

David Brower:              That’d be okay.

Patty Clark:                   [crosstalk 00:15:52] a life, but-

David Brower:              I interviewed a young lady, gosh, maybe six, seven months ago; and I hope I get the name of the book right. It was Men Are Like Shoes. And so, she would … And she had, of course, shoes on the cover of her book, and she would go out, treat herself to dinner, take her laptop with her and just watch different men, different relationships, and then compare them with the 20 or 30 pairs of shoes that she had in her closet, you know. So, oh, my god. Fricking’ hysterical. And so, what made me think of that is when you’re talking about your boyfriend and his insatiable sense of humor and stories, to be able to do that twist and bring that part out I think would be great fun.

Patty Clark:                   Well, I tell you what. It would be a great TV series or movie, I can tell you because-

David Brower:              Well, there you go.

Patty Clark:                   … there isn’t anybody that listens to his stories that doesn’t end up cracking up.

David Brower:              Well, maybe he should do a podcast and, you know, you can be his agent.

Patty Clark:                   No. Well, no. He doesn’t want to do anything like that. In fact, he’s a little bit worried about me right now. But I think in the long run, once it’s done … I mean, he’s always been very supportive of me and the stories I’ve done and so many of the stories in this book include him.

David Brower:              Sure, sure.

Patty Clark:                   And he’s been the first person to say, “I don’t care if she writes that, but just so you know, I really don’t walk around the house nude.” Because I wrote something like that once.

David Brower:              Well, yeah, the truth has to come with a little exaggeration just to increase the humor level, you know.

Patty Clark:                   That’s the part about being a creative author, and we talk about that all the time. I go to a writer’s group. I’ve been there for years, and we just happen to like each other. That’s why I’m still there.

David Brower:              Nice.

Patty Clark:                   But we say that, too, like that’s the best part is you can just take off a little bit and as long as you reel yourself back in you’re doing good.

David Brower:              Well, yeah. I mean you can be self-deprecating about yourself, but you could just laugh your head off about your boyfriend, you know.

Patty Clark:                   Right.

David Brower:              Hey, congratulations on the book. We’ve been talking with Patty Clark, author of Damsel in dis Mess: Antics and Other Shenanigans. Her blog is, and you can catch her on Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, all the usual places. Where can folks buy your book or find your book, Patty?

Patty Clark:                   Amazon, Good Reads.

David Brower:              Nice. Are you going to turn that into an audio book, by chance?

Patty Clark:                   You know, I started to. It’s difficult. My voice gets really … That frog is in there all the time and then I have to stop, and keep going [inaudible 00:18:44] edit. I attempted to do it. So I don’t know if I’ll finish or not-

David Brower:              Yeah.

Patty Clark:                   … but I know I should be. And people have also told me I should be doing a podcast so I’m thinking about doing that, too.

David Brower:              Good for you. Good for you. Well, keep more challenges. Keep more laughter, and keep touching people all along the way. You got some special gifts going on my friend. It’s been a real treat, a real pleasure to talk with you. Thanks for taking the time.

Patty Clark:                   Thanks so much for having me.

David Brower:              You bet. Again, Patty Clark, Damsel in Dis Mess: Girls Antics and Other Shenanigans. Check out her blog as

Allan Blackwell:            Your 20 minute with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found including iHeart Radio, the Spotify mobile app, and at Until next time, thanks for listening.