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No. 15 Keep Pattie Weird

Updated: Feb 2, 2019

“You’re a sweet girl and I’m so glad I got to know you. (Even if you are a little weird!) It’s been a fun year and you’ve been a part of it. See you next year!” -- Pattie’s Hudtloff Jr. High Year Book ‘79

Lakes High School Drama Club Officers '82

One night at a dinner party I mentioned a book I’d recently read called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. In the book, Currey describes the day to day life of artists and writers like Twyla Tharp, Agatha Christie, and Franz Kafka. One pattern I noticed throughout the book is that many of the men mentioned had servants, assistants, or wives who took care of their needs. Specifically, their morning or evening needs for coffee, tea, or  “. . . amphetamines (Auden; Paul Erdos), barbiturates (Jean-Paul Sartre), Benzedrine (Graham Greene; Ayn Rand); opium (Proust); and even laxatives (Louis Armstrong).” ***

“Kierkegaard nightly consumed a full teacup of sugar melted by strong coffee–he kept a collection of some 50 teacups and saucers, no two alike, and made his secretary select a different cup each night and justify his choice.”

-- Daily Rituals by Mason Currey

At this dinner party, I spoke of how I envied those artists who had people to coddle them, wait on them, do their housework and basically run their lives so they had time to do their art.

I then wondered how I could be my own lady in waiting when it came to my morning vice of strong tea. At this party, I went on to explain that I had created a morning ritual, not unlike the one experienced by The Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey.

I purchased an excellent thermos and every evening just before I go to bed I pour boiling water into the thermos, seal it tight and put it next to my bed. I put a pint of half n half in the window sill over my bed to keep it cold at night and on my night table, I keep a tea bag in a very large mug. When I wake up in the morning I can have a cup of tea in bed, just like my fellow spoiled artists and countesses.

After sharing, what I thought was a pretty great morning self-care ritual at this dinner party, one of the guests said loudly, “Pattie! You are so weird!” This is not the first time in my life I have heard this and I hope it is not the last. I’ve learned to take this comment as a compliment and here’s why.

In Jr. High we had small token yearbooks that we could have our classmates sign. Many of my friends wrote that I was nice and fun. Some said I was nice, fun, and kind of weird. Over the years, this description came up a number of times. The trend continued into high school until my senior year when my fellow students started to say that I was nice, fun, and TALENTED. 

By the time I was 17, my weirdness had turned into talent. I was active in drama, band, and choir and it showed. Since 1982, when anyone tells me they think I’m weird. I take it as an acknowledgment of my powerful imagination and my mastery of my art form.

WEIRD = TALENTED and, weirdos, don’t let anyone tell you any different.


***Lichtig, Toby (2013 November 19) The Telegraph

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