Pat Meeks has always read—a lot. But she never considered writing until after her retirement.
However, she felt inspired to record the stories of her family and the community she grew up in. She already had access to her grandmother’s memoir and her father’s cigar box where he kept his receipts. In it she found a receipt from when she was born. Five dollars for the delivery and two dollars a day for every day her mother stayed in the hospital afterwards.
These little tidbits of information fed her desire to write Goldie’s Girls, published in 2013. She followed up with Nurses Notes of Then and Nowpublished in 2016. It tells the story of her schooling in 1958 and her nursing career in Medicine Hat beginning in 1961. Over the following decades she saw tremendous change in the way medical care was delivered in the area.
In 2018, she published Kenneth D and Me, a memoir of her life with her second husband Ken. The two high school sweethearts reunited after her retirement and spent a lot of time traveling before Ken succumbed to pulmonary fibrosis.
Pat prefers to write her first draft with pen and paper sitting at her kitchen table. Then she transfers her work to her computer.
“Writing with pen and paper does more for me. It seems to draw out the thoughts,” said Pat. She spends between two and four hours a day writing.
“I have no trouble getting into it,” she says. But she does find technology and grammar to be her two biggest challenges. Luckily she has a niece who has helped edit some of her work.
For Pat, the most enjoyable part of writing is “getting the story saved on paper and seeing it come together.” She is also learning the art of marketing, taking her books to farmer’s markets, community stores and other venues. However, selling books is not an easy adventure.
“I think of it as an expensive hobby,” she says with a smile.
Pat says the memoir genre appeals to her because she wants to record stories for posterity. “These are stories of how [my ancestors] managed in difficult times. These are stories of very strong people. I don’t know how they did it all. That is what pushes me on.”