Post #47 – Women’s Memoirs, Writing and Healing – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
Dreams of Being a Princess
By Pamela Jane Bell
Regular guest blogger, children’s book author and coach. Pamela is currently finishing her memoir. Pamela’s first book for adults, Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover’s Romp through Jane Austen’s Classic is now available.
[Note from Women's Memoirs: Kendra is the cat lover in our team. Until recently, she had three cats. Although she is down to just one, we figure that Sabrina's lived at least 15 lives. So obviously, we had to find out more about Pamela's new book. We're convinced that if you like cats (or even if you don't) and if you can't get enough of Jane Austen then you'll also want to read this book. At the bottom of this blog post, we've provided Pamela's new book trailer. Enjoy.]
I have a confession to make. I’m horribly jealous of Princess Kate* but not for the reasons you might think. It’s not because she’s wealthy, or because the royal family owns several yummy country estates (one of which will be Kate and William’s country home). Nor is it because Kate can do anything she wants (princesses never can). It’s not even because of her hats. No, I’m jealous of Princess Kate because she has access to armies of super-attentive physicians, day and night. (As Woody Allen said, the best thing about being a celebrity is having doctors call you back on the weekend.) And that’s just the beginning! The Queen’s own gynecologist postponed his retirement to deliver Kate and William’s new baby, Prince George. What doctor would do that for a commoner?
I was thinking about this yesterday while sitting in the orthopedic doctor’s office, waiting for the doctor to come into the exam room. I broke my foot last summer while talking on a recorded line with my health insurance company. (They later claimed they lost that particular recording – not that I was going to sue them or anything.) Now I was afraid I’d re-fractured my foot exercising a little too zealously on the treadmill.
The longer I sat on that exam table, waiting, the more steamed up I got about not being a princess or even a Hollywood celebrity. When I arrived for my appointment, I had been hustled into the x-ray room even before I got a chance to be examined by the new doctor – hardly the protocol for royalty or even sub-royalty. I’m terrified of doctors and medical tests and being hurried along by a brusque impersonal technician was particularly unnerving. What a difference it would make, I thought, as I shifted my weight on the crinkly white paper, if doctors and their staffs treated me like they would Princess Kate, ministering to every tiny pain (I imagined), and every flash of panic. In fact, if I wanted, I could have the whole British commonwealth panicking along with me. How cozy would that be?
If only my daughter, Annelise, had listened to me! In 1997, when she was three I advised her to marry Prince William when she grew up. Then at least I’d have some royal privileges. But Annelise had just looked at me with her big three-year-old eyes and replied stoutly, “I don’t want that job.”
What a stubborn child, thinking of (and for) herself instead of her mom!
At this point in my ruminations, the door opened and the doctor breezed in.
“You sure had a bad break last year,” he said, holding the new x-rays up to the light. “But your foot is fine now.”
“Really?” I said, in surprise. “You mean I didn’t break it again?”
The doctor shook his head. “It’s fine. You’re fine!” He studied me for a moment. Then he sat down in the chair beside the exam table.
“You know,” he said, “You should enjoy life more and not worry so much.”
I nodded. “I’m a warrior worrier,” I admitted. “It’s an honored family tradition.”
The doctor chuckled. “What kind of work do you do?”
I told him I was a writer. Then I opened my purse and handed him a bookmark for my new book, Pride and Prejudice and Kitties.
When he looked at the bookmark, the doctor’s eyes lit up. “One does not love a place the less for having suffered in it,” he said, quoting from Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion.
Oddly enough, I just used that quote in a recent post for WomensMemoirs, Flexing Your Memoir Muscle: 5 Super Exercises.
For the next fifteen minutes or so we talked about love, suffering – and Jane Austen. For that brief time I felt like a princess, being treated by the Queen’s physician.
When the doctor stood up to go, he shook my hand.
“Write a story about this,” he said, “and God bless you.”
So here I am. There’s no moral to this story, just two tips:
1) Find the story in your ordinary, daily experiences, and the peculiar workings of your own mind. It’s great practice for writing your memoir. It might even lead to a whole new book.
2) Take the doctor’s prescription, and enjoy life. When you feel like speeding up, slow down instead – literally move more slowly. Notice things, listen, observe.
And here’s one last prescription. This one is from me: take time to treat a friend like a princess – the fairy dust will rub off on you.
*Kate’s proper title is “Duchess of Cambridge,” though she’s popularly called “Princess.”
Below is the trailer for Pamela Jane’s new book: Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover’s Romp through Jane Austen’s Classic