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Down Darby Lane

Over-the Top TV Soothes this Troubled Mind

Just when we thought the overwhelming events of the past two years might be ebbing, the tsunami of Vladimir Putin rose from the depths, and I, for one, feel as if I'm drowning in bad news. In some ways, the injustices being done to the people of Ukraine are even more demoralizing than surviving through the pandemic. I think this is because there is so little we can do to make a real difference. To hands-on help anyone. And though sending money to aid organizations is helpful – it's doesn't make me feel relieved, satisfied.

So, when I'm not lost in my sculpting projects, I've felt a general melancholy and struggle to find something joyful or uplifting about everyday life. After all, good news doesn't make the headlines. But I am going to share with you my secret escape from the dark side – a simple, guilty pleasure that never fails to uplift my mood and reinforce my belief in human kindness: Queer Eye.

The series (in case you don't know or are reluctant to go there) features five boldly gay men who descend on the home of a person whose life is in shambles. Each has an area of expertise – food, fashion, personal grooming, home design, and personal guidance. Over the course of each program, the men tutor, encourage and transform the lives of the men and women chosen for change.

When I watch the show, I'm swept away from the overwhelm of situations we have no power to alter and I enter the realm of the power of 'person-to-person.' Recently, the team visited the dilapidated RV of a young black woman who once had a functioning, mobile dog grooming business – until the rig broke down and was beyond her ability to repair. Business kaputt and dreams dashed . By the end of the episode, she had a new business plan launched, an updated wardrobe thanks to Tan (the fashion guru who helped her look like the business owner she wanted to be) a marketing strategy, a brand new mobile grooming van (fully outfitted by Bobby - interior designer), and a renewed belief in her own abilities and value.

We watch each step –Karomo (the coaching expert on the team) gently listens to her fears and hopes and offers emotional support that lifts her self-esteem; the shopping trip with Tan to build a wardrobe that makes her look like she wants to feel. A session at a hair salon with Johnathan (flamboyant and binary) whose philosophy is summed up here: "Imperfection is beautiful … If you've ever been excluded, or told you were not enough, know that you are enough and beautifully complete." The self-improvement blitz culminates in a "doggie fashion show" orchestrated by Anthony- the team's culinary and wine expert - that kicks off her new enterprise.

By the end of the episode, I'm smiling and sometimes (okay, often) shedding a few tears of gratitude – because they lifted me out of the swamp of every-day doom. And each of the guys on the Queer Eye team comes to the program from experiences that could crush and destroy the lives of lesser humans. They suffered hateful prejudice growing up as gay men – experiencing bullying, nonacceptance, physical abuse, and what they describe as "extreme hatred." Yet together and separately, they survived and, very clearly, thrive.

Karamo, who is black, talked about filming episodes in Texas. He got the double-barrels of homophobia and racism. People were, he said, "Very blatant … I don't interact with Black folks. I don't interact with brown folks. I don't interact with y'all gays … I don't understand this!" Each Queer Eye guy has his own story of beating the odds to build a great life.

After watching an episode, reflecting in the warm emotional glow of acts of kindness and generosity, I wonder how these five did it. Growing up with physical and verbal abuse, bullying, disapproval, and an almost complete lack of acceptance for the persons they were born to be. How did they endure to eventually accept themselves so completely and then share that triumph as shining stars?

I admire them for what they've done and now offer with the click of a remote. A reminder of a truth that gets lost in the onslaught of daily headlines - we all have an innate capacity for good. Here's some timeless reinforcement for that reality:

"The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane." Mahatma Gandhi

"One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world." Malala Yousafzai

"Angry people want you to see how powerful they are. Loving people want you to see how powerful you are." Chief Red Eagle


It was, as always, uplifting to hear from you about last week's blog on the invasion of Ukraine. I appreciate your thoughts and observations - and, like you, deeply hope for a swift and peaceful resolution - and wish that each of us could do more to help. Please continue to communicate with me at

Thanks so much to those of you who pass along my blog to friends and family – growing an audience is an integral part of feeling successful, and you are a big help to me. I appreciate you!


How about an opportunity to grab some free eBooks! Throughout March, there is a promotion in which you can choose as many books as you like absolutely FREE – My cozy mystery, "The Song of Jackass Creek" is part of the collection! Go forth and gather good reads. Pass the opportunity along to friends and family too. GO-GET-EM!


Friends and Readers,

A note about most of us, for better and worse, in the Arts. I think we long to share our thoughts and creations - and without you, we are lonely. Imagine, you wrote a beautiful piece of music and no one but you (and perhaps your cat) ever got to hear it. Or painted a picture that no one else but you ever saw, or wrote a story that no one but you read. Sharing is everything for people in the arts and your support is fundamental to the continued creativity of all artists. So, Thank you! 

Hey! Check out this awesome article by popular columnist Ed Goldman - it's about moi! Also subscribe to his clever, witty and smart blog!  

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My Mountain Mystery

My book has gotten fab reviews on Amazon! I am so excited readers like the characters, the setting, the plot - minus lots of graphic violence. 

If you are fond of 'cozy' mysteries please read The Song of Jackass Creek. Check out Reviews HERE.

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Short Story Collection 

Twisted is - twisted! And Gypsy's Wedding - well, you just have to be there!  Click on the books to see more ... 

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Sample Amazon Reviews

This is an excellent writer!

Darby Patterson is truly a talented writer. She describes this little town sweetly without boring the reader with unimportant detail, and her descriptions are vivid. She also develops her characters fully through conversation and action so the reader becomes acquainted with the main players and can form pictures of them early in the book. Her characters' thoughts, interactions, and past activities combine to portray the culture of Redbud throughout the story, and the story itself is creative and holds surprises along the way. I too hope Ms Patterson continues to share her talents with us!

Sondra Jensen

Awaiting the next installment

An invitation to linger in this vanishing part of California which has so much history is writ on every page of this book. I've visited places like Redbud with a creek burbling in the background as gentle breezes sough through the pines and cedars. I've found them quaint and rich with fascinating local lore and history. Jesse, as publisher of the local weekly is very nicely sketched, the authors background as a journalist comes through clean and clear in developing him. This small California mining and logging town scrabbling to hang on, I liked very much as a setting. I wouldn't mind sitting down with Jesse and having a beer and help him solve his next mystery. The test of a good book is whether you'd be willing to read it again, later. This book passes that test and I can't wait for the next installment.

Jack Howard


Please let this be the first of a series!

Wonderful book; adult without being ‘R’ rated, complex story and well developed characters. The people of ‘Redbud’ ring true and, as a native Californian, the lumber, real estate and politics are spot on. I hope this is the beginning of a series because the author has created characters you want to know better.

D. Holmes

My other passion
Sculpting for bronze - See more HERE
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