Toby Dorr
Episode 30

Episode 30

Toby Dorr: Hi, everyone, and welcome to Fierce Conversations with Toby, the show where we discover the silver lining in life’s most difficult stories. I’m your host, Toby Dorr.

Toby Dorr: Before we start, can you tell me, Pat, what your favorite color is and why?

Pat Black-Gould: have a favorite color? I think that I’m inspired by things around me or things that I see. Um, I have friends that are artists. They’re very gifted. I’m not in that area, and I love how they play with color, and they’ll put things together that I might not be drawn to, but yet it just works. You know,

Toby Dorr: That’s

Pat Black-Gould: one thing, yeah, I will say one thing when I was doing the book, my illustrator, who was brilliant, we, we changed our color tones and she asked me to look at different color palettes to go from the joy at the beginning of the book to this more solid and serious and somber end of the book.

Pat Black-Gould: So I actually, she and her, her and I, we, we, we, we came up with color palettes. and looked at what’s going to best express the book. Um, and that was, um, an interesting education for me

Toby Dorr: Yeah, I love that.

Pat Black-Gould: through a course scheme.

Toby Dorr: And I’m looking at your book now, and this is actually Pat’s book. Let me get it up here so we can see it well. I want to get it right. It’s, uh, The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey. And it’s a story of a girl in the, during the Holocaust, a girl in Poland. And when I look at the beginning of the book, you have a lot of yellow, bright, sunshiny yellow. then, Towards the end of the book, you know, it gets more somber and has different, um, color tones. So I think that’s so true. I think colors, you know, they had so much effect on us and they really, um, they really set the stage for, to set the mood. So I think that’s pretty powerful. I love how you did the different colors.

Toby Dorr: That’s pretty apparent to me now that I look at it.

Pat Black-Gould: Yeah, that was an interesting, interesting thing to learn to see how to be able to capture that. Yeah.

Toby Dorr: So what’s the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make, Pat?

Pat Black-Gould: Oh, which one? Yeah, I guess, you know, I think they are, um, I think there are many. Um, but I think some of the ones to me that hit on the artistic side of the best was my, my background. The original background was in the theater world in New York. Um, I was working, uh, in theater there. I ran a, a, uh, uh, children’s workshop company there, um, for underprivileged kids, you know, um, and then I moved up to, uh, I did summer stock up in Maine.

Pat Black-Gould: Um, and then I ended up. Uh, running the company and, um, I ran a murder mystery dinner theater company and, um, did some regional work, but theater doesn’t always pay the bills. So I

Toby Dorr: Yeah.

Pat Black-Gould: a career shift. Um, and that was very tough, you know, so I, I wanted to choose a career that still. Allowed me to express myself and look at people and try to understand people and, and cause in writing, you’re really looking at character development.

Pat Black-Gould: Who are these characters? Where are they coming from? You know, so psychology,

Toby Dorr: Yes.

Pat Black-Gould: Right? So I made a switch, um, and that was really hard because in one way I thought I was saying goodbye to something I loved, um, but in another way I was able to incorporate the artistic side through psychodrama, through role plays, working with patients,

Toby Dorr: Oh, yeah, I could see the connection there. At first, you know, I read about your

Pat Black-Gould: Yes.

Toby Dorr: in theater and, and then I knew you were a psychologist and you actually worked in the prison environment. And I thought, Those seem like two such different, uh, paths, but it does make sense how you can connect them.

Toby Dorr: So that, that does make it work, I think. So you published a children’s book. We just talked about it briefly, but it’s, uh, Lachla’s Journey at Crystal Beads. You published your children’s book in June of 2022, which is the same month. And year that I published my memoir. So we’re kind of publishing sisters here.

Toby Dorr: I think even in the

Pat Black-Gould: yes, we are

Toby Dorr: my book published on June 15th. What was your date?

Pat Black-Gould: 14. So we are. We’re almost twins. Yeah.

Toby Dorr: So, so that’s pretty interesting. And I remember watching you, you know, announcing your book and, and it was so exciting and I was doing the same thing at the same time and, and I thought that was pretty cool.

Toby Dorr: So, where did the idea for your book come from?

Pat Black-Gould: Um, it happened a long time ago, actually, in when I was still in the theater world. Uh, and in, um, my rabbi had talked about a little girl. Um, during the Holocaust, he just gave me a paragraph, basically, that was it. And I, what I had heard and it, it stuck with me and it stuck with me and it stuck with me.

Pat Black-Gould: And at that time being in theater, I was, I was acting and I was looking at theater monologues. And so I wrote it as a theater monologue initially. And then, um, I put it aside and had a long career. And when I came down to Florida, semi retired, um, I wanted to join a writing group and the first thing that I pulled out was that monologue to

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm.

Pat Black-Gould: a short story.

Pat Black-Gould: Especially in today’s day and age where, where we really need to be expressing love and caring about each other, even if we’re different, we can

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm.

Pat Black-Gould: about each other. So I figured it was a timely, a timely time, uh, occasion to really. Publish something that really spoke to people and could resonate

Toby Dorr: Yeah, I love that and your book is a children’s book and it’s a it’s not a fairy tale story It’s a real story. It’s a difficult story and that’s one of the things I love about it Of course because you know, I’m into talking about fierce things difficult things and so many children’s books are mermaids and you know princesses and fairy tales and your book is not it really It really brings reality into the world and I, I love that about it.

Toby Dorr: I think that’s one of its strengths. So, do you want to tell us a little bit about the theme of the story?

Pat Black-Gould: yeah, the thing of the story is, um, we were in Poland in 1939 is where it’s set and, um, I, a mother has to make a very difficult choice. To keep a little girl alive and she teaches her how she’s, she, she and a neighbor teaches her, um, uh, Catholic songs and prayers to, to stay safe. And she, she did it because she’s only seven years old.

Pat Black-Gould: She made, she played it as a game. I’m gonna teach you this game to play and to keep you safe. Um, and the mother then takes her to a convent and several children at that time did go into convents to remain safe during the the Holocaust years. And the child is, you know, and the child then goes through and I won’t give it away, but the child then goes through having to look at how can I stay safe?

Pat Black-Gould: What did mama

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm.

Pat Black-Gould: Um, when she’s confronted by evil, um, and, and has to, has to figure out how to stay safe through that. And there’s a nun that protects her through that time as well.

Toby Dorr: Yeah. I

Pat Black-Gould: and the whole idea

Toby Dorr: I, I think it’s really powerful. And it’s beautifully illustrated too. So. And I, you know, especially I love this page. You’ve got the

Pat Black-Gould: That’s, that’s the theme of the book.

Toby Dorr: and the

Pat Black-Gould: That’s the theme of the book.

Toby Dorr: Yeah. And I just think it’s beautiful. So I love your book. Uh, my only regret is I don’t have you sign it because I have never met you in person.

Toby Dorr: So we’ll have to make that happen one

Pat Black-Gould: have to find a way to read it. Yes. Yes.

Toby Dorr: So you’ve been traveling quite a bit to promote your book. I think, did you even Leave the United States to talk about your book.

Pat Black-Gould: Um, I, I, I did, but it was, but I didn’t talk about it overseas. I did have a trip, because my husband’s from Ireland, so we went there, and I did bring that over there. But mostly everything that I did was, was in, was in this country at various different organizations that I had the privilege of working for, both that and Zoom.

Pat Black-Gould: Um. One section of the book that I didn’t want to just make it the story. It’s important to me to make a curriculum guide out of this book. So I put questions for kids, questions for adults. Um, and I put a section on a place in Tennessee called, um, that’s the Whitwell

Toby Dorr: Yes. Yes. Where they did the, the box car thing with paperclips.

Pat Black-Gould: paper, the paperclip project.

Pat Black-Gould: They collected paperclips to honor each person that perished during that time.

Toby Dorr: when you say the number, it’s, it’s a

Pat Black-Gould: The number has no

Toby Dorr: and you can’t understand how big it is. But when you, I think the teacher was brilliant because. She wanted to show her kids how big that number was, and so they started collecting paperclips. And that’s a lot of paperclips. I mean, that’s really impactful to see how big that is.

Toby Dorr: I just think that’s a powerful project. Yeah, I saw that you went there, and I had been reading about that project previously. And I was really intrigued. I’m going to have to put that on my list to go visit. Oh,

Pat Black-Gould: and they do the, they, and they, it has really become, it’s been in 20 years right now, and the books are stored in a, in a German car, rail car, that was used to bring, uh, Jews to concentration

Toby Dorr: that’s right. They got a railroad car donated to them, didn’t they, somehow? And, yeah, I think that’s pretty powerful. Yeah, yeah. Uh

Pat Black-Gould: that is stored on the site, so when I travel, I did a presentation back for them when the book was written, because that’s, you know, I really wanted to include that, because to me, that meant hope, that meant what we can do. This is a story that took place in the past, yet what we deal right now, um, with anti Semitism and hatred is, Right now.

Pat Black-Gould: So this, there was an example in here. Here’s what kids can do. Here’s how kids can help. And that has become internationally known survivors, Holocaust survivors and families go there, um, you know, to visit. It has an extensive library, um, and artifacts from survivors and, and family members of survivors.

Pat Black-Gould: And, and so that to me was extremely important.

Toby Dorr: I think that’s beautiful. Yeah, I’m definitely going to put that on my list. And I, you know, I live here outside of Washington, D. C. And I noticed that the Smithsonian has a Holocaust museum, which I haven’t been to yet, but it’s on my list for one of our day trips into the city. So, yeah, I think, I think definitely we need to learn from the past, especially the tragedies and the horrors of the past, so we don’t repeat them. I think that’s really interesting. So, um, you’ve also taken your story about Lalka, which, by the way, uh, I’ve learned that Lalka is the Polish word for doll. And you wanted to give this girl, you didn’t want to give her a name because you didn’t want her to be specific to a particular child, so you used a nickname.

Toby Dorr: So Lalka in Polish means doll. And you’ve taken Lalka’s story to other artistic interpretations. So tell us about some of those. I think there’s some ballet and a couple other

Pat Black-Gould: Uh, yeah, it’s it’s really involved. I belong to an organization called the National League of American Pen Women and its writers, artists, dancers, musicians, um, they’re based out of Washington D. C. But there’s a branch in every state. And before my before my book became a book, it was a short story and I collaborated with the collage artist who did a collage piece.

Pat Black-Gould: of the, uh, of the book, her interpretation of that. So, um, it started with that. Um, then from there, after the book was published, um, I connected with a, uh, a composer and musician who then also had music, you know, that she adapted. for the, um, for the book. Um, and I connected them with another National League of American Men and Women, long title, um, uh, a dancer.

Pat Black-Gould: And

Toby Dorr: Wow.

Pat Black-Gould: is, she danced one of the pieces from the book. And right now we’re going to be heading to a state conference in October where all of us Are going to get together and we’re going to put this as a staged production, dramatic, uh, dramatic reading, have the collage, have the music and the dancer’s sister also composed, uh, a specific piece of music based on that last picture that you held up with the

Toby Dorr: Oh, yes.

Pat Black-Gould: of David in the other is specifically for that.

Pat Black-Gould: So we will be putting this into a performance piece that will be

Toby Dorr: How beautiful. How beautiful. I’m hoping you’re going to be able to record it and publish it somehow so we can

Pat Black-Gould: we’re going to try to see what we can do. We

Toby Dorr: Yeah. Excellent. Excellent. I think that’s beautiful. Where’s that going to be, by the way?

Pat Black-Gould: it is going to be in Daytona. It’s the, it’s the, the National League of American Penn Women. Um, the Florida branch is having its state conference in Daytona Beach, um, in late October.

Toby Dorr: That’s beautiful. I’m going to, I, I love that story. I can’t wait. Yeah, I think that’s beautiful. So you also have a history as a prison psychologist. Tell us what you learned from that job.

Pat Black-Gould: Yeah, I, I was a prison psychologist. I was also, um, also worked in a, uh, a forensic hospital. So I got to see people there both there and, and as well as, as a prison. Um, and I think one of the things that struck me probably the most about that is that one of, one of my jobs, I, um, I had a staff and everything and we would, we, we do educational programs for.

Pat Black-Gould: Um, you know, for the inmates and everything, uh, one of the things that hit me, I think the hardest was that when you want to educate and move someone into a different life who knew other no good life when you were young. How do you say here’s a good alternative for you? Because it doesn’t connect in any way.

Pat Black-Gould: There’s no root. There’s no source. So what are we not doing when we have our yeah. Why are we not mentoring, why are we not doing enough of in our society that, that allows people before they get to a prison to see that I can go out there and do something because they, especially the young men, there, there’s nothing they seem to connect to, no one to say, I’ve got this because it’s falling back into my world, it’s this prison.

Pat Black-Gould: And well, I kind of like it because I can be a kind of hotshot with

Toby Dorr: I know how this works and the outside world is unknown to me and so that makes it scary. Yeah.

Pat Black-Gould: Right.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, of course I can relate, you know, since I served time in prison and so I was on the other side of it and you know in my book I tell one story because when you go to a jail, now jails are different than prison, jails are a place where they just hold you while they’re charging you and deciding if you’re going to be sentenced or released, but when you go into a jail, You cannot bring any medications with you.

Toby Dorr: And I had a roommate in jail who had some serious, serious psychiatric problems and had been on a lot of heavy medication. And she cut her arm and she heard voices that told her to hurt people. And when she got to the jail, they took away her pills, her medication. They didn’t give it to her. Now when you go to the jail, you’re evaluated by a doctor there or a nurse.

Toby Dorr: And they decide what prescriptions you can have. But in jails, there really aren’t psychiatrists on duty, you know, you’ll have them in prisons, so they don’t prescribe psychiatric medications. And, uh, you know, I was really fortunate because I was on thyroid medication because I had my thyroid removed after thyroid cancer and my parents. New enough to go to the judge and get a court order that I can have my thyroid Medications without having to be evaluated by the doctor, but my roommate, uh, her parents, you know they didn’t understand the court system and and they They had their own issues. And so, you know, uh, jennifer just I think I called her Jessica in the book.

Toby Dorr: I’ll call her Jessica, but Jessica just, um, she just degraded over time because, you know, when she told me these voices are getting louder and louder and louder and I’m not going to be able to stop and I’m going to hurt somebody and I need my medication. Every day she’d ask for her medication. Every day they’d tell her that she didn’t have any. That just so stuck with me because jail is hard enough, let alone trying to get through when you need a psychologist or a psychiatrist or some kind of medication. And um, the role of a prison psychologist is so critical because if you don’t have a problem before you go to prison, you’re gonna have one while you’re there.

Toby Dorr: So really, every single inmate Has need of a psychologist. And did you find that just overwhelming the workload? Because I would think that there’s people that you need to spend more time with, but there’s so many people you need to see and work with that. Did it feel difficult for you to have to cut your time with each person?

Toby Dorr: Right.

Pat Black-Gould: and, and scheduling a lot of time. Time is cut because if there’s an event going on in a unit and you can’t see the person because they could be a lockdown or an incident had just happened, and you’ve got so many people on your schedule that, that it was impossible to catch up with everyone that you needed to see.

Pat Black-Gould: And I had a staff, you know, and, and between all of them. We were a lot of times you’re on lockdown, something’s going on. You can’t get somewhere. There were enough, there were not enough guards to go to, um, to take you to, to go with you because nobody went along.

Toby Dorr: Right, right.

Pat Black-Gould: and you’re a maximum security, you know?

Pat Black-Gould: Yeah. So you’re dealing with that and then you’re not dealing with enough time, you know, uh, difficult conditions and situations and an outlandish amount of paperwork that had to be filled out with someone. So the staff was stuck between, do I see the person? Or do I get this outrageous stack of paperwork on this one visit in there?

Pat Black-Gould: And that became a big problem. And it, and, and I felt like we, that was never addressed enough because there was stuff that had to be done and, and written and out in time, and logged in all these different complex situations. And if you don’t have that, you know, the staff would be in trouble. And at the same time, it’s like, but how do I see the patient?

Pat Black-Gould: So we’re always battling politics of if it’s not written, you know,

Toby Dorr: Well, yeah. I think it would be so difficult and so overwhelming, and I think, you know, when you go home, at the end of the day, you really have to go through a process to remove yourself from that environment and those worries and those inmates and those pressures. Because if you are a. Good psychologist.

Toby Dorr: You really do want your patients to get better and to make progress. And it’s got a way heavy on your mind when you Your hands are tied in a lot of cases. So I think that would be a difficult job. So what did you find rewarding about it? I know it had to have a rewarding side as well.

Pat Black-Gould: I think number one, we had a good staff. I think that was exceptional. Um, because they really do care, you know, and they worked hard. Um, and, and there were some people that I felt I reached whether anything, you know, it may say whether wouldn’t stick when, when it was on the outside. Is there a chance?

Pat Black-Gould: Could I, am I making any difference because of the recidivism rate is so high? Is anything clicking? Okay. You know, am I, am I getting through to them, you know, and it was those times when I felt like, uh, I did, you know, um, and we dug up some things enough for them to look at and have a willingness, hopefully for them to continue on that path once they got out.

Pat Black-Gould: Um, you know, that was, that was about as far as we could get at times was the rewards. On the other end of hoping they got it.

Toby Dorr: 27 months, which was a long time for

Pat Black-Gould: That’s long enough.

Toby Dorr: It was not a long time compared to a lot of the people I was in prison with. They had much longer sentences to deal with. When I got out of prison, You know, it took me, I think it probably took me five months to adjust to being out of prison because I had this, I had panic attacks if I was in a crowd or it was dark and I couldn’t see who was behind me or being afraid to make a decision because what if I, what if I didn’t stop long enough at the stop sign and I turned right and the police pulled me over and I’m on probation and now I have to go back to prison.

Toby Dorr: You know, it was just this fear, this. Completely overwhelmed situation because you had no decisions to make and no control over anything and now you’re out and you’re just like you’ve got to create some boundaries for yourself and some structure so that you can feel safe inside that space. And it was a huge adjustment.

Toby Dorr: It was a huge adjustment and. And I, you know, I had a really good relationship with a prison psychiatrist in one of the places I was in, and I, I really think she saved my life. So it was, it was really important. And I think there should be more focus on psychologists and psychiatrists in, in correctional facilities.

Toby Dorr: Because it, it’s difficult. It’s really difficult. So, I love that. I’m so I’m so grateful to know someone who’s made that their career. Um, tell us about a significant event in your life that knocked you down and how did you pick yourself up?

Pat Black-Gould: Um, what comes to mind is I’m working on a novel right now and it’s, it’s, um, semi autobiographical.

Toby Dorr: Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm.

Pat Black-Gould: but with a co writer, um, um, Steve Hardiman, and it really covers, um, uh, the life of a family in, you know, in New Jersey during the Vietnam, during the Vietnam War era and everything.

Pat Black-Gould: And, um, my, my, my, the, there are several adults in it, but it’s a parent, it’s parents and a grandmother and, um, who are no longer here. So as I’m writing these characters, and I kept them pretty. similar, you know, it’s fictional, but I kept them similar. And I think that when I, I talk about the, the, the idea of what knocked me down, the losing them.

Toby Dorr: Yes.

Pat Black-Gould: the loss of each one of them and I’ll bring them back to life in this, you know, in this, in this novel, but it is so painful

Toby Dorr: Yes.

Pat Black-Gould: they’re not here. And it’s like, and I’m honoring them through this and, and, and, and the words, there’s some things that are real, you know, and, and accurate, you know, um, and what they lived through.

Pat Black-Gould: And I just want to say, Okay. Why didn’t I? Why? We just get older. We, we, we grow and we don’t take in the information. And I’m thinking I never asked you about this. This happened in your life and I didn’t get that chance. So, so every time I find the thing that I couldn’t ask, it’s like a loss and a reminder of, Oh my God.

Pat Black-Gould: Oh my God. And you live out it. Yeah. How did you survive this? I want to know that, you know, and, and we don’t, I think our younger generation, maybe some are in tune to that, but I’m not sure everybody is because we think our family is going to live forever. And then they don’t.

Toby Dorr: yes, you know, my grandmother’s father died in World War One and. Uh, he died when she was eight years old and she was very much a daddy’s girl and he was buried in France. He, he was on a ship that was torpedoed and his ship sunk and he managed to swim and stay on and find a rock to cling to and they got him off the rock and took, but he died of hypothermia and so he was buried in France I think or somewhere and Then after the war, they brought his body back to South Dakota, where my, where his family lived and my grandmother lived and her mother opened the casket and had her children look at him.

Toby Dorr: I mean, he’d been dead for several years and I knew that, but I never asked her. What was that like? You know, we never talked about that and I would love to know What impact that had on her for the rest of her life and she kept a comb a little metal comb that was in his pocket in that casket and she got that comb and she kept it and she still had it when she died and now my brother Has it but there’s so many stories that you wish you could ask and and now you’ll never have the answers because They’re gone. Yeah

Pat Black-Gould: So when I put the pieces together, you know, as, as my way of sort of honoring what lives they had, I can only go by and try to fill in some gaps because there’s so many, especially when you’re writing, you know, because there’s so many questions you have

Toby Dorr: Yes, uh

Pat Black-Gould: You know, it’s like, well, what happened in World War II?

Pat Black-Gould: What about this, you know, what, what happened over there? You know, um, my grandmother came over from Czechoslovakia on the Carpathia, which was the same ship that, uh, rescued the Titanic. This was before that time, you know, but you know, a 16 year old on her own, living in New York, scrubbing floors in offices, you know, and did I, oh, that’s all I know.

Pat Black-Gould: I knew that I had a family. What was

Toby Dorr: but there’s so much story around that, you know,

Pat Black-Gould: Yes, yes, yes. You know, yeah.

Toby Dorr: maybe you’ll find some kind of closure in creating a novel out of it, because you’ll write some scenes around it to give them, to fill in the blanks. So I think that’s, I love that, and I love historical fiction, especially when it’s based on something true, so.

Toby Dorr: I can’t wait for your novel to come out. Oh, that’s going to be exciting. Yeah. I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to work on next. And I’ve got so many ideas, but it’s hard to pick one.

Pat Black-Gould: Yeah, one will hit at some point and just let you know, but when I found

Toby Dorr: that’s right. It just comes to the surface and says, I’m here. It’s my time. Yeah.

Pat Black-Gould: yeah, I had no idea I was going to do the crystal beads. Um, I was on the novel and I do not know what or I mean, seriously, I was working on the novel. Um, and then the crystal beads just decided to pop in. You know, it was, it was like, uh, okay, hello. So it’s okay though, because, because they’re both, I think they’re both valuable and, um, things to be working on and lessons to learn, you know.

Toby Dorr: I love that. Now I wanted to ask you, you’re illustrator. Tell us a little bit about your illustrator for this book.

Pat Black-Gould: oh my God, Katcha Royce. Um, I wanted to have someone who, um, who had a connection to the Holocaust in some

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm.

Pat Black-Gould: know, I really wanted to find someone. Thank goodness for Instagram, where you can

Toby Dorr: Yes. Yes.

Pat Black-Gould: I found Katya, who was from Russia, and had just had moved to Israel a few years before.

Pat Black-Gould: She didn’t speak English, so we worked everything through translation

Toby Dorr: wow.

Pat Black-Gould: When I first talked to Katya and told her about this, she said, Oh my God, she says, you don’t know what this means to me. My grandfather came from Ukraine as a little boy with a large family and they left Ukraine just before the Nazis destroyed their village and they moved to Siberia.

Pat Black-Gould: So this was a labor. Of love to do this project, but I found Toby. I found his story so fascinating that I said, you know what, we’re going to put this in the afterward of the book so that kids and adults reading because the book is for kids, but it’s for kids of all ages. It’s for adults too, because there’s both, um, uh, that, that, um, I wanted people to have a connection to a survivor while we still have one.

Pat Black-Gould: So FM Roy’s tells a story

Toby Dorr: Oh, wow. That’s beautiful. I love

Pat Black-Gould: Yeah. Um, and her illustrations are just dynamic and you can feel they’re from the heart and the soul. Um, you can feel her personal connection.

Toby Dorr: hmm. And I love how the illustrations, they fill the whole book. You know, the, the text is, a lot of times it’s over the illustrations and It. I like that. It’s not just a small little picture,

Pat Black-Gould: Yeah. We really wanted to design it to give a full feel that you can, you can take that environment, that room, that scene, that outdoor scene or whatever. And, and she was able to open that up and create that whole world.

Toby Dorr: I love that. So who has been your most important mentor?

Pat Black-Gould: I’ll go back there that you can pick so many people, but I’ll just go back to the fact of the book I’m writing right now. The words of wisdom imparted from my grandmother

Toby Dorr: Mm-Hmm.

Pat Black-Gould: a kid. You know, um, the things that their ability to survive during really, really rough times. You know, I think about that every time I say, Oh, things are rough right now.

Pat Black-Gould: You know, single mom of seven, eight kids, uh, husband died. She had to go to work in scrub offices in New York. You know, um, she, she lived in Jersey and went back and forth. And you think about that, you know, you can have famous people as mentors. A lot of people think of there’s

Toby Dorr: Yeah. Uh huh. Mm hmm.

Pat Black-Gould: What about these people who are right there that we live with that have raised us? You know, um, they serve a mentorship,

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm. Yeah. When I was thinking about this question, my grandmother is one of my strongest mentors and she she raised my dad by herself. She was a single mom and my dad had an older brother who died. As a baby, never came home from the hospital, and I never knew why, I never knew what was wrong with him, except I do know that they were both born during the depression, and I remember my grandma telling me she used to go out in the backyard and eat grass, because she was so hungry, so I wish I knew the story, but I was the oldest of seven kids, and so I never felt in my life and my family that I Was an individual person.

Toby Dorr: I was always this group of the Phelan kids, you know, and, but my grandma made each one of us feel special. And so during the summer, she would take each of us for two or three weeks and we would stay with her, just us. And we got to pick out at the grocery store, what we wanted to eat. We got to pick what we wanted to watch on TV.

Toby Dorr: And we got to pick what games we played with her in the evenings. And, and she just made me feel like. I was important and I was significant in her life and she made me want to be an awesome grandma. And so, you know, I wanted to be my grandma. And so, you know, she’s one of my strongest mentors and I don’t know, maybe her story’s one that I should write.

Toby Dorr: I liked what you’re doing. So I’m going to add that to my list. So yeah, pretty interesting. I think grandparents are really important. So tell us about how a turning point in your life propelled you in a new direction.

Pat Black-Gould: um, I think that when I chose to, um, retire, well, semi retire, because I still do a private practice, um, right now, I work, my, my other specialization, I specializations, but my other specialization is Vietnam, working with Vietnam vets, um, so I still do some private work with them, and I do, do other work, I also work with the LGBTQ community, um, but when I went to from full time psychologists when I left the prison.

Pat Black-Gould: I was also at the Veterans Administration before that, so

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm.

Pat Black-Gould: split between the two. Um, the artistic side that in some ways I kept, but in many ways I buried, because you just don’t have time when you’re doing everything else under the sun. Immediately, immediately, the writing came back to me.

Pat Black-Gould: Immediately, I started writing again. And so The turntables went from, you know, theater initially, psychology, okay, even though I, I wrote during psychology and you had to read psychological stuff and dissertations and all that stuff.

Toby Dorr: It wasn’t creative. It was, it

Pat Black-Gould: Yeah, but it wasn’t the creative stuff. So as soon as I was, I mean, and I mean like the day after I found myself and I was in a writing group.

Toby Dorr: Oh,

Pat Black-Gould: that turning point propelled me to work on Lalka and work on the current. Uh, on the current novel, you know, and that, that whole, whole world, the artistic world, I mean, and I, I didn’t even realize I was going to be doing that. And I mean, wrapped into it completely with, with numbers of writing groups, you

Toby Dorr: Yeah. I love that.

Pat Black-Gould: with a coauthor and, you know, it, it was just, and it’s like, Oh, I’m me again.

Pat Black-Gould: You know,

Toby Dorr: Here I am.

Pat Black-Gould: here I am. Nice to know me after all these.

Toby Dorr: Yeah. It’s nice to find yourself. I love that.

Pat Black-Gould: Yeah. Yeah.

Toby Dorr: So what’s one word that inspires you?

Pat Black-Gould: The word that came, it comes to mind. It’s like, I want to just sort of say endurance,

Toby Dorr: Yes. That’s a powerful one. Mm-Hmm.

Pat Black-Gould: and when I think of that, it’s like, um, it’s plowing through no matter what you’re dealing with, you know, what you’re going through. So I think some people, and I’ll counsel people often that, you know, things happen in life and they do, and they get us stuck and we don’t move. And we can stay stuck. And the point is, you know, you can do it. You have more strength than you think you do. You can go through these tough situations as hard as I mean, look at you. You know, talk about that. You know, I mean, come on. You know, endurance, right? And you move through that adversity. You move through those struggles.

Pat Black-Gould: And you can keep going. You know, don’t, don’t give up. You can keep going. It’s, it’s, and it’s going to take, it could take time. But, but that’s what propels me forward.

Toby Dorr: I love that. That’s a really powerful word. I think that’s excellent. So what was one time you really felt imprisoned and what did you do to liberate yourself?

Pat Black-Gould: Um, boy, probably going through a very difficult marriage, um, years ago. Um, and, and

Toby Dorr: I can relate to that.

Pat Black-Gould: you know. You know, and, and, uh, a, a, uh, sadly a husband who put the child as a pawn in between that I was going, I was, I was doing my doctorate while also raising my son and going through a divorce, thank goodness.

Pat Black-Gould: My parents were there for me. And, um, there were times when my, my parents just said to me, you know, just quit school. quit

Toby Dorr: Oh yeah.

Pat Black-Gould: um, because you really need to, you know, focus on your son. Focus on what you have to do right now. Um, they, they never believed in women in education. And anyway, it was, it was just blue collar family.

Pat Black-Gould: I mean, I never went to college for years. I was told you’d be a secretary. That’s what you do.

Toby Dorr: Yeah.

Pat Black-Gould: you work in an office. They were blue collar. They were factory workers. So the secretary was the step up. So I started college late. But during that time, they were like, you know, we’re worried, you know, it’s a tough time.

Pat Black-Gould: You’re dealing with a son, not a husband who’s exactly helpful and really tough on my little guy. Um, and, and, um, I just said, I think I’m going to do better all around. I had a master’s by that point. I

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm.

Pat Black-Gould: in counseling. I didn’t have the doctorate, um, and, and, but I, I chose to, as hard as it was during that time, um, I chose to, um, stick with it,

Toby Dorr: Mm hmm. Yes.

Pat Black-Gould: through the hard times with the support of my parents, you know, and a young son, you know, um, and moved through it. Enough so that we could have a good life and got the divorce.

Toby Dorr: Yes. Yes. I love endurance. That’s a great word. And I do think that, you know, we look at the difficult things in our lives and we kind of make question why, why do I have to go through this? But I think it’s more important to think, thank you for this opportunity to grow because you really do grow and become stronger in going through those difficult times.

Toby Dorr: So, I, I look at them as blessings, actually. So, although they’re difficult, that’s for sure.

Pat Black-Gould: Oh, yeah,

Toby Dorr: So, what’s one question you wish I’d ask? Is there something else you’d like to share with us?

Pat Black-Gould: there’s, I can’t think of anything that comes to mind. Um,

Pat Black-Gould: nothing really comes to mind. Nothing really comes to mind. I have to just say, yeah, nothing really hits there.

Toby Dorr: and we will put links, uh, to, to reach you and to purchase copies of your book in the show notes, so people will be able to find you. Um, is there a question you’d like to ask me before we

Pat Black-Gould: There is one question that I would like to say, have you asked? I just realized that the novel we’re hoping to publish, Steve Hardeman, I’m planning to publish next, uh, the 24, um, the title is All the Broken Angels.

Toby Dorr: All the broken angels.

Pat Black-Gould: the broken angels. And it’s about people were all a little bit broken.

Pat Black-Gould: You know, and those wings sometimes can kind of, kind of fall off, but it doesn’t mean we can still work and, and, um, work and fly, you know, and, and keep going, you

Toby Dorr: Yeah, I love that.

Pat Black-Gould: have that endurance.

Toby Dorr: I love that title. Do you have a website pad?

Pat Black-Gould: Yes, yes. Um, it’s, it’s papblackghoul. com.

Toby Dorr: Okay, and we’ll include that in the show notes as well, but I’m sure we’ll be able to see updates about your book and, and if people want to follow you on social media, they’ll be able to keep track of when the book’s going to be out. But I think that’s awesome. I’m looking forward to it. So is there a question you’d like to ask me?

Pat Black-Gould: Well my question for you I guess was I was so impressed with your book and in your background because we had met at women in Publishing right and I immediately connected and I thought my gosh, you know, I didn’t know women in prison All I traded was it

Toby Dorr: Yes. Uh huh. You

Pat Black-Gould: and that you know what it’s like to survive tough times.

Pat Black-Gould: What is something that That you think about for you during those difficult times that led you move through that time in prison and survive that and do what you’re doing now.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, there were really two things that were my superpowers in moving through that. The first one was my mom. My mom was so steadfast and unconditional in her love. She was there for me every week and I could lean on her and that is important. A lot of people in prison don’t have a person like that supporting them on the outside.

Toby Dorr: And so, you know, first I have to say my mom and second I have to say God helped me through it because I really did feel like in, you know, I had been had a belief in God my whole life, but I never had a connection to God. And in prison, I found that connection and I found strength from that. And I actually. Felt a connection where I could tell I could hear him telling me that my story was going to change women’s lives. And when I got out of prison, I needed to tell it. And so that gave me a purpose. And I thought, okay, there’s a reason for this, you know, and I’m going to, I’m going to use it to do something good.

Toby Dorr: So really, those two things are what got me through. So, yeah,

Pat Black-Gould: and, and need it and it helps so much because you’re right. So many people don’t have someone there.

Toby Dorr: yes, it’s so important, you know, and I tell people, if you have a family member who’s in prison, You know, send them a card. You do not know what a piece of mail means to someone in prison. And that, it costs you one stamp. You know, it’s not expensive. You know, accepting phone calls from prison, that is expensive.

Toby Dorr: So, you know, if you can’t do that, just send a card. Um, because it means a difference to someone. It’s so

Pat Black-Gould: I agree.

Toby Dorr: Well, Pat, thank you so much. I’ve loved this interview and, uh, I will, I can’t wait to read your novel. So you can put me down as a beta reader if you’d like, because I would

Pat Black-Gould: You’ve got it.

Toby Dorr: it and give

Pat Black-Gould: And mine for your next

Toby Dorr: Okay. I’ll definitely do that. I’ll definitely do that. All right. Thanks so much, Pat.

Pat Black-Gould: Thank you, Toby.

Toby Dorr: Thank you for joining me on Fierce Conversations with Toby. Your support and listening means so much to me, and I hope today’s conversation makes a difference in your world. If you would like to support this podcast, there are many ways to do so. I found these ways tend to help the most in getting our message out into the world.

Toby Dorr: Number one, subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts, Spotify podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you listen to, or watch this podcast. If you can leave a five star rating or a like on this episode on YouTube, that helps even more. And if you leave a comment or a review, that helps the most. The next way you can support Fierce Conversations with Toby is to join our Patreon at patreon.

Toby Dorr: com slash fierce conversations. All tiers come with a downloadable digital gratitude journal created by me and membership in a private Facebook group that I also lead. Most importantly, 10 percent of all proceeds from your subscription will go directly to donating my workbooks to women in prison.

Toby Dorr: Finally, sharing the link to this show with your friends, family, and anyone who wants to listen is appreciated more than I can say. Thank you again for joining me today and supporting this show by listening to it and sharing it with friends. Fierce Conversations is created and hosted by me, Toby Dorr, produced by Number 3 Productions.

Toby Dorr: The theme song that you’re hearing now, Groovin was composed and arranged by Lisa Plass. Lisa also plays the flute for the theme with Carolyn Parody on piano and Tony Ventura on bass. Find out more at tobydore. com. This is Fierce Conversations with Toby. Escape your prison.


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