AUTHOR FEATURE - PAT DUTT
Pat Dutt lives in Ithaca, New York. She is a landscape estimator, volunteers for Tompkins Environmental Management and is a Family Peer Advocate for Mental Health Association. Before that, she worked in the oil industry in Houston, wrote for the US EPA, taught high school science. She has published about two dozen flash fictions and short stories in small literary magazines. In 2016 she re-published some of these stories in “14,000 Reasons to be Happy and Other Stories,” under a pseudonym. In 2021 she published “The Good Mothers, Their Children and Friendship,” a non-fiction book about an Iranian immigrant.
She is currently writing a book with her son, Ben, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia 10 years ago. The purpose of the book is to explore ways in which mentally ill people can become independent and have good lives. At its core will be interviews of people diagnosed with a mental illness and those who care and support them. Excerpts of the book will appear on Pat’s and Ben’s website, mentalchill.org, which will be launched soon.
This book of short stories takes the reader on a journey from Maine to Houston, and the
Midwest to the Finger Lakes of New York. The stories explore relationships among family members, between spouses and co-workers while encompassing that familiar territory of love and work, but with a twist of science and running.
The Good Moms, Their Children and Friendship depicts the life and death of Nasrin, an Iranian immigrant who arrived in the US shortly after the 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis. Nasrin moved to a small city in New York where she found herself alone with a 16-month-old baby and penniless. The book, which relies on interviews from family and friends, recounts her friendships and struggles as a single mother. The narrative weaves together the events of her life with the history of Iran and the cultural politics of US--Iranian relations. It is also a meditation on women's friendships, spirituality, grief and death. Nasrin was a young woman when she died, but she managed to thrive, build a career, and live to see her daughter become a mother.
Excerpt from "The Good Moms, Their Children and Friendship":
"I felt a strong need to honor Nasrin, an unassuming woman who carved out a life for herself and her daughter, Zahara, and so I decided to write about her. What she achieved seemed monumental, especially given the American hostility toward Iranians, a hostility that continues in some parts of the US to this day. She defied the odds and every last one of us who called ourselves her friend admired her tenacity and warmth."
My book is in three parts: the first is a biography of Nasrin who came US in 1980. The second part describes Iran and the 1979 Hostage Crisis. The third is a meditation on spiritualism, grief, death and friendship.