Patty Chang Anker is a change agent in this world.

Jamilia Pegram, Wellness Coordinator, Amscan, Inc.

About Patty

About Patty

Author, Speaker, Blogger, Mom

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The Book

The Book

The surprise of my life was that facing fears was a path to joy. Some Nerve (“Downright inspiring,” Oprah.com; finalist, Books for a Better Life Award) is the story of ordinary people becoming braver than they ever imagined.

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The Blog

The Blog

All about trying new things and making changes in midlife.

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Facing Forty Upside Down

Patty Chang Anker, author of SOME NERVE: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave, blogs about facing fears, making changes, and creating more happiness in midlife.

What Young Artists Need

What Young Artists Need

Posted by Patty Chang Anker on Apr 13, 2016

When we adopted G and R one of the most fun things to imagine was what innate talents they might have. Unbound by expectations based on DNA, we’ve had the fun of being surprised again and again: G’s love of martial arts and science, for example, or R’s mad parkour skills and her cool fashion sensibility. Kent and I aren’t naturally good at any of that – but look at them go! For every hit, of course there are lots of misses, hobbies tried and dropped soon after. So when we signed up spur of the moment for an open studio painting session with muralist Kim Ray at Mountain Painters and Artisans Gallery in Londonderry, VT we knew it could go any which way. Fifteen year old G hasn’t painted since she was a toddler, so No pressure, honey, just give it a try. She chose to paint our dog, Mochi. Two hours later, she’d created this: WHOA! AMAZING! THAT’S MOCHI! Friends cried. “Can she paint my tortoise Minnie?” bestselling novelist Caroline Leavitt asked via Facebook. “I’ll pay her.”  G’s second pet portrait would be her first commissioned piece! G went to work. She asked Caroline all about Minnie. She researched Vietnamese Jagged Shell Tortoises. She tried to channel both the tortoise and Caroline’s love. And then, with Kim Ray (a truly gifted artist AND teacher) demonstrating technique at each step, G painted Minnie: Caroline is a renaissance woman (in addition to being an acclaimed writer, she paints and is learning the ukelele!) and she mentors and supports artists of all kinds and all ages. She met us for...

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Spring = Bike Tune Up Time!

Spring = Bike Tune Up Time!

Posted by Patty Chang Anker on Apr 6, 2016

Spring is springing (which in NY apparently means blooming flowers, freezing temps, and snow!) and that means…bike tune up time! Yesterday, I brought my purple Giant back to the mother ship, Redbeard Bikes in Brooklyn, where I was told I wore my chain out and needed a new one – not bad for a 45 year old newbie!  After 2 Five Boro Bike Tours, the Discover Hudson Valley Ride, the Tour de Bronx, 3 triathlons and countless training miles – all within 2 years of learning to ride – I am proud to have broken my bike in.  “Did you ever imagine you’d be leading rides,” Kasia Nikhamina (co-owner of Redbeard, with her husband Ilya) asked, when I told her I needed the tune up in time for a Team #SomeNerve training ride this week. We both laughed, remembering how I couldn’t ride around the block when I bought this bike 2 years ago (See How to Buy a Bike & Survive Your First Test Ride). Kasia is warm and encouraging and makes everyone, and especially women, feel welcome in the store and capable on wheels. I will always be grateful to her for getting me up to speed (ha!). Redbeard is running some great events coming up, including “How to Fix a Flat” on April 14, and “Liv Women’s Basic Bike Maintenance” class on April 21, as well as group rides – check out their Facebook page for details. Enough with being cooped up – I can’t wait to take my baby out for a spin! How are you finding your Freeeeedom this spring?        ...

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Fear of Writing: Family Memoir

Fear of Writing: Family Memoir

Posted by Patty Chang Anker on Mar 23, 2016

I recently had the honor of being a guest author at Linda Lowen‘s non-fiction class at the Downtown Writers Center of the YMCA of Greater Syracuse (via FaceTime chat) and I enjoyed their questions so much I thought I’d share some of the discussion here with all of you. The class, “Why You Need Some Nerve to Write,” looked at Some Nerve and the fear of failure. The students’ pointed questions about the fear of exposure that comes with “going public” with oneself (and especially with family stories) is at the heart of what most of us are afraid of in life – being rejected, hurting our loved ones – and that writers feel on a sometimes seemingly unbearable scale. Telling our stories is always optional, so why risk it? And what is the cost of not telling our stories at all? I’ve paraphrased (i.e., shortened, made more coherent) my answers for this blog.  For a person who started out so very fearful, how did you get the nerve to put yourself out there in the public eye, or was that never a problem? Ha! I wrote an entire book about my countless fears, of course I was afraid of putting myself out there! I still am, and I suspect part of me always will be. I think most of us, unless we’re totally narcissistic or disinhibited, worry whether what we have to say is important enough, and whether we will hurt anyone by saying it. For me, as a Chinese American girl, I was not raised to call attention to myself. I was told to be modest and quiet, to...

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