On Pat Conroy

Short Confession: I am an on/off reader. I mean,  I have read books steadily throughout my life, but at times I delve into one book after another, then I drop that and maybe read 3 books in a year.  No consistency.  But I always read Pat Conroy.  We have lost one of the great writers of our time with his passing yesterday at age 70.

Back in high school, I saw a movie called “Conrack,” about a young man who takes a job teaching poverty-stricken kids living on an island off the South Carolina coast.  The film was beautifully shot and the story both captivated and infuriated me (the treatment of the kids by the school authorities had me writing letters.) Anyway, I saw that the film was based on a book, so I was compelled to read it.

The book was “The Water Is Wide,” by Pat Conroy, based on his experiences. I was in love with his words right away, and I blame this book for sending me into an obsession with writers of the American south.

I learned that politicians are not supposed to help people. They simply listen to people, nod their heads painfully, commiserate at proper intervals, promise to do all they can, and then do nothing. It was very instructive. I could probably have enlisted more action from a bleached jellyfish washed ashore in a seasonal storm.

He wrote that in the late 60’s.  Looks like nothing has changed.

Rest in peace, oh Prince of Tides.

Love and kisses.

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