Pat Conroy

At the risk of looking like an obituary page, I am going to comment once again on the passing of a great artist.  Pat Conroy’s death on Friday reminds me once again of the inexorable march of time, which becomes more personal as my generation enters the era of aches and pains. Conroy’s death is especially personal, since I found many parallels in our histories (though, unfortunately, not in our writing success). I learned a great deal about myself from reading his fiction and nonfiction, and he helped me better understand parental and familial relationships through his honest depictions of his own family. Prince Of Tides was his masterpiece, but I highly recommend My Losing Season as well.  I wish I had met him and had the opportunity to thank him; I stayed in his hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina a while back when I was working on my second novel, and the innkeepers where I stayed knew him.  They spoke of his kindness and generosity, which fit with my impressions, or perhaps hopes, for him. If you’ve never read his descriptions of the tidal rivers and creeks in South Carolina low country, then you’ve never really seen them.  Do yourself a favor and honor this great writer by reading one of his books.

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