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Showing posts with label Pat Conroy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pat Conroy. Show all posts

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pat Conroy, southern author has died.

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/05/469337158/remembering-pat-conroy-a-master-who-searched-out-the-world-in-stories




I  never  met Pat Conroy except through his books. I read about him in articles and interviews, but I feel I really came to know  him when I read his memoir, The Death  of Santini. I know others like Dana Wildsmith who knew him personally and  they tell about a generous man, a kind man, a person they liked. 


I have always found it interesting that Pat Conroy is known as a southern author but he was raised on military bases and never felt he had a real home, not until his family settled in Beaufort, SC when he was twelve. He made that area his home and you will visit there in his novels. I have enjoyed his books, Beach Music, South of Broad, The Water is Wide, The Death of Santini and My Reading Life. I haven't read The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini which were made into movies.  

I hear that The Pat Conroy Cookbook is excellent. In the description of the cookbook, it says: A master storyteller and passionate cook, Conroy believes that "A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal."
That statement makes me think of my own family of storytellers and the good meals we enjoyed together.

I loved his books because he wrote with such an appreciation of language. He admitted he was a wordy writer. He told his editor Nan Talese, of Doubleday, when he first met her, "I will tell you, if there are ten words for something, I will use all ten. Your job is to take them out."

I relate to that trait. One of Conroy's books that I enjoyed and recommend to my students, is My Reading Life.
 ..."He has for years kept notebooks in which he records words and expressions, over time creating a vast reservoir of playful turns of phrase, dazzling flashes of description, and snippets of delightful sound, all just for his love of language. But reading for Conroy is not simply a pleasure to be enjoyed in off-hours or a source of inspiration for his own writing. It would hardly be an exaggeration to claim that reading has saved his life, and if not his life then surely his sanity."

He grew up in a terribly dysfunctional family with a father that beat him and abused his mother.

"Writing has been not therapeutic for me, but it has been essential," he said in an interview for Morning Edition. "I have written about my mother, my father, my family ... and if I get it on paper, I have named the demon."

I understand that sentiment as I have been writing all of my life trying to understand why I was different from my siblings, and trying to understand  my large family. Those of us who write autobiographical stories and books learn more than we ever expect to learn when we set to the task of explaining on paper how and why things happened as they did.

Many of us think we have dysfunctional families, but the Conroy family is one that makes me feel my family was perfect. Although I had a distant and cold relationship with my father, he was never abusive or mean to me. Like Conroy, however, I learned to understand and forgive my father for those things he did that seemed cruel to me or unreasonable. I learned by writing about him and researching the man, not the troubled father I knew.

Before The Great Santini’s death, Pat and his father had come to terms with Pat's writing openly about the family and his father's cruelty of his family. They could be found signing Pat's books together. 

One reason I so admire Pat Conroy is because he was extremely honest, not holding back on the painful and embarrassing or humiliating events although he knew he would suffer consequences from siblings and relatives. That is why his memoir, The Death of Santini, got to me. He told the truth without intentionally hurting those he loved. Although a sister, whom he said he adored, became so angry with him that their relationship was irreparably strained, he hoped to repair that damage.

A woman commented online that as a fifteen-year-old, she met the author  at one of his book signings, and he took time to meet with her and encourage her with her writing. They continued to correspond, and he became a part of her life. She said she would be forever grateful to him for his kindness and his generosity. She was not  the only one. Others commented on his giving his time, going the extra mile, to help a wanna be writer.

"Pat Conroy's writing contains a virtue now rare in most contemporary fiction: passion."
The Denver Post

I also like that Pat Conroy was very successful without studying writing in college or earning an MFA. He said there were no classes on writing fiction at the Citadel, a military school, his father insisted he attend. But he began writing fiction while there.

Some people believe that you cannot be a successful writer unless you take writing at the university and go on to get your Masters in Fine Arts. Pat said he was a storyteller and came from a southern family of storytellers. He told his stories in poetic language and captured his readers with his ability to clamp our minds and our eyes on his words.

I think Pat Conroy proves you have to love writing, be a reader and study writing by others, practice every day and have a passion for the craft. I believe that taking writing classes goes a long way toward building your writing career, but some people have a gift that they recognize, a desire to share their stories whether in fiction or nonfiction, and when they are ready and are good enough, they find the kind of success Conroy found.


"'Pat has been my beloved friend and author for 35 years, spanning his career from The Prince Of Tides to today,' said his longtime editor and publisher, Nan A. Talese of Doubleday. 'He will be cherished as one of America's favorite and bestselling writers, and I will miss him terribly,' Talese said."



Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring Literary Festival at Western Carolina University - Free events

From City Lights Book Store in Sylva, the following announcements:

(April 7-10): WCU Spring Literary Festival
Western Carolina University's sixth annual Spring Literary Festival will be held on campus in Cullowhee April 7-10 and includes a wonderful line-up of authors. Books will be available for sale at each reading, and all events are free and open to the public. As an encouragement to attendance, campus parking regulations will not be enforced for attendees from the community (as any tickets will be forgiven). For more information, please call the WCU English Department at 227-3265.

Monday, April 7, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723 Novelist Lee Smith reads from On Agate Hill. Performance of On Agate Hill by Barbara Bates Smith and Jeff Sebens immediately follows.Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains of southwestern Virginia, nine-year-old Lee Smith was already writing-and selling, for a nickel apiece- stories about her neighbors in the coal boomtown of Grundy and the nearby isolated "hollers." In 1968, she published her first novel, The Last Day the Dog Bushes Bloomed.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008 4:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, University Center Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723 Poet Thomas Lux will read from his work.Thomas Lux's many books of poetry include The Cradle Place; The Street of Clocks; New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995, which was a finalist for the 1998 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, University Center Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Author and commentator Dagoberto Gilb reads from his work. Dagoberto Gilb's first story collection, The Magic of Blood, won the PEN/Hemingway Award. He is also author of The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His newest novel is The Flowers, published this year. His essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and as commentaries on NPR's "Fresh Air."


Wednesday, April 9, 2008 4:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Poet's Panel: Joseph Bathanti, Sarah Lindsay, Carolyn Beard Whitlow. Poet and novelist Joseph Bathanti is the author of four books of poetry: Communion Partners; Anson County; The Feast of All Saints; and This Metal, which was nominated for The National Book Award, and won the 1997 Oscar Arnold Young Award from The North Carolina Poetry Council for best book of poems by a North Carolina writer. His novels are East Liberty and Coventry, was a winner of the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His collection of short stories, The High Heart, was winner of the 2007 Spokane Prize. Sarah Lindsay is the author of Primate Behavior, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Mount Clutter, as well as two chapbooks, Bodies of Water and Insomniac's Lullaby.Poet Carolyn Beard Whitlow is Charles A. Dana Professor of English at Guilford College in Greensboro, where she teaches Creative Writing and African-American Literature. Her most recent collection of poems, Vanished, won the 2006 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Novelist Pat Conroy reads from his work.Pat Conroy is the bestselling and award-winning author of The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music and My Losing Season. His novels are populated with domineering fathers, southern belles of steel, and inexorable tragedy; all are elements the author is familiar with from his own life.


Thursday, April 10, 2008 12:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, University Center Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Cathy Smith Bowers presents Caleb Beissert, Haley Jones, and Tom Lambert. Cathy Smith Bowers, Distinguished Poet for the western region, presents emerging poets Caleb Beissert, Haley Jones, and Tom Lambert. The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series supports the mission of the North Carolina Poetry Society to foster the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry across the state. Three Distinguished Poets, one from each region, mentor a middle-school, a high-school, and a college or university student.


Thursday, April 10, 2008 4:00 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Poet Gloria Vando reads from her work.Poet Gloria Vando is publisher /editor of Helicon Nine Editions, a nonprofit literary press she founded in 1977. Her book of poems, Shadows and Supposes, was named the Best Poetry Book of 2003 by the Latino Hall of Fame.

Thursday, April 10, 2008 7:30 p.m.Location: Western Carolina University, Coulter Auditorium, Memorial Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Novelist Russell Banks reads from his work (an LCE event). Russell Banks grew up in a working- class world that has played a major role in shaping his writing. His titles include The Darling, Cloudsplitter, Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter, Searching for Survivors, Hamilton Stark, The New World, The Book of Jamaica, Trailerpark, Continental Drift, Success Stories, and Rule of the Bone. The Angel on the Roof is a collection of thirty years of Banks' short fiction.