Books have always been an integral part of my life. I love their smell and the weight in my hands. Some are precious and others are trash, but all continue to form my being, my soul, my heart.
For those of us who truly love reading, we are members of a special club. Not all comprehend the magic of the written word. I attempted to share this with my students, but some never quite grasped the joy I found in books. Maybe it was because we attached grades to everything they read or analyzed the shit out of classics they couldn’t relate to, but there were some who stubbornly said, “I hate reading.” “What?” I gasped. That was like saying, “I hate breathing.”
As I have gotten older, though, I’ve acknowledged you can’t force literature on others and make them love it. Some may grow to grudgingly respect writers and their craft, but it is impossible to coerce passion. The love of reading is either part of your soul or not. There is no middle ground.
I am so blessed to be in this exclusive circle. Books have given me hope, driven me to depths of despair, lifted me in bliss, and exposed the truth. They are my church and my salvation.
So, therefore, I bow my head today in sorrow and respect for Pat Conroy, an author of hauntingly gorgeous prose. His stories of searing pain and reluctant redemption have provided me insight into love and forgiveness, the tenuous ties of family, and the potency of a flawed and broken narrator.
A writer and a teacher and a cook, Pat Conroy was all I have feebly attempted in my fifty-something life. Thank you for your beautiful words. Your legacy is in the pages I turn and the stories you shared.
The Prince of Tides
The Great Santini
The Water is Wide
South of Broad
My Losing Season
The Lords of Discipline
“You get a little moody sometimes but I think that’s because you like to read. People that like to read are always a little fucked up.” – The Prince of Tides