If I had some of Harry Potter’s flue powder, I would transport myself to Beaufort, SC where they are hosting a literary festival to celebrate the birthday of Pat Conroy. The social media attention on Facebook has been tantalizing, touting all the ticketed events and free lectures. It is a perfect day here in North Carolina; I hope the same for all who have gathered. Knowing they are showing the film, Prince of Tides, with panel to follow, I am rereading the novel as my tribute to Conroy who has a generosity of language. Some ordinary detail is graced with a poetic, lyrical magic that another writer, less capable, would describe in passing terms. Short of quoting the whole book, I will pick a few examples to share with you. I click my heels and salute this great talent thanking him for enriching my life with the stories only he can tell.
We’ll get to the subject of Savannah in a moment, ” the doctor said in a patronizing voice shaped by far too many advanced degrees.
Teach them this, Tom, and teach them very well: Teach them the quiet verbs of kindness, to live beyond themselves. Urge them toward excellence, drive them toward gentleness, pull them deep into yourself, pull them upward toward manhood, but softly like an angel arranging clouds. Let your spirit move through them softly, as your spirit moves through me.
Speaking of New York….The city marks my soul with a most profane, indelible graffiti. There is too much of too much there.
It was early March and the dogwoods were just beginning to bloom. The whole earth shivered with the green tumult of ripening, sun-soft days, and we were walking through the woods looking for box turtles.
The boy in me still carries the memories of those days when I lifted crab pots out of the Colleton River before dawn, when I was shaped by life on the river, part child, part sacristan of tides. Happy 70th birthday to a writer’s writer – Pat Conroy