Day 89: Pat Conroy

“I prayed hard and only gradually became aware that this fierce praying was a way of finding prologue and entrance into my own writing. This came as both astonishment and relief. When I thought God had abandoned me, I discovered that He had simply given me a different voice to praise the inexhaustible beauty of the made world.” ~ Pat Conroy

(Note: Generally, these notes are reserved for people I’ve known personally and with whom I’ve shared some personal experience. Pat Conroy was within an hour’s driving distance of my home twice and I never went – one of my life’s great regrets. Though we never met, it feels I know him personally. If you ever wondered if you can love someone you’ve never met, I can tell you the answer is ‘yes.’)

Dear Pat,

Until you, I never knew words could be so beautifully assembled. I’d never known the kind of writing where one must occasionally must stop and breathe because the prose is overwhelming. You showed me take-your-breath-away good.

Gosh, Pat, the talent in your little finger would be good enough for me.

I’m so sorry for the experiences you endured as a child and young man. So thankful you shared them for a greater good giving us all permission to feel at the deepest depths. “The times weren’t all tragic,” I can just hear your response. “Just the ones involving any member of the family.”

Never has there been a writer whose fans loved him more. A man who couldn’t type, hated the word ‘blog,’ and who knew depression in ways most will never comprehend. Charming, funny, unapologetically Southern, sophisticated, cosmopolitan, and a rebel who pushed every boundary – that was our Pat.

When you passed last March I wept. If only you could write us once more about what it was like, that experience walking into the next realm. What a great next story you have to tell. I still miss you so much, but I have your words. They will have to do for now.

I hope to shake your hand firmly and give you a big hug some day. There has never been a man with bigger and more humble heart.

You are my hero.

All my love,

Steve Watkins






3 thoughts on “Day 89: Pat Conroy

  1. Oh, gosh Phil so hard to say. Everything is excellent. The Prince of Tides was his breakthrough novel and is one of the most beautiful books ever written. His first book, The Water is Wide is a great story and a hidden gem. If you like military stuff look at The Lords of Discipline. Sports? My Losing Season. Everything he writes is autobiographical, just on different subject matter. Any of the above is extraordinary writing.


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