I was so saddened to hear of the passing of one of my favorite authors, Pat Conroy. I have been a fan of Pat Conroy since living in Charleston in the late 80s and early 90s.
I remember watching the movie, Conrack, with my family even before I knew who Pat Conroy was. The movie Conrack was based on Pat’s book, The Water is Wide. The movie was released in 1974. Little did I know in 1974 that I would end up with some things in common with the author, Pat Conroy.
After college, my life led me to Charleston, SC, where I accepted my first teaching position on Edisto Island. I will forever be thankful for the two years I taught on Edisto Island. Those two years taught me so much about teaching and about life.
While attending graduate school at The Citadel, book stores and the city of Charleston were preparing for the upcoming release of Pat Conroy’s newest book at the time, Beach Music. The excitement was infectious.
When the book came out, I remember standing in a long line waiting for an opportunity to speak to Pat Conroy and have him autograph my newly purchased copy of Beach Music. I remember him from that day being kind to each of us who awaited our time with him. That autographed copy of the book is among my favorite books on my bookshelf.
Recently, I started reading many of Pat Conroy’s books. I read many of them back to back and enjoyed them immensely. When I saw that Pat Conroy was going to be speaking in Charleston in January of 2015, I asked my husband for tickets to the event for Christmas. I was thrilled to receive tickets to the 9th Annual Wild Dunes Club Author’s Event on Christmas Day.
My family and I enjoyed hearing Pat Conroy speak that January evening. He was so engaging and entertaining. It exceeded my every expectation. I was thrilled.
After listening to Pat Conroy, we were able to get a chance to speak to him. I asked him to sign my copy of South of Broad, which is my favorite of his books. He was also so very kind when I asked if I could have my picture taken with him.
Recently, I heard one of my artist friends, Andy Wheeler, interviewed. When asked who inspires him, Andy answered that the work of every artist, photographer, and creative person he has experienced have inspired him. I could not have agreed more.
I am so thankful for all of the joy, entertainment, and inspiration Pat Conroy has shared with me and more people than we will ever realize.