Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dallas Museum Of Art welcomes Pat Conroy

It was an awe moment when writer extraordinaire, Pat Conroy, took center stage at the Dallas Museum of Art on November 16th, 2010. To be in the presence of someone with his talent was inspirational, to say the least.  As he began his presentation, the sell-out crowd hushed as not to miss one word, and it became keenly obvious his style mirrored his written word in its ease of delivery.  He is a regular guy, but a master storyteller with a mischievous sense of humor. He invited us along for the tale of his incredible journey while he reverently spoke of those individuals who were responsible for letting the rest of the world in on his incredible talent. 

Shortly after graduating from the Citadel he wrote and self-published his first book, The Boo, which he says "is the worst piece of writing ever." He looked in the yellow pages under "publishing" and found an advertisement listing invitations,brochures, and books. $5,000.00 got him 1,000 books and the title of a published author - the trip began.  The Water is Wide was next - a memoir about his experiences teaching the "children the world had forgotten."  The Great Santini featured an abusive father, Bull Meecham; the epitome of a Marine officer demanding perfection from his oldest son while teaching him winning is everything regardless of how it is done...he wrote about what he lived.  The Lords of Discipline was set in another military institution in Charleston.  The Prince of Tides followed the story of Tom Wingo and his twin sister, Savannah set both in New York and the low-country of South Carolina. Beach Music (my all-time favorite) took us from South Carolina to Rome and reached into the "terrors of the Holocaust" with his character, Jack McCall.  It took seventeen years before South of Broad was published - again set in Charleston following  a tightly knitted group of high school friends throughout their lives. My Reading Life leads us through the maze of his life with particular emphasis on how reading literally saved him.  His mother introduced the world to Pat through reading and groomed him to be a "southern writer."  I think she must have been very proud!  Due out next fall is The Death of Santini which he says will chronicle the reincarnation of his father.

Mr. Conroy's literature and florid style of writing allows us to absorb his surroundings, make friends and enemies with the unforgettable characters, and witness first-hand the creativeness of his mind.  He said, " I have no imagination - between South Carolina and my family I will never run out of  material."  Makes you want to go out and find a loony-toon or two and move to the DEEP South.  Maybe then I could write one sentence with as much passion and descriptive prose as my idol, Pat Conroy.  Wish me luck.



  1. So glad you enjoyed it! Does he look like he does on the bookcovers?

  2. Picture postcard of an Irishman.