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I am very grateful for the outpouring of praise for my latest book my memoir about my life with Pat Conroy TELL ME A STORY. I’d like you all to know that I read everyone of them and the private messages. Until recently (about beginning of March 2020) I was on an extensive book tour where I tried to meet as many of you, my wonderful readers, as I could… Sadly, the world has taken a scary turn; my prayers are with all of you…
P.S. I also enjoyed your article about Fripp Island in the current issue of SOUTHERN LIVING. Figure I should go there on my next trip down Beaufort way.
I met him at a book signing in Atlanta for Beach Music, and he was so gracious. He had been signing books for 2+ hours when I got to him, but he still had time and energy to ask me what I did for a living (high school English teacher just a few years into my career) and chat so kindly about it.
I wrote an essay about teaching that was published at the end of the anniversary edition trade paperback of The Water Is Wide that was released around 2008 or 2009, resulting from a serendipitous chain of events when one of my students wrote to Pat and received a response from Marly Rusoff.
Your beautiful but realistic descriptions of Pat’s final days reminded me of my father’s passing last March (lots of ugly crying there). I’m so glad that you found happiness with each other. Thank you for telling us this story.
As I have told you, I find your writing to be so relatable. For example, your comments about Doug Marlette caused me to recall having heard him speak during the days of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and PTL, Senators Jesse Helms and John East. Furthermore, having read some of Rick Bragg's books and his Southern Living Magazine articles, seemed I could see him barreling onto his mother's driveway. Then, I thought I heard him speak with his words all wrapped up in that Alabama drawl of his. Thank you.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season.
Just thought you'd like to know my widow friend's comments. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you.
Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving.
Westerners, we discovered Hunting Island when my husband was at school at Clemson in the 80’s. After that happy accident our small family spent Christmas every other year on the island. It was a magical place for us, and as did you we decorated with palmetto and ate low country boil. The inevitable finally happened, our rental home washed away leaving only scatterings of foundation at the end of a now dead end road and a rusty, sand blasted coat hook we found while walking the beach the year after the sea took “Driftwood”.
That darn coat hook is one of our most precious possessions. Your walk along the shore finding “sand dollar spit”so resonated with me, those feelings of wonder tinged with a little loneliness. Of course a visit to the island included a stack of Conroy novels. During those visits we were aware that the Conroys were one island away, but alas although I heard Pat stories all over Beaufort no sightings.
Your memoir was a beautiful story of how two strong personalities can live a loving, respectful, creative, and joyful life together. Thank you for sharing stories of your life, and for filling in the gaps as we looked over at Fripp and thought “I wonder what the Conroys are doing”.
The library tells me I now have a stack of Cassandra King novels on hold. I cannot wait to dive into your stories.
That you EVER questioned your talent is mind boggling. You belong in the company of Anne Rivers Siddons, Dorothea Benton Frank and the greatest of all Pat Conroy. I'm always sad when I finish one of your books.
To discover such a great writer at this time of my life is such a joy. I thank you and so do my friends because they'll be getting your books for Christmas and birthdays.
I finished “Tell me a Story”last night, it was my book club’s January selection! What a good read it was, our whole club enjoyed it. I was a bit late finishing it due to some outpatient surgery. Having lived in Beaufort with my parents in the early 60’s I really enjoyed hearing about you & Pat living on Fripp (which was uninhabited when I was there).
My mother and I read most of Pat’s early books as they came out, The Water is Wide & Prince of Tides being favorites. My dad was a CPA and my parents rented a ranch house near Spanish Pointe if I remember correctly? I attended Beaufort Academy in its early days and Beaufort elementary. Our favorite crabbing spot was on Hunting Is and you could see Fripp Is in the distance, no bridge at that time.
Thank you for the memories and for your memoir of your life with Pat. One last note, I visited the Penn Center in 2008 and walked the grounds, such a peaceful beautiful spot 💕
Good luck with your author weekend in March.
All the best to you,
Although I have been visiting the Beaufort area for 20+ years on Harbor Island, this is my first trip to Fripp Island. I visited the Pat Conroy Literacy Museum last week with the Fripp Island Ladies Group. Purchasing your book seemed only fitting.
I don't know if it was love of the area or being on Fripp for the first time, but your book and the way you put your story into words has made my stay even more magical. As I'm reading your book, between the laughter and the tears, I could picture the two of you here walking the beach or watching the same sunrise/sunset as myself. I saw two very public people as "ordinary" very much in love every day people.
I felt every triumph and every pain in each word you wrote. You were so very fortunate to find the love of your life and to share such an extraordinary time together. There is a paragraph in which you describe Fripp...I have marked that page because I could not describe it nearly as beautiful as you when trying to tell my family back home this beautiful little island I am lucky enough to be spending the winter on. While reading your book I went online to further research and acquaint myself with the incredible life of your husband and yourself. Two years ago I had the opportunity to visit the grave site and was so taken with all the wonderful tributes people left at the site in remembrance of your husband. It was extremely moving and very touching. Thank you for sharing your life story. I look forward to reading more of your stories. Moonrise is my next book. May you find comfort in knowing your readers truly wish you peace and comfort and continue to find stories worth telling.
Thank you for saying so many things at the end were hazy or unremembered and that most times fear was the most dominant emotion. I lost my beautiful husband two years ago to leukemia. Diagnosed just after retirement. It was to be our time but was not to be. I remember crawling beside him into his hospital bed one night too when he couldn’t be calmed.
After crawling in to hold him we both slept for a time. Such precious memories we widows have. Thank you for reminding me to go there on sleepless nights. I’ve loved all your books but I know I love this one best. Again, thank you.
In 1995, I taught at a girls prison for SC DJJ. One of my students was from Fripp Island. I told her that Pat was my favorite author and she replied, I love Pat. He's the best!; A few weeks later after a parent weekend visitation, my student presented me with a postcard with a short note. Thanks for taking care of my friend, (name redacted). Great love, Pat Conroy.
It made me want to learn more about Southern writers. Our daughter reconnected with college friend, Wiley Cash, at the festival. I saw high school friend, Jim Dodson, at a book signing a number of years ago. Our older daughter loves writing and has written a couple of books to reinvigorate teachers, and our younger daughter loves John Grisham and gave us Pat's South of Broad a few beach-reading summers ago. I plant to read many more now, and hopefully we'll re-watch Conrack.
I am a big fan of Wendell Berry.
We all read the love/controversial story of nearby Hillsborough written by my distant cousin and Pat's good friend, Doug Marlette. We met him at a book signing in Hillsborough when he signed his book to my aging mother with a sweet inscription.
My wife, like you, has a passion for learning about and teaching healthy eating, and like you has helped friends and family navigate cancer's torments.
Having played freshman football at Davidson, I was especially observant of the visiting Citadel basketball team in the Davidson dining room. What one would normally perceive as a disciplined and even grueling pace being on a basketball team at a well-regarded academic school and one with hard-nosed discipline, I sensed a liberated spirit among the jovial cadets in their grey uniforms. I'm looking forward to reading Pat's remembrance of those times.
Your paperback will be well worn by the time my wife and younger daughter read it and we send it back to our older daughter. At this time of giving thanks and gifts, your remembrance of your amazing love affair and the gift of Pat Conroy is deeply appreciated.
My daughter in law was visiting over the summer and mentioned that Prince of Tides was her favorite book of all time. I totally agreed with her. I felt that there were a few books of his that I hadn't read and set out to do so. I also felt that I would like to read one of your books as well, figuring if Pat Conroy liked your books, I would too! So I got two of his and two of yours. Once I saw you had written Tell Me A Story; I knew I would have to get that. I, of course, loved the Pat Conroy books that I had gotten. Then I read Tell Me A Story. It is just perfect. I read it and could see and hear everything as though I were there.
I wept at the end, just as I wept when I had heard that Pat died (the only time I've wept for an author passing.)
I related to your story about his voicemail on your phone and it's subsequent loss. I wish I had saved my grandmother's last voice message to me. All she would ever say was "Tina, call Gram", kind of sternly! If only I had known.... And as for losing a message; I had a sweet message from one of my granddaughters when she was three. I would listen to it over and over; it was that sweet. And the same as you; when my phone updated, it was lost. That granddaughter is now 11, still sweet but not that adorable, innocent sweetness that she had.
I also read The Queen of Broken Hearts - loved it and I WILL read more of your books! Thank you so much for writing Tell Me A Story. It brings tears to my eyes just think about it and the loss of a great writer. If I ever get back to Beaufort, I will definitely visit the Pat Conroy Literary Center.