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The Endurance of Love

By on Jun 29, 2016 in Featured, Pat Conroy, Words | 0 comments

“For a long time, I thought I was born into a mythology instead of a family.” –Pat Conroy

For a long time, I thought I was born into a family, instead of a living mythology.

Pat Conroy was my father’s best friend. He was always a teacher at heart and an imp by nature. He was with me, influencing me, holding me up, challenging me, pissing me off, inspiring me, helping me, disappointing me, making me laugh, and quick to tell me how it’s done (at least his way), and instructing me how it’s not done “kid,” at pretty much each formative transition of my life: birth (mine), childhood, adolescence, career changes, marriage, and, of course, death (his). It is no wonder I find it challenging to answer prompts like, “How did Pat influence you most?” or “What is your strongest memory of Pat?” Pat is as natural a part of my life as my fingernails—and sometimes as ratty. He is an extension of my family fabric. That remains true after his death.

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The Symptoms of Hatred

By on Jun 20, 2015 in Featured, Temporal, Words | 1 comment

With my Ethicist hat on (because I am upset, and being analytical is a defense of mine that I choose right now):

What happened in Charleston there are no direct words for. We all agree. I’m not going to try to say anything acutely about that out of respect for the families, the survivors, and those who were killed. I am praying for them, that is all I can do. From the reports, those who the tragedy most intimately wounded, and who have spoken to the media, have done so with pure hearts. With reflections of their spirituality and the deepness of their care for their God and for peace. This is theirs to respond directly about. Would that we were all motivated by such compassion. It is the one of the most powerful antidotes for cruel hatred. They are heartening, brave, enlightened examples of that. May their love ripple cross oceans and be rushed back to them with the incoming tides.

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South Carolina Honors College Talk 3/14/2015

By on Mar 21, 2015 in Featured, Temporal, Words | 0 comments

My publisher at USC Press, Story River Books, asked me to put this up as a blog.

So, ok. But I have to couch it with this little PSA:

The following talk was presented to a gaggle of seriously diverse and delightful aspiring writers (high-school age) at the University of South Carolina’s Honor’s College Writing Competition. Holy bananas were they adorable! As a teacher, you would kind of want to eat them like bon bons. We crave desire, the difficulty of being earnest, seriousness that borders on crazy, but teeters right between crazy-awareness and crazy-as-super-fun. As both teacher and artist, this gathering of students is the secret spice in inspiration, in motivation, and hope. They are fragile enough to care, still.

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Wabi-Sabi

By on Feb 19, 2015 in Featured, Temporal, Words | 0 comments

A dear friend of mine from college days (we won’t detail how many years ago that was) emailed me nearly out of the blue. He didn’t ask “How’s life?” He asked, “What’s good with you?” And I can see his dreads bouncing in nuanced rhythm to what he’s asking. This is a deep fellow. A smart fellow. The kind of fellow you can cut to the chase with, whether or not he agrees with you; the kind of fellow who naturally speaks like his words rhyme, even if they don’t. The sway of intonation creates syllabic resonance. He’s a smooth dude. A cool, but severely deep, cat. His heart beats poetic.

So when he asks me, “What’s good?” I take that question, and its discreteness from “How is life?” seriously.

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Pat Conroy’s House

By on Dec 31, 2014 in Astral, Featured, Temporal | 0 comments

I went to Pat Conroy’s house last night (to check on him because his wife, authoress Cassandra King, was out of town. Shh. Don’t tell). I let myself into the house, as usual. Poured myself a glass of wine (cause let’s face it: their wine is better than mine), and started looking for him. He’s not in the living room. Not in the TV room. Not in the library. Not in the back room. He’s not in his study. Ok, then, I think, he’s either asleep or on the upstairs porch—the one that over looks the water and the oak tree that I am certain contains more wisdom and grace than most of us combined.

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The Literary Apothecary

By on Sep 2, 2014 in Featured, Lost Cantos, Words | 0 comments

I will write nearly anything for anyone for money or for dog food, for cat vetting, for folks who I think are fabulous in their arts and labors, but who are not writers themselves—and sometimes, just because I can. I have been trained to forge out of letters strung together the emotions, thoughts, and shapes that I see or that some people need (hence why I like the term “literary apothecary”). Sometimes, I am actually successful at it. It’s always shocking when that happens because really, and to break a totally rigid writing rule, I will now deploy a rabid cliché (and then I will mix some metaphors), it takes two to tango: I can write my heart out, but if the reader doesn’t sync with the rhythm of the dance, doesn’t like the hook, finds the orchestration either too plush or too thin, I might as well be painting by numbers or sunning myself by the pool. Without a wiling reader, it really is just a foolish and indulgent past time.

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