Pat Conroy’s House

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

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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.

I see him out there on the porch. He’s deep into his page, writing. I try one of the doors. I rattle it, but it’s locked. I don’t want to disturb him, but I figure he’s already aware of my intrusion, right? I try the next door. Also locked. He never looks up. I try the third…success!

So, I’m standing directly in front of him wearing a rain coat from the 60’s (cause it was raining and that’s all I had protection-wise).

And I stand there.

And I stand there.

And I stand there.

And then I realize he really doesn’t know I’m there.

His focus is extraordinary.

Ok, so now the object is to not give the best-selling author a heart attack.

Do not be the cause of death of Pat Conroy.

Righteo then. Move forward into the light? Stand in the shadows? or retreat on the sideline of light to the chair?

I chose the last option. He did not have a heart attack when he finally saw me – ten minutes later—but he did squeal. Sorry, Pat., but you did. “Oh my God!” followed the squeal., “You nearly killed me!”

What transpired was a conversation he told me I should record—cause, as he said, “Magus, otherwise, you will forget. And you don’t want to forget.”

So here goes (and no, “Magus” is not a typo):

Pat: So, Kid, you excited about the hard back of Lost Cantos coming out?

Me: Oh, man, yes. I don’t know why it matters…I mean a book is a book, but yes.

Pat: No matter how many books I write, no matter how many hard backs I get…it’s the feel of one, isn’t it? There’s that proof that you created something substantial.

Pat got wistful here. He took a pause. I could see in his Irish impish eyes that glee…that private fulfillment that the hard back symbolizes—even for him, even after so many.

I am thrilled that there are ebooks. I am thrilled that there are non-traditional publishing options. In this current publishing debate about big-box sellers, traditional publishing, micro-presses, self-publishing, kindle etc….you know, I want to go to bat for the little guy—I do (cause I am one, if I’m even that). BUT, here’s two things I want to say about the ebook versus the hardback (yes, paper back too, but more for the hardback)—first of all, commitment. On all sides. The writer, the publisher, the bookstore, the buyer, and the reader. Seriously. Think about the price difference. Mostly, that’s thought of as a detraction, and the other options help equalize the playing field.

I disagree that that’s the whole story. I think it is also a matter of commitment on the part of the reader, and therefore, responsibility on the part of the writer, publisher, book seller etc.

It’s also one the part of the writer—without whom, let’s face it, we would have nothing to read—when it’s got a glossy (or matt, as the case may be) expensive cover, you better have your freaking words in order—you better have committed to them, because anyone who buys it has committed hard earned time and money. That book will sit on the table and either be a source of something or be a drain on something; all depending on whether it’s read.

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