Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Watching Pat Conroy

Ducks don't need to watch TV. 
Most of the time, I don't either.
This is from a recent winter near the Little Union Canal.

     We had our roof re-shingled a couple of weeks ago. When they took off the Direct TV antenna, we decided to cancel the service, which is expensive and unthrilling. While we are exploring our options I bought an antenna from Amazon for $28. We plugged it in to the TV and can now get a lot of stations. We haven't found Jeopardy yet. but we can watch sort of randomly odd things and some PBS stations. My husband fell asleep in his chair to the soothing voice of Bob Ross yesterday on a channel called CREATE, which has some nice things from the past on it, including old Sara Moulton cooking shows that we used to enjoy. Once we have learned how to use this, we might not get another paid $ervice.

     Noodling around yesterday we found something fantastic to watch. About the time Pat Conroy's book The Death of Santini., was published, he was being interviewed (in front of an appreciative audience) by another Irish-American, Maureen Corrigan of the New York Times.This was aired as part of the PBS series Great Conversations. I am writing this post to insist that you watch it if you have any interest in writing, Irish and Southern characteristics or any of the the books by Pat Conroy or the movies that have been made from them. Or even just if none of these apply to you...

Here's the link:  http://www.pbs.org/video/great-conversations-pat-conroy-and-maureen-corrigan/

Pat Conroy has been very special to me ever since I read his early book The Water is Wide about his year teaching children on an island off the coast of South Carolina. Descended from slaves, these children were part of a society that had virtually no contact with the mainland or educated society. Because of his efforts to help them, he was fired after the first year and the school board participated in a conspiracy to get him drafted for service in Vietnam. I bought a copy for the Gilroy Library that I supervised in 1972, and devoured it as soon as it came in.

I had worked during Library School at the Arlington Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, I was an assistant to the children's librarian, Joyce Johnson. Our clientele there was also largely descended from slaves, but not in isolation from the rest of us. This was at the very beginning of publishing works on African American history, especially for children. To meet the demand, we bought the few items in multiple copies. We also pasted photos and articles from Ebony and other publications onto sheets of  gray cardboard, which were labeled, kept in steel filing cabinets and available for check-out in large envelopes. As a result of knowing these children (who often asked to touch MY hair, which was long and straight) I developed a lifelong interest in them and followed and supported attempts tp better the conditions in which they lived. Thus my interest in reading The Water is Wide as soon as it was published. (They made a movie of it called Conrack.)

After watching the interview, I got The Death of Santini on Kindle and read about a third of it last night. I am loving it! But it is really the interview (link above!) that I want you to watch. The level of honest communication is thrilling! Do it. Maybe tonight!

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