Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sunday Salon: Let the Summer Reading Begin

     I'm going to be very honest here. The school year is over. I packed up my entire classroom and moved to another classroom on another floor (again). And now I need to detox. Being a teacher is demanding, stressful, rewarding, amazing. It is a roller-coaster ride of emotions and situations and epic failures and qualified successes. It's exhausting. And at the end of the year, I need some time. I need to sleep until I wake up, at least for a few days. I need to sit down and eat a leisurely lunch (something that never, ever, ever happens during the school year). I need to drink when I am thirsty, without worrying about when I will manage to get a bathroom break. I need to read, purely for pleasure, and at my own whim.

Just now I'm reading Pat Conroy's Beach Music. It is absolutely perfect for me right now. It's set in the fictional town of Waterford, which is actually Beaufort, SC, just a couple of bridges away from where I live. I actually got to meet Pat Conroy, not long before his death of pancreatic cancer. He was one of the most gentle, generous, compassionate men I have ever met. His eyes were sea green, and he had the gift of focusing entirely on whoever he happened to be speaking with, in a way that made you feel that he was genuinely interested in everything about you, and that he had all the time in the world to spend with you. My husband took this picture, and it just makes me happy, even though I look a bit of a wreck (I had taught all day, then waited an hour in line in wilting South Carolina heat). Sadly, I am in pretty good focus, but Conroy is pretty blurry. But this picture captures a moment where I just felt supremely happy. Conroy and I talked about his book The Water is Wide, which related his experience of teaching on Daufuskie Island, called Yamacraw Island in the book.

     I only met Pat Conroy once, but he's the sweetest man in the world to me. He used to go to a certain restaurant in Beaufort, and have lunch on a specific day of the week (I think it was Thursdays). He often invited members of the reading public to join him; it was an open invitation. Whoever showed up would be his lunch companions.

     So this is my time to rest, let some of the toxins escape, and read, read, read. Also write, write, write. This is the summer when I will establish and stick to a writing schedule. I'm letting go of everything else. Nothing else matters.



bermudaonion said...

Teaching is such a tough job and am always so happy when I run across dedicated teachers like you.

I love the photo of you and Pat Conroy - I can see the joy in it.

JoAnn said...

Love the photo of you and Pat Conroy. I never met him, but have heard him speak... such a wonderful man! I still remember how much I loved Beach Music. I want to reread it one day... have held on to my old copy for 20 years. Here's to a relaxing summer!

Judith said...

Yes, I would say that you and Pat Conroy have a good deal in common. How wonderful that you had the chance to speak with him.

I wish you many, many relaxing reading and writing days this summer. Do keep your blogging community briefed on your adventures, if you can squeeze it in. I so enjoy and am nourished by your posts.

Bryan G. Robinson said...

Sorry for my belated comment here, but hope you are doing well with your summer reading and writing...so far.

bibliophiliac said...

Thank you so much Judith! I'll have another Conroy-related post soon!