The Late Pat Conroy on God & the Inklings


Margaret Evans, writer and editorial assistant to the late novelist Pat Conroy, within her column “That’s So Conroy:”

Did you know Pat had lately become enamored of fantasy fiction? He was fanatical about George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series, and compared Martin to Shakespeare. He had also discovered C.S. Lewis late in life, and was so enthusiastic about him – and his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien – that he ran the idea by me, about a year ago, of getting a group together to travel to an Inklings weekend in Black Mountain, NC. (How I wish we’d done it.)

You might not know that Pat was very interested in God. Though he didn’t go to church much, he still considered himself Catholic, and he wrestled mightily. During our chats about the Inklings, he once told me he wished he had a writers’ group like that of his own. “Wouldn’t it be great?” he said. “For those guys, the question of God was always on the table. Maybe you struggled with the idea of God. Maybe you rejected it altogether. But the question was always on the table. It mattered, and it mattered a lot. So many writers I know today don’t even address the question. They’re not even God-curious. I still think that’s the difference between a great writer and a merely good writer. Great writers – whether they’re believers or not – are God-haunted.”

Pat Conroy was God-haunted. Maybe you didn’t know….

While out walking in the Cypress Wetlands last week – thinking about Pat, and how he adored this season – a cardinal zoomed across my path at warp speed, eye level, so close to my face I felt the wind on my cheek and heard its whoosh. His feathers may even have brushed my sunglasses; I’m still not sure. It was all so swift and sudden, so frightening and wondrous, I was left shaking as I watched the red bird disappear into the rookery.

They say a cardinal encounter is a visitation from a loved one who has passed….

 

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2 responses to “The Late Pat Conroy on God & the Inklings

  1. Proctor S. Burress

    How about those that are preoccupied…NOT with God…but with those people whose frontal lobes are so conditioned to be preoccupied?

    Were the Inklings not an English drinking club preoccupied rather regularly with the spirit in the glass? Lewis was not the slightest orthodox Christian who…but had dabbled with it most of his life. More astounding is that American evangelicals continue to preach Lewis and hold him up as a model! Sad!

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    • I agree that many evangelicals, especially conservative evangelicals and Reformed folks, who advocate Lewis are being intellectually dishonest. But then I don’t enjoy a writer only if I have complete systematic agreement with everything he/she believes. I don’t like ideological litmus tests in any area of life.

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