Pat Conroy loved to show visitors around Fripp Island.
He lived on the SC island at the end of US 17.
One visitor was his New Yorker father in law.
Pat waved and spoke to all his neighbors.
He knew all of them by name.
His father in law was amazed by this camaraderie.
Most Yankees are surprised by our friendliness.
“Pat,” he asked, “are you running for mayor?”
The late novelist loved to tell this story on himself.
He called himself “obnoxiously friendly.”
He bowled over fellow writer Cassandra King.
The first time they met, he grilled her about herself.
Cassandra admitted she is “extremely private.”
But she said she “fell under his spell.”
She ended up marrying Pat.
Pat, she said, quizzed readers at book signings.
He wanted to know about them, hear their stories.
Of course, his readers loved his attention.
Many of their stories ended up in his books.
You’ve already figured out why I’m telling you this.
Being obnoxiously friendly is a great writer strategy.
People are hungry for appreciation and recognition.
They get too little of it at home or at work.
When we show interest, they open like flowers.
Sincere interest in someone is a compliment.
My wife says I “interview” strangers.
She’s right. I do.
It’s more than just a journalistic skill.
I’m interested in others.
I hear about their frustrations and problems.
Their likes, loves, triumphs and victories.
It takes little prompting from me.
Strangers enrich my life with their stories.
You’re smart. Let them enrich yours, too.
You will love The Little Red Book of Compelling Writing.
It’s full of stories like the one on Pat Conroy.
A $20 advance order is a great investment.
We will have a printed copy to you in a few weeks.
For advance orders only we’ll pay the $4 shipping.
To advance order a copy you can:
1. Call Katie at 803-359-7633.
2. Email me at JerryBellune@yahoo.com