by Pat Conroy
A novel is a great act of passion and intellect, carpentry and largesse. From the very beginning, I wrote to explain my own life to myself, and I invited readers who chose to make the journey with me to join me on the high wire. I would work without a net and without the noise of the crowd to disturb me. The view from on high is dizzying, instructive. I do not record the world exactly as it comes to me but transform it by making it pass through a prism of fabulous stories I have collected on the way. I gather stories the way a sunburned entomologist admires his well-ordered bottles of Costa Rican beetles. Stories are the vessels I use to interpret the world to myself. I am often called a "storyteller" by flippant and unadmiring critics. I revel in the title.