Sunday, July 19, 2009

Frank McCourt

My love of writing is of course a direct result of my love of reading. Over the years there have been a million books that have touched me, entertained me, or made me laugh or just maybe made me cry. And in that same amount of time there have been a number of authors that have truly inspired me with not just their story, but their ABILITY to tell the story. Often times in a way I never could.

In my early years of reading Lucy Maud Montgomery, Judy Blume, Beverly Clearly, and the amazing women who wrote under the name Carolyn Keene all drew me in to their amazing worlds. And inspired me to want to create my own worlds. As I got a little older Thoreau, Keats, Longfellow, and Whitman taught me the music of poetry and how words truly are mightier than the sword.

Stephen King, in my early teen years, would become one of the most definitive storytellers I'd ever have the great honor of reading.

As an adult Chuck Palahniuck became another great storyteller in my life.

But the most amazing storyteller I came to know as an adult was Frank McCourt. Angela's Ashes, as sad as it was, was compelling and beautiful. I read it front to back two times in a row after purchasing it. Funny thing, I've read the book a few times over the years, but still have never seen the movie.

His second book, 'Tis, was even more emotional for me. There was something so absolutely familiar about Frank McCourt to me at that point. I think I associated him with my own Grandfather. A man I loved and respected so very much who passed away long before he ever got to tell me the kind of stories that I was able to hear from Frank McCourt.

And knowing that they were roughly the same age living in the same New York neighborhood. I always figured there was probably a pretty real possibility that my grandpa could have been one of the numerous Irish neighborhood guys in the background of 'Tis.

Even if not, I always felt like 'Tis gave me a glimpse into what life was like for my grandpa. I was able to get that glimpse because of the amazing raconteur that Frank McCourt was.

Thank you Frank McCourt for giving me that glimpse. And thank you for making me want to share stories and my life with others. Thank you for inspiring me, entertaining me, and making me cry.

This is a traditional Irish Prayer spoken at funerals, that I share with you readers today in honor of a great writer, Frank McCourt. And for my grandpa who I still think of all the time.

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Everything remains as it was.
The old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no sorrow in your tone.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting, when we meet again.


RosieRed23 said...

This is a beautiful post, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I too love reading McCourt's work, I so remember the first time I read Angela's Ashes and how much I instantly loved it. (I've never seen the movie either, can't imagine it would live up to the book!)

Christina said...

My favorite memory of Frank McCourt is seeing him play harmonica in the middle of a reception at the Southampton Writers conference a few years back. He was much loved.

Ann Evanston said...

I so appreciate your love for reading and honoring a great author!


Meghan said...

It's so awesome to see I'm not the only one with fond memories of Frank McCourt!
RosieRed, I'm actually getting tempted to see it, but maybe I'll resist & just read the book again...

Christina, I'm totally jealous. That sounds like it was a great moment. How are you by the way? Still getting grief from Mrs. Baio? ;-)

Thanks Ann for stopping by & the very kind words!