Frank Conroy Dies at 69
April 8, 2005 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Frank Conroy Dies at 69 The author of "Stop-Time," jazz pianist, scallop fisherman, and Iowa writers workshop guru disappears into the divine...
posted by lilboo (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I snuck in to a suit and tie event with a friend at Iowa (we were poor students in jeans and worn sweaters) to see him play. He came and chatted with us for a bit.

Conroy wasn't - at least insofar as my limited contact would suggest - a snooty or arrogant person. Sadly, the same can't be said of most writers workshop students.
posted by aladfar at 7:32 AM on April 8, 2005

I similarly snuck into such a gathering. Do I know you aladfar? :P

Of course, I was there with my student advisor (Chuck Aukema, professor of writing at Coe College, about 30 miles north of Iowa City), and he was just a little chemically challenged at the time, so the memory is sort of a blur.

My memories of that time are similar to yours -- an artist who didn't throw out the "artist" with the bathwater, but instead embraced it in a spirit I admired, but alas, have been unable to attain in my life. Such is the plight, I believe, of so many of us ex-writing young urban professionals.
posted by thanotopsis at 7:50 AM on April 8, 2005

Just two comments? Sad sad sad.

posted by punkbitch at 12:09 PM on April 8, 2005

Well, I was going to read Stop-Time a few weeks ago but then I didn't. Now I just might have to go back to the library and check out the book.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, let's make it four comments.
posted by punishinglemur at 3:38 PM on April 8, 2005

Frank was a teacher of mine at the Workshop. I didn't like him all that much, as a person; lilboo is only half right (right about the workshop students, wrong about Frank). Yet, when I found out he passed away, it made me a lot sadder than I'd ever have imagined it would. Way sadder than, say, the Pope, or even Saul Bellow, whose books I like a lot more than any of Frank's (except Stop Time).

Frank was a blowhard. He never said a word he didn't like. His frequent nastiness was born, I suspect, of a frustration with a writing career than looked like it would be a supernova but turned out to be just another shooting star. But a lot of his ideas are still with me. He made me a better writer; I don't know if it happened because of him or in spite of him, but I doubt that matters much. I was glad to be away from him, but I was also glad to know he was out there. R.I.P..
posted by luckywanderboy at 1:46 AM on April 9, 2005

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