“Each night, when practice is over and I’m driving home through the streets of Charleston, I ride with the top down on my Volkswagen convertible. It is always dark and the air is crisp with autumn and the wind is rushing through my hair. At the top of the bridge with the stars shining above the harbor, I look to the north and wish again that there were two lives apportioned to every man and woman. Behind me the city of Charleston simmers in the cold elixirs of its own incalculable beauty and before me my wife and children are waiting for me to arrive home. It is in their eyes that I acknowledge my real life, my destiny. But it is the secret life that sustains me now, and as I reach the top of that bridge I say it in a whisper, I say it as prayer, as regret, and as praise. I can’t tell you why I do it or what it means, but each night when I drive toward my southern home and my southern life, I whisper these words: "Lowenstein, Lowenstein.”
The world of literature has everything in it, and it refuses to leave anything out. I have read like a man on fire my whole life because the genius of English teachers touched me with the dazzling beauty of language. Because of them I rode with Don Quixote and danced with Anna Karenina at a ball in St. Petersburg and lassoed a steer in “Lonesome Dove” and had nightmares about slavery in “Beloved” and walked the streets of Dublin in ‘Ulysses’ and made up a hundred stories in the Arabian nights and saw my mother killed by a baseball in “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” I’ve been in ten thousand cities and have introduced myself to a hundred thousand strangers in my exuberant reading career, all because I listened to my fabulous English teachers and soaked up every single thing those magnificent men and women had to give. I cherish and praise them and thank them for finding me when I was a boy and presenting me with the precious gift of the English language.