Friday, February 5

Rick Bragg: How to Grovel

(This is the first of what may be an occasional off-golf-topic piece because I want to share my other nonfiction writing with more readers. Thanks as always for following this blog.)

Rick Bragg
One afternoon I saw my wife reading Southern Living.

"Hey, can I see that when you're done?" I asked.

Not because I wanted to read about porches and gardens, easy bedroom upgrades, or the South's hottest food towns. (Actually, I did take a peek at the food towns.) No, I wanted to read Rick Bragg's Southern Journal, on the last page.

I love Rick Bragg. The former New York Times reporter wrote a series of memoirs about his family and growing up poor in Alabama and Georgia. Bragg is a wonderful storyteller. Read his books, if you haven't already.

In his Southern Living essay, Bragg tackled groveling. He got help.

"A few months ago, I asked readers for advice on how to grovel," he began. "The alternative -- to do right in the first place -- I rejected from self-awareness."

Bragg shared some of the advice in the column. It was good. A woman named Susan told Bragg not to worry about groveling. As Bragg noted, Susan seemed to imply that he shouldn't expect too much of himself, "being a man."

There was plenty more, including a funny anecdote about Bragg's dog (Woody Bo) eating his favorite shirt. He spilled crab soup on the shirt during a trip to Louisiana and dropped it on the bedroom floor when he returned home.

I was impressed by the groveling advice offered by David of North Carolina. He gave Bragg a three-point plan:
1. Grovel often. It's expected. 2. Admit you're wrong. It's quicker. 3. Don't worry about being sincere. They know.
By the way, asking for reader input is a shrewd strategy for generating essays, columns and blogs. So, if you're a writer, be like Rick. And, if you're a man, grovel often and without shame.

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