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natalie goldberg reading

Natalie Goldberg in Pittsboro, NC

Last month Natalie Goldberg (of Writing Down the Bones fame) came to my little town of Pittsboro, North Carolina. Goldberg visited a series of North Carolina book stores, which we learned on her first visit here in Pittsboro, was her only tour for her new book The Great SpringPer her talk, her publisher had asked where she would like to read in Boston and New York areas. She told her publisher, “Let’s do North Carolina, and that will be it.” She said she’s always felt a connection to our state.

I went to hear her speak at McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro’s Fearrington Village. Artist Barbara Hengstenberg, who co-hosted a creative retreat with me last summer (and another one is forthcoming this June!), came along too. We both have one regret:

We didn’t bring anything to write with!

Somehow we both left our notebooks at home. Thanks to the humorous ways of the universe, Goldberg’s every word was inspirational. I would have written everything down. What was I thinking not bringing my journal?!

Everyone had an ultra-brief few seconds to chat to (not enough time to chat with) Goldberg while she signed books by the store’s fireplace. Fortunately, I put my New York roots to work and speed-talked at her that her essay on spontaneous writing booths in WDB inspired me to hold a poetry on demand booth in Raleigh. Because of her essay, I held the booth. Because of the booth, some poetry customers received a poem that inspired them to get engaged a few moments after reading it. Although I couldn’t take notes during Goldberg’s reading, I was glad that I told her the story and that the couple got married at the festival the following year.

I wish her reading had been recorded. At the same time, I like that the experience was what it was. I didn’t even try writing snippets after the talk. Since I let the booth come into fruition naturally through inspiration from her work, I figured there must be inspiration in this impermanence.

UNRELATED REMINDER: Registration for my April 15th Pen & Paddle Floating Writer Retreat on the Haw River (Saxapahaw, NC) closes this weekend!