New Friend from Far Away

She entered the crowded bookshop carrying a huge plant, lavender chrysanthemums, a gift, joyful. Several in the audience had been in her workshops over the years.  Others were meeting Natalie Goldberg for the first time. She greeted everyone warmly.  Natalie had traveled a long way, from Santa Fe to the East coast.  Her visit would ultimately bring her to Lenox, Massachusetts to give a workshop, but this night she was on home ground, Long Island.  She read from Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up in America, one of her memoirs.  The scene she chose was her high school English class in Farmingdale. Her teacher, the poet Vince Clemente had turned the lights out so students could listen to the rain, in the quiet, in the darkened room.  For the young Natalie, struggling in soulless suburbia, this moment, this gesture, this teacher “saved her life.”  For those of us in the audience lucky enough to know Vince and his generous ways sharing his love of poetry, always crediting the masters, Natalie’s tribute  was especially moving.  The whole evening’s presentation was magical.

After reading from her poetry collection, Top of My Lungs, Goldberg continued with selections from her new work, Old Friend From Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir. She was generous answering questions from those who sat in rapt attention, and when she finished, no one moved.  We’ve had a lot of readings over the years at Canio’s Books, but we’ve never seen this response. No one wanted to leave. We all just sat, perfectly comfortable in the cramped space, transfixed.  No one knows how many books, poems, works of art Natalie Goldberg may have inspired, but this night, we’re certain she inspired a whole lot more.  If you missed this memorable event, we have a few souvenirs: signed copies of Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within; Long Quiet Highway,  Top of My Lungs; and Old Friend From Far Away.  What great gifts these would make to an aspiring writer, or for one writing who needs new inspiration.  What a great gift Natalie gave us this night: a new friend from far away.

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Canio's Books is located at 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963. You can drop an email to info@caniosbooks.com, or even check out some of our stock online. Thanks for visiting our blog!

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