Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Natalie Goldberg & Author Signings

I talk a lot about Natalie Goldberg. I first was introduced to her when I started writing and heard about this Must-Have Writing Book: Writing Down The Bones. I picked it up, wondering if it would turn into a case of over-hype. It didn't. There is something really special about that book.

Only now, finally (though it has been sitting on my shelves for a couple years) am I reading her first memoir piece, Long Quiet Highway. The cover is gray. The name sounds slow. Quietness is not much of a hook. And we in YA circles are so very interested in good hooks ;) But now I am so eager to devour stories of people engaging in meditation, especially women. So I read Eat Pray Love (I'm still in the middle of it), and devour Goldberg's memoir, so youthful, hopeful, optimistic. She goes and lives in a tipi in a commune in Taos. She is a hippie. She loves writing. She wants to meet her own mind. The book is saturated with these loves and longings. The book is written in 1993, when she's around 45 years old.

I met her in person a couple of years ago, at a reading and signing. 'Met' is a strange word when it comes to author signings. You have a minute, maybe more, with this person you've all but idolized, and here they are, in person! but they are tired and there is a long line behind you, and all you can sputter off is some quick nonsense about how much you've been moved by your work, and they sign your book, and look you full in the face maybe, and then it is over.

And I have a crap memory, so I don't remember much about it, except, she seemed like a very strong woman. Strong, opinionated. A teacher who had so many students she didn't put up with much crap anymore. A strong woman, comfortable in her age. And I have her signature on a book in my apartment. Meanwhile, I feel far more connected to her through this memoir of hers I am reading. And this place, meeting people at the Zen center here in Minneapolis and trying out sitting in meditation, I feel more connection to her than ever.

As a writer, I wonder, when my book is published and people read it, will they feel connected to me? Will they feel like they know me? And appropriate me for themselves, as I myself have done with so many authors in my long reading history? I think this will be a funny moment, when I am the one signing books at readings.

1 comment:

  1. I finally got around to reading WRITING DOWN THE BONES. So energizing yet comforting at the same time. Like a cup of Earl Gray for the writer's soul. Thanks for recommending!