Here's the story of how I met Natalie Goldberg
We (husband & I) just spent 5 days in Taos at a yoga retreat and visited Santa Fe for a few days before heading back home to Texas. I keep telling my man how different my life would be if I never left Santa Fe. Back in '78 when I took a workshop (w/Geraldine Price), fell in love with the place and never wanted to leave. But a lesbian came onto me. Back then I didn't know how to handle it. Totally freaked me out. (today that would be no big deal at all). So I wound up in Texas (but that's a whole 'nother story)
Fast forward to this week and my thing for Natalie's work. I really don't know how I discovered her, but once I did, I read everything thinking whatever she said about writing could apply to drawing and painting. Bought her books and identified myself as an artist who likes to write while she is a writer who likes to paint. In the Essential Writer's Notebook, I penned pages & pages of notes about my struggle with art and how her advice to writers was helping me with my drawings and paintings. I could imagine her saying, "Just do it and don't worry so much about how it looks." So on a previous trip to Santa Fe, I made a point of going to Ernesto's gallery to see her original works of art. In fact I wrote about it on my blog back in 2007.
Now here's where I experienced what can only be described as “the New Mexico vibe” and how it did it’s thing on me during my recent visit: (If you go with an open mind and avoid all the touristy stuff, you really do "get it"!)
Husband is napping at the hotel and I think about joining him when that little voice in my head says, "You're here in Santa Fe, you can nap anytime. Now get out there and do your thing!" So I tell the man that even though there wasn't time to visit galleries on Canyon Road, I was going to just one to see someone's work. Well that "just one" was Ernesto Mayan's and "someone" was Natalie Goldberg. Off I go down the back roads thinking my legs were really getting a workout between yoga and all this walking. In other words~ “honey, I ached!” Luckily Ernesto's gallery wasn't too far up the road.
“Oh-la! What's happening?” We exchange greetings.
"This is what's happening," I tell him as I point my finger inside his gallery. "I came here from Texas, blah blah blah…"
Then I ask about "Nat's" work (I feel I can call her that because I'm so familiar), but I really don't say it like that. Instead I say, "Are there any new pieces by Natalie Goldberg?" and he tells me yes and that she's dropping off something. So I walk over to the corner to see her works thinking “oh, that's nice, she's got new stuff” and also thinking that when he said she's coming by that probably meant in a day or two, next week, whatever…
Next thing I know, the planets are in alignment and in walks Ernesto with Natalie! Whatever reaction I had, I was trying desperately not to 1. scare her and 2. embarrass myself. However, I probably did both. To say that I was shocked is like saying the pope is catholic. Yuh!
A moment of awkwardness and jibber jabber on my part when I ask her if she’d consider hosting workshops on art as well as writing. She gave me the best comeback line, "I can't give it all away!" Touché!
She asked me which one of her paintings I like and of course I like the latest one because I haven't seen it, but when I give myself a moment to think harder I recognize the way the colors were transformed and how she was able to make a window frame green or orange when it was brown. I didn't say it, but I realize her paintings screamed "Break loose and go for it!" Isn't that the same advice she gives to writers, too?
Then, I couldn't help myself, I asked if we could have a Kodak moment. I felt her reluctance but then again I instantly felt that maybe she knew I was totally sincere and ever so thrilled that the universe matched us up at this moment. I think I needed the picture so that when I got back to Texas I could say, "Yeah, we really did meet one another!"
So, I didn't take too many pictures on the ride to the airport with the window down because if my camera blew away I'd never get over it!