dining aloneShut Up and Write

“Oh ... wow, hi, Natalie. How are you doing? Listen, I’m so sorry to interrupt, you wouldn’t remember me, I was a student at one of your writing workshops in Taos. I’m Harpeth Rivers, well that’s the name I’m using for all the stories I have been publishing. You can just call me Rivers.”

“Yes. Well, hello, Mister Rivers, or whatever you say your name is. As you can see I’m having dinner here alone, and that is by choice, so if you don’t mind ...”

“Oh sure, no problem, that’s quite alright, you just go right on eating. Is that the Buddha Bowl you ordered? My wife gets that here sometimes, anyway, I’m really sorry to disturb you, I just wanted ... oh forget it.”

“Please, finish your sentence before you leave. It’s just that I’m trying to have a quiet meal, you know how it is out here on the road, never a minute’s peace. What did you say your name is, or was?”

“Rivers. Call me Rivers. Yeah, well... I just have to tell you, first of all, it’s wonderful running into you, I am such a fan of your books and the whole writing practice thing, and I’m very sorry for the interruption, it’s just that I wanted to say something in case I never see you again... 

“And that would be..?”notebook

“Natalie, I love you.”

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t get the wrong idea, I deeply truly completely love my wife, Janice. She’s the one who took me to meet you at the workshop in Taos so I could learn how to keep the hand moving across the page and not get tossed away and stuff, and really, I’m not confused about loving the work instead of the person. I do love the books, especially Great Failure, and your paintings, and I love you, the person wanting something so much and not being willing to hear no.”

“And I wanted to say congratulations on the release of True Secret. You know, five years ago in Taos you told us to go ahead and write the worst junk in New Mexico. So I did. I filled notebooks and discovered a lot. And I wrote this story called ‘Shut Up and Write- How Practice Gave Me Back My Life’. And that’s about it, I guess. Thank you for being my teacher, have a nice dinner, love always.” 



Harpeth Rivers is a New Mexico transplant from all over who has in the last year written songs about isosceles triangles, played bass guitar in a band, and declared himself "Retro-eclectic." His novel-in-progress is entitled Last Year.

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