An evening with the Norumbega Collective

After a week off—following my latest and most ironic entry where I wrote about the need to write every week—I am back.

While I still feel hesitant saying it out loud—like Mother Nature—and more specifically—Maine’s version of Mother Nature will hear me, chuckle to herself and whip up a snow storm—I think springtime has graced the state.

It wasn’t just the warm sunshine, gardens turning green and getting to enjoy a glass(es) of wine on my rooftop that told me it was spring. It was the attitude—the awakening of downtown after a sleepy winter—that assured me spring had arrived.

The sky was a light periwinkle (at seven o’clock!) this past Friday night and people were milling about, popping into shops and listening to local bands at all the local restaurants downtown. And, they were at 58 Main, checking out a reading by Noy Holland and Nat Baldwin, hosted by the Norumbega Collective.

A couple of months ago, after reading an article about the Norumbega Collective, I reached out to the group, as I was interested in their ongoing efforts to promote the literary and performance arts in Bangor.

By hosting monthly reading series, the Collective features Maine writers as well as those from outside the state. By supporting local writers while also showcasing talent “from away,” the Norumbega Collective succeeds in an intricate balance that is integral to promoting Maine as an artistic hub.

I showed up early to the reading to meet the group’s four members and help set up. The Collective is made up of three teachers and one non-profit worker. All four members are writers. All are volunteers—nurturing and developing the Collective out of love for their cause to bring art and people together.

I helped set up forty chairs and nearly all of them were filled by the start of the reading.

Both readings featured pieces that were dark and even haunting. The room lay quiet and listeners breathed in every word. I felt suspended in the moment and yet, I couldn’t help but let my thoughts wander to the same realization I had the day I attended the workshop on Peaks Island in early March.

It is fascinating how many writers are willing to publicly share something as intimate as their own writing to a group of strangers. And vice versa—it’s fascinating that listeners are willing to participate in something so vulnerable.

And yet, I think that’s why people create such organizations and why people attend such events—it’s an open and sure way to connect with one another.

While I listened and looked about the full room, I had another realization—little pockets of art are all over the place—especially in Bangor.

Rebecca Reisman

About Rebecca Reisman

My name is Rebecca Reisman. I am an aspiring writer. While I love being a Mainer, it can be challenging as a twenty-something year old to find incentives to stay in a state with a declining population and fewer opportunities. But I love it here. That’s what this blog is about; exploring and connecting to my new community in downtown Bangor while finding a way to settle down in my beloved home state.