Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Natalie Goldberg books (again)

If you recall from my February posts (February 4, 2009 maybe), I have been trying to read some things by Natalie Goldberg. I just finished "Writing Down the Bones", and now I'm working on "Wild Mind". For "Wild Mind" though I am reading the library copy. I think when I am done I will go and buy my own copy. It's pretty good. "Writing Down the Bones" was good too. "Good" isn't the right word, not very descriptive, is it? I feel like I am washing my brain reading this stuff. Natalie combines her own memoirs, her own experiences, with writing exercises. You learn about her life, and what it is to live the life of a writer, as you learn about how to be a better writer. It's GOOD stuff. Makes me want to quit my job and go to New Mexico and write. Of course I can't do that, but that's the brain wash anyway. One day I feel like I should quit writing, and now I feel like I could be a great writer if only I had 24 hours/day, 7 days/week to commit to it. Haha.

Anyway both are worthwhile reads if you like writing, and are a writer, etc. At first I didn't like the idea of considering myself an a novice writer. After all, I have been writing since I learned how to write my ABCs practically. I am not a beginner, but writing for an audience does take practice, and even great writers write a lot of junk in between the good stuff. It's important to know that, and these books help put that message out there and put it in perspective. Pick them up, read them, try some of the exercises. The chapters are very short so you can read a bit even if you only have 10 minutes. You don't have to devote a day or a week to each chapter, although you might want to.


I've just come back to my desk after my writing class. I expected to feel much lighter now. I brought a piece of writing with me to class, and read it first thing. It was a powerful piece I think. Words like "rape", "arrest"and others... stories I do not want to write about.... I thought that once I had released it, given it voice in class, that I would feel better, like a weight lifted from my shoulders. I was wrong. I still feel like someone is sitting on them. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I can't find our state tax refund check that I had with me the other day, or maybe it's because I left my ham sandwich and yogurt at home. Maybe it's because I don't think I write as well as the others in my writing class, or because I worry that my boss won't let me take another one when the opportunity comes. I don't know. I just know that I expected to feel different now, and I don't.