Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg has been a mainstay in the writing community for twenty years and if you do not love this book there has got to be something wrong with you, right? Not necessarily. As in my case, it is all where you are at in life.
Years ago, I borrowed it from the library with a bunch of other books on writing and never got around to reading it. Well, in 2010 I won a copy of the book for participating in a Book-in-a-Week monthly writing session. As I started to read the first few chapters I felt a growing resistance to the information.
Goldberg was introducing the idea that “we all have a dream of telling our stories — of realizing what we think, feel, and see before we die”. I just wanted to know how to write the best murder mysteries. She was linking writing to meditating and learning more about our inner selves. I wanted to know when and where to place the clues so my readers would not find them too easily.
Then I read the chapters on the writing practice and it hit me. This was useful and could help with my biggest problem: writing every day. The chapters, “Composting” and “Tap the Water Table”, took two readings but I got it. The chapter, “First Thoughts”, was a different matter. All I can say is when I started this book I did not want to throw up my personal history and examine it with a microscope.
Since then I have returned to the book many times and each time found a new gem. No, I have not started meditating yet and my personal history is still unexplored but this book is something else and worth at least ten reads to find every nugget.