Friday, January 3, 2014

Writing Down the Bones


I've just finished reading 'Writing Down the Bones - Freeing the Writer Within' by Natalie Goldberg. The lovely Sophie highly recommended it on her Instagram feed and I am so pleased that she did. There are a few paragraphs that really stood out to me and I wanted to share them with you. We may not be aspiring novelists, but we can all be writers and improve our writing - even if we only wish to write facebook updates and Christmas letters to relatives. What do you think?

We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn't matter. p56

Writers write about things that other people don't pay much attention to. For instance, out tongues, elbows, water coming out of a water faucet, the kind of garbage trucks New York City has, the colour purple of a faded sign in a small town. I always tell my elementary school students, "Please, no more Michael Jackson, Atari games, TV characters in your poems." They get all the attention they need, plus millions of dollars spent in advertising to ensure their popularity. A writer's job if to make the ordinary come alive, to awaken ourselves to the specialness off simply being. p123

Learn to write about the ordinary. Give homage to old coffee cups, sparrows, city buses, thin ham sandwiches. Make a list of everything ordinary you can think of. Keep adding to it. Promise yourself, before you leave the earth, to mention everything on your list at least once in a poem, short story, newspaper article. p130

What to read next? Any suggestions? Favourite book of late? All time favourtie?
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