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Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir

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In her first book to focus solely on writing since her classic work Writing Down the Bones, Goldberg reaffirms her status as one of the foremost teachers by redefining the practice of writing memoir.


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In her first book to focus solely on writing since her classic work Writing Down the Bones, Goldberg reaffirms her status as one of the foremost teachers by redefining the practice of writing memoir.

30 review for Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    I’ve been doing Julia Cameron’s morning pages since November last year. The idea is that you freewrite three pages: anything - everything - that comes to mind. In February I felt I was ready to move on to some morning writing that was a bit more structured, and use some prompts. I love Natalie Goldberg’s books on writing. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language, and Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life have been important books f I’ve been doing Julia Cameron’s morning pages since November last year. The idea is that you freewrite three pages: anything - everything - that comes to mind. In February I felt I was ready to move on to some morning writing that was a bit more structured, and use some prompts. I love Natalie Goldberg’s books on writing. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language, and Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life have been important books for me. So I ordered Old Friend From Far Away in paperback, to use each exercise as a prompt for writing every morning. The book layout is perfect for this. The exercises are thoughtful. Some are a single line. Some are a couple of pages. They delve into simple domestic actions like washing dishes, that speak so much. All of them made me depressed. I didn’t realize this until I’d been using the book for two weeks and found myself in that familiar mental space where my daily word counts get lower and lower and I start to wonder why I do anything at all because the world would be a better place if I just stayed in bed all day. Or maybe lay down under a tree for a few years until the roots grew through me. It’s because so many of the exercises are designed to take you back to your time as a child. And even if they weren’t designed that way, for me, they just did. I mean, memoir. It covers your whole life, including childhood. It’s obvious, right? I guess I just hadn’t thought enough about it. What was I expecting? I’m still recovering from my childhood. I know that’s something I have in common with a lot of people. I have a forest of pain writhing just under the my skin. If you scratch me only a tiny bit the tendrils burst out and wrap around everything. My mom got pregnant when she was in high school. She ran away to be with my dad, but he drove her back home and dropped her off in front of her house. She’d believed all the lines about “I love you. Of course we’ll always be together.” I didn’t meet him until I was in my 30s. I’d had a tumor removed from my breast in my 20s and I was worried about not knowing all of my family medical history, so I looked him up in the phone book and emailed him. I wish I hadn’t. There was nothing healing about the experience. He’s a dick. When I was born my grandparents wanted to send me to an orphanage (remember when orphanages were a thing?) but my mom refused to sign the papers. So my grandparents “took us in.” My grandmother made sure I knew both of these facts growing up. It was made very clear to me that the people I lived with weren't the people I belonged with. They weren’t my family. I was there because life threw you shitty stuff like illegitimate bastard grandchildren, and you just had to cope with that as best you could. I’ve written about my grandmother before. We have a very complex relationship. I have five cousins, but I’m the only one who pays for her residential care home, her brandy, her coffee, her Red Door perfume, the one who takes her shopping, the one who the nurses phone when she falls and needs to get an X-ray. Because it’s just an acknowledged fact within the family that she took me in, so I need to repay her for putting a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and meals in my belly for all those years. And wow, they were beautiful clothes, I gotta admit. She showered me with clothes. She’d pick outfits from the department store where she worked and bring them home for me. It was very important I was dressed better than the other children in the neighborhood, because I was naturally less than, so I needed to try harder if I was to be almost as good. And she needed me to be almost as good. Needed it like water. Because life is a wheel that can’t be halted. She’d been illegitimate too. Her mother ran away to Australia with her father while he was married to someone else. Only when his wife died could they come home to New Zealand, although her father’s family still disowned them. They arrived as the Great Depression hit. They lived in a two-room shack with another family. She had to leave school at 14 and get a job. She got pregnant to a visiting air force cadet. They got married. He ditched his new bride at his family’s remote farm and went back to training. She had no electricity, no money, and her new mother-in-law for company: the mother-in-law who had not been informed about the wedding until her new pregnant daughter-in-law arrived. It took twenty years for my grandmother to claw her way out and into a life she could stand. I’ve never met a stronger willed woman. And then the wheel turned and my mom got pregnant. God, the pain that must have caused my grandmother... The truth is she did take us in. She could have walked away from my mom and me. No one would have blamed her at the time. It cost her greatly, in all ways; monetarily, personally, and socially. She did her best to hide from the world that I was of less value than other people. I just kind of wish she’d tried to hide it from me, too. I accept that I’m permanently broken, the pieces held together with a laquer made of degrees, paper, and words. And it works, you know? Broken isn’t valueless; broken is beautiful. I walk around and get stuff done. I successfully raised a child better than I had been raised. I take my depression meds. Most days I do not cry. I practice Stoicism. I accept loss and do not fear it. I choose the future over the past, action over remembrance. I choose to mindfully create the life I want through small but consistent acts every day. But waking up in the morning and reading prompts like “Where is home for you? Go. Ten minutes” (p. 24)… welp, it does not help me achieve my goals. It’s like the words are picking at the joins in my sense of self with rusty dentists’ tools, whispering my darkest thoughts to me. This book made me begin my days with misery and self-loathing, and this is not the way I choose to live my life. I literally tossed the book in the garbage. It has already been collected and pulped. This is an amazing book… for people with happy childhoods. I recommend it if you’d like to delve into the recesses of your memories and pull out meaning. But some people should not try to write memoir, even for ten minutes. I’m one of those people, and I’m more than okay with that.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joel Friedlander

    It took me 6 months to "read" this book. How come? Almost every page is an exercise in reconstructing your own memories of your life and the people you've met along the way. I decided to work through all the exercises and it turned into a truly transformative experience. I think if you're interested in memoir, in telling your own story but you need help getting started, or if your writing seems to "lack juice" this book is for you. Through writing exercises and memory-enhancing writing prompts, Na It took me 6 months to "read" this book. How come? Almost every page is an exercise in reconstructing your own memories of your life and the people you've met along the way. I decided to work through all the exercises and it turned into a truly transformative experience. I think if you're interested in memoir, in telling your own story but you need help getting started, or if your writing seems to "lack juice" this book is for you. Through writing exercises and memory-enhancing writing prompts, Natalie leads you gently into your own past to reveal the truths you haven't even realized yet. Highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Natalie Goldberg saved my writing life. Stuck in the depths of writing block despair - the longest and bleakest I had ever experienced - I grabbed this off the shelf at my local bookstore. Two pages in, I felt a ray of light break through the thunderhead surrounding me. I ran out and bought a new notebook. I sat down and wrote five pages without stopping. Writer's block DEMOLISHED. Been writing well and without blockages ever since. I love Natalie method of "zen writing". It's easy to identify wit Natalie Goldberg saved my writing life. Stuck in the depths of writing block despair - the longest and bleakest I had ever experienced - I grabbed this off the shelf at my local bookstore. Two pages in, I felt a ray of light break through the thunderhead surrounding me. I ran out and bought a new notebook. I sat down and wrote five pages without stopping. Writer's block DEMOLISHED. Been writing well and without blockages ever since. I love Natalie method of "zen writing". It's easy to identify with and the prompts and advice she provides in this book are a fantastic way to not only get the ball rolling on a memoir, but also to help you delve into the core of what you are truly trying to get out of yourself. I adored this book. /end gushing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Saundra Goldman

    I have finished the exercises for the first two sections of Old Friend, which I'm using as a text in my class, Writing Practice, Memory, and Memoir. I'm keeping a separate notebook for this work, although most of the topics have lead me back to the book I'm writing--but with angles and insights I wouldn't have otherwise reached. I actually conceived this class so I'd do the exercises in Old Friend, because I didn't have the discipline to do them on my own. Nothing like accountability to get you I have finished the exercises for the first two sections of Old Friend, which I'm using as a text in my class, Writing Practice, Memory, and Memoir. I'm keeping a separate notebook for this work, although most of the topics have lead me back to the book I'm writing--but with angles and insights I wouldn't have otherwise reached. I actually conceived this class so I'd do the exercises in Old Friend, because I didn't have the discipline to do them on my own. Nothing like accountability to get you moving your pen across the page. I told students not to worry if they didn't get to every topic by the time of our next class, but that they should tackle those topics they had the most resistance to. One student began a write by whining about the topic, "I remember," which is the backbone of the book. After venting for several lines, she landed in the most remarkable material from her childhood. So far I like teaching from this book. I'll update this review when we're done.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Inder

    I just finished reading this book this morning. Now that I've read it, I need to work through it. Which I am very much looking forward to, because, oh, what a lovely little guide! Some of the best writing I encounter is actually writing about writing. Which makes sense if you think about it - why would you follow advice from a badly written book about writing? Natalie Goldberg does not disappoint - she is as funny, down to earth, succinct, and harsh, as ever. This book is inspiring in the best wa I just finished reading this book this morning. Now that I've read it, I need to work through it. Which I am very much looking forward to, because, oh, what a lovely little guide! Some of the best writing I encounter is actually writing about writing. Which makes sense if you think about it - why would you follow advice from a badly written book about writing? Natalie Goldberg does not disappoint - she is as funny, down to earth, succinct, and harsh, as ever. This book is inspiring in the best way - makes you wish you weren't on BART reading, but were, instead, in a cafe with a notebook - makes you want to pick up a pen and go. Shut up and write, just like she says.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    The same, old, stuff from Natalie Goldberg. Wordy personal narrative disguised as less than inspiring ten-minute writing exercises. I think of something Amy Hempel said in Paris Review a few years ago - that being "writerly" can overshadow what you are trying to say. "Sometimes, the door is just "open", she said. "Write everything you can think of about the Fourth of July" just doesn't excite me. I'm passing this on. The same, old, stuff from Natalie Goldberg. Wordy personal narrative disguised as less than inspiring ten-minute writing exercises. I think of something Amy Hempel said in Paris Review a few years ago - that being "writerly" can overshadow what you are trying to say. "Sometimes, the door is just "open", she said. "Write everything you can think of about the Fourth of July" just doesn't excite me. I'm passing this on.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Great book. I'm going to buy it. I never buy books. It's out in paperback 3/10/09. I can wait. Great book. I'm going to buy it. I never buy books. It's out in paperback 3/10/09. I can wait.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Angel

    I liked this book, but as I was reading it through, it was not easy to handle. The reason is that this is a book meant to be read, and for people to do the writing exercises. I constantly wanted to stop and do some writing, but since I was borrowing the book (from my library), I could not stop. I would definitely buy a copy of this book for myself at some point. I remarked in one of the updates that I still liked Writing Down the Bones better, and I can say that statement is still accurate. That I liked this book, but as I was reading it through, it was not easy to handle. The reason is that this is a book meant to be read, and for people to do the writing exercises. I constantly wanted to stop and do some writing, but since I was borrowing the book (from my library), I could not stop. I would definitely buy a copy of this book for myself at some point. I remarked in one of the updates that I still liked Writing Down the Bones better, and I can say that statement is still accurate. That other book seemed more primal; this one is good, but it seems a bit more refined, which is not necessarily a bad thing. For aspiring writers, and I think even for veteran writers, there are a lot of good writing exercises and ideas. The book's focus is on writing memoir, but it is still applicable to other forms of writing. I think the only reason I did not give it five stars is that some of the illustrative passages (like an excerpt from this or that) seemed either a bit long or not as engaging (to me at least), but that is a minor thing. Overall, if you want to get writing, and you want to do so with minimal nonsense or fluff, then this is a good book for that. If you have read the author before, you know what you are getting. If not, this is a good place to start. Now, go read it, and then go grab pen and paper (or your keyboard), and write.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Church

    I just love this author, so I'm going through her bibliography book by book. Each one talks about writing, creativity, and life. But they don't seem redundant to me. Her voice is so real and humorous that I would read anything she writes. This book does however focus on writing about your own life in the form of memoir. Being a memoirist myself I find her words inspirational and helpful. She lives and dies by her "writing practice" which I'm finally (4 books later) starting to implement into my I just love this author, so I'm going through her bibliography book by book. Each one talks about writing, creativity, and life. But they don't seem redundant to me. Her voice is so real and humorous that I would read anything she writes. This book does however focus on writing about your own life in the form of memoir. Being a memoirist myself I find her words inspirational and helpful. She lives and dies by her "writing practice" which I'm finally (4 books later) starting to implement into my own routines. Don't start with this book. But if you read Natalie's other books about writing, don't be shy about starting this one.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    "This revolution in personal narrative that has unrolled across the American landscape in the last two and a half decades is the expression of a uniquely American energy: a desire to understand in the heat of living, while life is fresh . . ." au contraire --- it is because we are a country of self-absorbed, egotistical narcissists. Ms. Goldberg has not only jumped on the bandwagon, she's now driving it. "This revolution in personal narrative that has unrolled across the American landscape in the last two and a half decades is the expression of a uniquely American energy: a desire to understand in the heat of living, while life is fresh . . ." au contraire --- it is because we are a country of self-absorbed, egotistical narcissists. Ms. Goldberg has not only jumped on the bandwagon, she's now driving it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emily Crow

    I like Goldberg's friendly and inviting approach to writing, but I already have Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind, and this book contains mostly the same advice. Worth a read but glad I got it from the library. If it's your first book by Goldberg, though, you'd probably get a lot more out of it. I like Goldberg's friendly and inviting approach to writing, but I already have Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind, and this book contains mostly the same advice. Worth a read but glad I got it from the library. If it's your first book by Goldberg, though, you'd probably get a lot more out of it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Uglyoldwitch

    I am using this along with Christina Baldwin's "Life's Companion" as a teaching tool for two of my memoir writing classes. I love Natalie Goldberg's style, the way she can go from hysterical to dead-ass serious in a single sentence... I am using this along with Christina Baldwin's "Life's Companion" as a teaching tool for two of my memoir writing classes. I love Natalie Goldberg's style, the way she can go from hysterical to dead-ass serious in a single sentence...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    This book is an absolute delight! Rich in content and humor, and filled with writing prompts and useful reading recommemdations. A must-read for any aspiring memoir writer; fiction writers and poets may benefit from it too.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Patton

    I hated her writing style. The only thing good about this random and weird book, was the writing prompts.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura Robb

    A lot of writing prompts and good tips for memoir writers.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brent M. Jones

    Natalie Goldberg said of her book “Old Friend From Far Away”: “The experience I’ve had with writing this book has deepened over the months. Continually accessing my own storehouse of memories, I’ve found that the things usually lost in the busyness of day to day life have instead become part of my life now, enriching me tremendously. The practice itself has become the end, the reason for doing it.” The book offers new perspective on memoir suggesting that it doesn’t have to be confined to one pla Natalie Goldberg said of her book “Old Friend From Far Away”: “The experience I’ve had with writing this book has deepened over the months. Continually accessing my own storehouse of memories, I’ve found that the things usually lost in the busyness of day to day life have instead become part of my life now, enriching me tremendously. The practice itself has become the end, the reason for doing it.” The book offers new perspective on memoir suggesting that it doesn’t have to be confined to one place, or series of events, but can be organized around themes in your life, challenges you have faced, and recurring patterns. Rather than teaching how to write a memoir it shows how to recover your memory through the practice of writing. Goldberg tells us that to “write memoir, we must first know how to remember. Through timed, associative, and meditative exercises, the book guides you to the attentive state of thought in which you discover and open forgotten doors of memory.”   She uses writing to explain how we can learn to connect with our senses in order to find the detail and truth in our memories.  We not only learn to find the truth but how to free ourselves from our past and change the way we think of ourselves and our lives. Thirty plus years ago her book “Writing Down The Bones” sold over one million copies and broke ground writing about with its view of writing as a Zen practice and this book still holds that view. This is not a how to book but a book about who we are that is well worth reading. For more on this book and this author see https://connectedeventsmatter.com/blo...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Monet

    I love Natalie Goldberg! I have read her other books 'Wild Mind' and 'Writing down the bones'. I'd say this one was similar but not as resonate as the other two. Still, I always get the jolt of inspiration and creative zest after reading all of her books! I especially love her thoughts on rule breaking. Writers must do this! Thanks Natalie for the shot in the arm today as I write my memoir. I love Natalie Goldberg! I have read her other books 'Wild Mind' and 'Writing down the bones'. I'd say this one was similar but not as resonate as the other two. Still, I always get the jolt of inspiration and creative zest after reading all of her books! I especially love her thoughts on rule breaking. Writers must do this! Thanks Natalie for the shot in the arm today as I write my memoir.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This is not what I expected, but I really enjoyed it. Goldberg is a very good writer and writing teacher, so her thoughts on memoir writing are gold. The book is almost entirely made up of writing prompts, which are excellent, but I wish she had included more of her thoughts about memoir as a genre. I'd highly recommend this to anyone interested in memoir writing, but beware that this is not a "sit down and read" book - it's meant to be used as a guide to remember and WRITE your own material ove This is not what I expected, but I really enjoyed it. Goldberg is a very good writer and writing teacher, so her thoughts on memoir writing are gold. The book is almost entirely made up of writing prompts, which are excellent, but I wish she had included more of her thoughts about memoir as a genre. I'd highly recommend this to anyone interested in memoir writing, but beware that this is not a "sit down and read" book - it's meant to be used as a guide to remember and WRITE your own material over time (it'd take at least a few months to go through this properly).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Whitehead

    I greatly enjoy Natalie Goldberg’s books about writing. Though she can be a little “non-linear” at times, her meditative approach to the craft and excellent writing prompts provide consistently good inspiration. In this text she takes on the subject of memoir. Though this isn’t a style of writing I personally want to pursue, I nonetheless found her suggestions thought-provoking.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Mcleod

    This book presented itself to me at exactly the right time. I had been contemplating writing a book, especially a memoir, for some time. Never seeing myself as one to write fiction. But then again, up until a couple of years ago, I never believed I could write poetry. Proven wrong once again at least in my own mind. Then came an “Old Fiend from Far Away”. This old friend showed me through the practices laid out the necessary skills and focus to get some of my many thoughts onto the page. I had be This book presented itself to me at exactly the right time. I had been contemplating writing a book, especially a memoir, for some time. Never seeing myself as one to write fiction. But then again, up until a couple of years ago, I never believed I could write poetry. Proven wrong once again at least in my own mind. Then came an “Old Fiend from Far Away”. This old friend showed me through the practices laid out the necessary skills and focus to get some of my many thoughts onto the page. I had been journaling for many years but Natalie’s book showed me how to take journal entries and form them into chapters connected by that “thin red line”. Although the ‘final product’ is actually a novel, it is the memoir of a fictional woman who is a composite of myself. Even to arrive at this format I very much needed and benefitted from the author’s skilled and wise guidance. But in numerous instances throughout her book she managed to turn work into play. Thank you, Natalie, for the reintroduction to my old friend!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Zoraida Rivera Morales

    I read this book as a workbook. It was a great experience remembering, writing and looking in. It's so easy to read, honest and inspiring. It offers diverse perspectives and life stories that show roads and suggest ways of finding our writing paths. Some of the prompts talked to me, others I adapted to my culture and circumstances; still others seemed far like the moon, but there were a far many more where I could find something to connect. In others it was the writing tips that got me writing i I read this book as a workbook. It was a great experience remembering, writing and looking in. It's so easy to read, honest and inspiring. It offers diverse perspectives and life stories that show roads and suggest ways of finding our writing paths. Some of the prompts talked to me, others I adapted to my culture and circumstances; still others seemed far like the moon, but there were a far many more where I could find something to connect. In others it was the writing tips that got me writing in my notebook. My greatest gain from this book was freewriting. I had known about freewriting, but it was Goldberg who from afar showed me how it's done and moved me to do so, expressing feelings and experiences and getting unexpected results. This is a great book for any writer wanting to use their memories as a trampoline or those who want to use writing as a way to have new perspectives about their past. This book was my company for most of the year and it's an experience I want to have again. What book will it be next year? We shall see.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

    I've had this book previously and my opinion hasn't changed any at all, why would I have thought it would. I saw a class was offering online and since I can't make that commitment just now, and my library doesn't have Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within , and why not? I settled for this instead. I wish I could compare the content between the two title. This one feels like she threw together a lot of journal prompts without all that much content between them, as if she was rushing t I've had this book previously and my opinion hasn't changed any at all, why would I have thought it would. I saw a class was offering online and since I can't make that commitment just now, and my library doesn't have Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within , and why not? I settled for this instead. I wish I could compare the content between the two title. This one feels like she threw together a lot of journal prompts without all that much content between them, as if she was rushing to meet a contractual deadline. Hard words perhaps for someone with the outstanding reputation that this author does. Really who am I to judge in this way. Until I can actually compare the two books, I really won't know.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anieta

    Read "Old Friend from Far Away", and decided to use it as daily writing prompts for a good long while. I have spent most of my life shoving memories aside, ignoring what Ms. Goldberg calls "old friends". They terrify me, anger me, shame me....and, Ms. Goldberg states, have much to teach me if I will but listen. Already I have found the writing has changed my thinking. I gulped my coffee while standing on my feet just before rushing out the door. Ahh yes! Momma did that, too. Why? Why not drink it Read "Old Friend from Far Away", and decided to use it as daily writing prompts for a good long while. I have spent most of my life shoving memories aside, ignoring what Ms. Goldberg calls "old friends". They terrify me, anger me, shame me....and, Ms. Goldberg states, have much to teach me if I will but listen. Already I have found the writing has changed my thinking. I gulped my coffee while standing on my feet just before rushing out the door. Ahh yes! Momma did that, too. Why? Why not drink it as she walked? Why not wait till she got to the car to finish it? Was she thinking, taking a moment to slow the rush? Making sure she forgot nothing? Listen, Ms. Goldberg would say. Sit down. Write for 10 minutes. See where the memory takes you. What is telling you? And do the same with the flashback at the kitchen sink. The stairs. Visit those old friends. Harvest the memories.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Wes Martin

    I think it likely that I’m at the wrong place in my writing journey and understanding of memoir to appreciate this book. I also think it likely that I consumed it in the wrong medium (audiobook) as it reads more like a textbook with specific practices and prompts littered throughout, both of which are not helpful while driving. I was hoping for more “but picture” concepts like if/when to outline the memoir and how much detail to place in an outline. Or, how to infuse some of the principles of Bi I think it likely that I’m at the wrong place in my writing journey and understanding of memoir to appreciate this book. I also think it likely that I consumed it in the wrong medium (audiobook) as it reads more like a textbook with specific practices and prompts littered throughout, both of which are not helpful while driving. I was hoping for more “but picture” concepts like if/when to outline the memoir and how much detail to place in an outline. Or, how to infuse some of the principles of Big Idea Nonfiction into memoir. This isn’t that book. This book is, in my opinion, best reserved for the person looking to casually write disconcerted thoughts using some of the principles/techniques of writing memoir for the purpose of self-reflection or memory preservation.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Meredith Allard

    I've made no secret of the fact that I love Natalie Goldberg and her books. I even started sitting zazen after reading her memoir about her zen teacher. I'm starting my own journey into memoir writing, so of course one of the first people I turned to was Goldberg to see what she had to say about it. There are many great exercises here to get your brain going, thinking about what you remember and what you might like to include in telling your life story. Some aspects of this book felt familiar to I've made no secret of the fact that I love Natalie Goldberg and her books. I even started sitting zazen after reading her memoir about her zen teacher. I'm starting my own journey into memoir writing, so of course one of the first people I turned to was Goldberg to see what she had to say about it. There are many great exercises here to get your brain going, thinking about what you remember and what you might like to include in telling your life story. Some aspects of this book felt familiar to me, as though she had already covered them thoroughly in Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind. Even so, any book by Natalie Goldberg will lift your spirit as a writer and a human being.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kressel Housman

    I'm not going to finish this book, but it was great for me. Like all of Natalie Goldberg's books, it is full of writing prompts, but for the first time, I committed to doing every single exercise as I went through it. I actually got through Sections I and II, but now I've got to stop. I'm taking a writing class, and there's no way that I can keep up with the class, my 2018 reading goal, and Natalie's book all at the same time. But I'll get back to this in the future. It opened me up, and I'm gra I'm not going to finish this book, but it was great for me. Like all of Natalie Goldberg's books, it is full of writing prompts, but for the first time, I committed to doing every single exercise as I went through it. I actually got through Sections I and II, but now I've got to stop. I'm taking a writing class, and there's no way that I can keep up with the class, my 2018 reading goal, and Natalie's book all at the same time. But I'll get back to this in the future. It opened me up, and I'm grateful for that.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carol Keller

    I think a lot of this author and in general enjoy and learn from her books on writing. This is not a book that needs read cover to cover and mostly just provides prompts. Here is one whole page/chapter as an example. “Tell me about a time you were instantly enamored. Go. Ten minutes”. Which is how every one of them ends. “Go.” “Ten minutes.” It gets old and its not the author’s fault that bossy people on Facebook say that all the time now.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ann Lewis

    I read this book twice in 8 days and did every writing prompt she offered. I loved it. Now, I've got 88 typed pages of memories and stories. The prompts were thought-provoking and interesting, things I wanted to write about. I'm grateful for this mentoring experience and grateful for the pages that have come out of it. If you are looking for a way to get started writing about your life and your experiences, I highly recommend looking here. Thank you, Natalie Goldberg. I read this book twice in 8 days and did every writing prompt she offered. I loved it. Now, I've got 88 typed pages of memories and stories. The prompts were thought-provoking and interesting, things I wanted to write about. I'm grateful for this mentoring experience and grateful for the pages that have come out of it. If you are looking for a way to get started writing about your life and your experiences, I highly recommend looking here. Thank you, Natalie Goldberg.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    Not just a book to be read from cover to cover, this book has been instrumental in my beginning the process to write my memoir. Page after page of valuable prompts and insights, this book helped me to understand how to get out of my own head and simply begin to capture memories and thoughts. Highly recommend!

  30. 4 out of 5

    L. L.

    This book has an amazing list of writing prompts -- ten minutes top to complete most -- with short essays that include other valuable tidbits to inspire writers in new directions. One of my favorite from the 300+ prompts in this book is "Hot." "What is the hottest place you’ve ever been? Ten minutes. Go. What did your father never stop talking about? Ten minutes. Go. What do these two topics have to do with each other? Probably nothing. But I don’t want your mind to get lazy, comfortable in one slo This book has an amazing list of writing prompts -- ten minutes top to complete most -- with short essays that include other valuable tidbits to inspire writers in new directions. One of my favorite from the 300+ prompts in this book is "Hot." "What is the hottest place you’ve ever been? Ten minutes. Go. What did your father never stop talking about? Ten minutes. Go. What do these two topics have to do with each other? Probably nothing. But I don’t want your mind to get lazy, comfortable in one slot. Slam dunk. One point. Now make another. We want surprise, not logic — in basketball and writing. Do not be sensible. You’ll never get on the court," (249). I combined ideas from a memory of a heat wave in Chicago with one of my dad's top ten rants and got a lovely paragraph with searing images. Natalie Goldberg is a writer's writer -- and her book is full of rich, specific ideas. I appreciate that Goldberg doesn't tell or show you how to create great writing. Instead, she inspires you to make it yourself and then discover what new tricks you've learned by following her clever suggestions. That, to me, is the sign of a great T-E-A-C-H-E-R.

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