With insight, humor, and practicality, Natalie Goldberg inspires writers and would-be writers to take the leap into writing skillfully and creatively. She offers suggestions, encouragement, and solid advice on many aspects of the writer’s craft: on writing from “first thoughts” (keep your hand moving, don’t cross out, just get it on paper), on listening (writing is ninety percent listening; the deeper you listen, the better you write), on using verbs (verbs provide the energy of the sentence), on overcoming doubts (doubt is torture; don’t listen to it)—even on choosing a restaurant in which to write. Goldberg sees writing as a practice that helps writers comprehend the value of their lives. The advice in her book, provided in short, easy-to-read chapters with titles that reflect the author’s witty approach (“Writing Is Not a McDonald’s Hamburger,” “Man Eats Car,” “Be an Animal”), will inspire anyone who writes—or who longs to.
Natalie Goldberg's love of writing stems from her desire to connect with herself. In this audio version of her bestselling Writing Down the Bones, this is a potentially self-absorbed wish, especially considering that the author reads from her own work and interjects morsels of wisdom gleaned from a long writing career, which includes books on writing (Wild Mind, Long Quiet Highway), creativity (The Well of Creativity), and art (Living Color). However, Goldberg's relaxed narration and Everywoman sensibility help her avoid this danger. The classroom-like reading gives listeners a growing acquaintance with Goldberg and a friendly assurance of her methods as she quips: "you can hear my New York Jewish voice nagging you." The recording also includes an interview with Goldberg, focusing on her use of Zen meditation in writing and offering additional insight into her own rule-free writing habits. (Running time: 9 hours, 6 cassettes) --Bryony Angell