Synopses & Reviews
Twenty years ago Natalie Goldberg's classic, Writing Down the Bones
, broke new ground in its approach to writing as a practice. Now, Old Friend from Far Away
-- her first book since Writing Down the Bones
to focus solely on writing -- reaffirms Goldberg's status as a foremost teacher of writing, and completely transforms the practice of writing memoir.
To write memoir, we must first know how to remember. Through timed, associative, and meditative exercises, Old Friend from Far Away guides you to the attentive state of thought in which you discover and open forgotten doors of memory. At once a beautifully written celebration of the memoir form, an innovative course full of practical teachings, and a deeply affecting meditation on consciousness, love, life, and death, Old Friend welcomes aspiring writers of all levels and encourages them to find their unique voice to tell their stories.
Goldberg's enormously popular workshops have given countless students the ability to heed the call to write. Old Friend from Far Away recreates her trademark workshop style with its terse, demanding writing "sprints" that train the hand and mind to quicken their pace and give up conscious control. These exercises divert the eye from the obvious and redirect it to the tactile details we miss, the embarrassments we pass over, and the complications we overlook in the blur of everyday living. Goldberg writes, "No one says it, but writing induces the state of love." Old Friend from Far Away guides us into that state of love, where heightened attention and a rhythm of focus allow the patterns and details of the past to emerge on the page.
Millions of Americans want to write about their lives. With Old Friend as the road map for getting started and following through, writers and readers will gain a deeper understanding of their own minds, learn to connect with their senses in order to find the detail and truth that give their written words power and authenticity, and unfold the natural structure of the stories they carry within. An absolute joy to read, it is a profound affirmation of the capacity of the written word to remember the past, free us from it, and forever transform theway we think about ourselves and our lives. Like Writing Down the Bones, it will become an old friend to which readers return again and again.
Twenty years ago Natalie Goldbergand#8217;s classic, andlt;iandgt;Writing Down the Bonesandlt;/iandgt;, broke new ground in its approach to writing as a practice. Now, andlt;iandgt;Old Friend from Far Awayandlt;/iandgt;and#8212;her first book since andlt;iandgt;Writing Down the Bonesandlt;/iandgt; to focus solely on writingand#8212;reaffirms Goldbergand#8217;s status as a foremost teacher of writing, and completely transforms the practice of writing memoir.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;To write memoir, we must first know how to remember. Through timed, associative, and meditative exercises, andlt;Iandgt;Old Friend from Far Away andlt;/Iandgt;guides you to the attentive state of thought in which you discover and open forgotten doors of memory. At once a beautifully written celebration of the memoir form, an innovative course full of practical teachings, and a deeply affecting meditation on consciousness, love, life, and death, andlt;Iandgt;Old Friend from Far Away andlt;/Iandgt;welcomes aspiring writers of all levels and encourages them to find their unique voice to tell their stories. Like andlt;Iandgt;Writing Down the Bonesandlt;/Iandgt;, it will become an old friend to which readers return again and again.
Whenever a memoirist gives a reading, someone in the audience is sure to ask: How did your family react? Revisiting our pasts and exploring our experiences, we often reveal more of our nearest and dearest than they might prefer. This volume navigates the emotional and literary minefields that any writer of family stories or secrets must travel when depicting private lives for public consumption.
Essays by twenty-five memoirists, including Faith Adiele, Alison Bechdel, Jill Christman, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Rigoberto González, Robin Hemley, Dinty W. Moore, Bich Minh Nguyen, and Mimi Schwartz, explore the fraught territory of family history told from one perspective, which, from another angle in the family drama, might appear quite different indeed. In her introduction to this book, Joy Castro, herself a memoirist, explores the ethical dilemmas of writing about family and offers practical strategies for this tricky but necessary subject.
A sustained and eminently readable lesson in the craft of memoir, Family Trouble serves as a practical guide for writers to find their own version of the truth while still respecting family boundaries.
About the Author
Natalie Goldberg is a poet, teacher, and the author of eleven books, including her classic, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within--which has sold more than a million and a half copies and has been translated into fourteen languages--Wild Mind, Long Quiet Highway, Living Color, and The Great Failure. She has taught seminars for thirty years to people from around the world, and lives in northern New Mexico.
Table of Contents
Read this Introduction
Note to Reader
No One Has Ever Died
The Four-Letter Word
...What's in Front of You
Test III -- I Remember
Wild at Heart
Zora Neal Hurston
Just Sitting -- or Do the Neola
Hard and Soft
More Than Ten Minutes
Jimmy Santiago Baca
...Hand and Wrist
Sex -- or Money
...At the Edge
Half 'n Half
The Topic of Topics
Inventory of Good-bye
...October Thirty First
...The Big Continent
Guidelines and Suggestions for Writing Memoir
Some Great Memoirs to Read