I’m planning somewhere quiet to go and do writing. Somewhere to go and pull lots of thoughts, reading and theories together, but also to have some ideas I haven’t had yet. I have plenty of time but also a limited time to write what I’m going to. And in thinking about writing I’ve remembered Natalie Goldberg and her ‘Writing Down The Bones.’
Her clear as a bell guide to writing as a physical activity, as a primal urge, a spiritual need. The book which feels like a major contribution to the life time’s worth of reasons I’m sat here in Bold Street Coffee, on my way to see about a summer writing place. Because I’m a writer now.
I didn’t read Natalie Goldberg’s book for this, to become a writer. I read it maybe twenty five years ago to break free. To break free from what I didn’t like about my life and the job I was doing, into what felt like another life altogether when I finally jumped. In the doing of that Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron were my great literary inspirations. Julia Cameron’s ‘Artist’s Way’ being the more structured and ordered inspiration that I needed at the time.
Then of the two, Natalie Goldberg’s being the one that’s most stayed with me over time. So that sat here now I can think of a collection of favourite phrases I’ve got used to like they’re my own thoughts, but they’re not. They’re Natalie Goldberg’s, like:
“Just write, don’t let your pen leave the paper, don’t edit, write until your own voice appears, and if it doesn’t yet it will, as long as you just write. Even this, this blog post, write it, write it without stopping. Make it read a bit like the book you’ve decided to write about. Even put me in here in a quote I’ve never said if you like. Just write.”
Or something like that
So, regularly writing in cafés, I do that. Moving around when the words slow down, I do that. Writing to find what I think of something, yes. Writing to test out how something will feel if I do it, that’s me. Writing, it’s become what I am. Through eight years of writing this blog and most especially from doing the MA/PhD I’m writing now, here in these fieldnotes.
“Sat here in Liverpool or over in Port Sunlight, you’re writing, you’re a writer. In your journal, your fieldnotes, an essay or two, a utopian dissertation, some stories you’ve yet to even dream about. Writing, it’s what you do now, you’re a writer.”
Yes, so thank you Natalie Goldberg. And though your book left my life years ago I think it’s time it came back for another reading. Because reading’s one of the places where writing comes from. Writing down the bones, writing up the future.
Goes off to find the book somewhere…