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Old Friend from Far Away

The Practice of Writing Memoir
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Simon & Schuster
 | 
March, 2009
ISBN:
9781416535034
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Banyen's Description: 

Natalie Goldberg’s classic Writing Down the Bones broke new ground in its approach to writing as a life practice. Now, Old Friend from Far Away delightfully transforms the practice of writing memoir. As Joan Halifax says, “this remarkable book is about life, its richness, its stains, its strangeness, failures, and fun, and how we retrieve it from the hidden part of our imagination through the craft of writing.”

In the center of our speed, in the core of our forward movement, we are often confused and lonely. That’s why we have turned so full-heartedly to the memoir form. We have an intuition that it can save us. Writing is the act of reaching across the abyss of isolation to share and reflect. It’s not a diet to become skinny, but a relaxation into the fat of our lives. Often without realizing it, we are on a quest, a search for meaning. What does our time on this earth add up to?...

So let’s pick up the pen, and kick some ass. Write down who you were, who you are, and what you 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. A beautifully written celebration of the memoir form, a 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.

 Old Friend from Far Away recreates Goldberg’s popular 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.

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, and learn to connect with their senses in order to find the detail and truth that give their written words power and authenticity.

“The brilliance of this book is that it immediately gets you writing your story. It opens the inner treasure and the inner zoo, makes you wriggle and weep, pawn the family jewels, laugh out loud, tear down memory lane, and reawaken to the mystery of your own life.” —Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart

Among Natalie Goldberg’s books are Wild Mind and Long Quiet Highway.

Publisher’s Description: 

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 Goldberg's best-selling Writing Down the Bones broke new ground in its approach to writing as a practice. This guide to memoir-writing 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. Now in paper. 336 pp.

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