To quote a Melissa Etheridge song...
What books are keepers? What books pass through you like junk food: tastes good but no sustance, nothing to show for it but a memory?
I just finished Natalie Goldberg's 'Long Quiet Highway', aka 'Waking Up In America'. She's simply amazing. The first book I ever read of hers was 'Writing Down the Bones', a writer's way of expressing how she wrote and why--simply for love.
Ms Goldberg is a zen student, she's also a prolific writer doing it for herself first and for the rest of the world later--that's what every writer needs to do--whether you're Stephen King, Robin Cook, Anne Rice, Tom Clancy, JK Rowling, etc--they write first for themselves, they are their #1 readers, their sole and most important audience. Selling and making $ is a happy coincidence, first they had to commit themselves to the word.
I love the way Ms Goldberg writes, she's so honest, so open its like seeing her soul, not only does she tell of triumphs but of failures, of misconceptions, of her petty thoughts and her glorious ones.
Ms Goldberg does timed writings, alone or with a friend or group, any subject: toes, toast, time, tweed, name it and set your pen to paper and go. That's all, it's that simple. No--I feel crappy--write through the crap. The weather's too nice to be inside--go out with pen and norebook then. I'm hungry or sleepy--you name it, she's known the excuses and blown past them because that's all they are--just stray thoughts trying to slow her down.
Ms Goldberg says sitting zen was like that too--no matter the weather in sub-artic winter Minnesota, no matter her falling apart marriage with her husband, no matter the agnst and the doubts, she just sat, just breathed.
If you love something, what would you do? Save it for 'sometime'? Or do it until you dropped? Aside from destructive habits and over-indulgence in sex, food, drugs, alcohol, self-pity, wining, etc, there are things you can do that you love.
Don't wait for 'someday'. Time is the most precious commodity we have. Everything else can be replaced but this minute, this second, this moment--it's ours, no one elses. You going to spend your time in empty tasks, meaningless banter, with boring media? Or are you going for your passion, going to take out that camera, those brushes, those dancing shoes, that pen and paper, and do what is in your heart and soul?
Books that stay with me:
Ms Goldberg's: Writing Down the Bones, Long Quiet Highway, Thunder and Lightning;
Julia Cameron's: The Right to Write, The Way of the Artist, Walking in this World, The Vein of Gold;
Patricia Lynn Reilly's: Imagine a Woman In Love with Herself; Ursula K LeGuin: Always Coming Home;
Mary Staton: From the Legend of Beil;
Sherri S. Tepper: Beauty;
William Morris: The Water of the Wondrous Isles;
Lillian Hellman: Pentimento;
Ted Andrews: Animal Speak.
The web and free ebooks give us tremendous opportunities to expand our personal libriaries. http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/
See what wonders lie ahead, and enjoy!