Natalie Goldberg on the true secret of writing

Photo: Book Cover of Natalie Goldberg's The True Secret of WritingLately I have been “filling the well,” as Julia Cameron likes to describe our creative souls’ need for a regular diet of stimulation. You might be able to tell this from my recent blog posts. Lots of reviews — articles, books, a documentary. You can tell a lot about a person by what she puts in her well.

Almost every year, I plan to read a book a week — 52 books total — and I always fail. I blame my failure on the books I read. Some of them beg to be read slowly. Like Natalie Goldberg’s The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life With Language. Here’s a couple of passages, in my defense:

“Can we walk that thin line between constant change and continuation? And in the middle of this flux, feel gratitude but not hold on? Gratitude greases the joints to let us let go, and at the same time to stop and realize we received something. Gratitude is the most developed and mature of human emotions.”

Or what about this:

“Forget for a moment about politics, the battle of wills, the transfer of power. Forget about manufacturing, shopping, money, the stock exchange, horse racing, airplanes, the science of our brains and technology. What is that force that drives us, that connection, that not being alone anymore? The great ground of being opens up and holds us. Sitting still joins us to that true marriage. Literature points the way.

But great literature is about suffering, you say.

Isn’t that the cornerstone? To suffer the world. To be here.”

This book is a testament to the power of observation.

Goldberg halts my perpetual forward motion, squaring me back in the present, and yes, pricking my desire to live well and write well, but also showing me the stillness that is always available, if only I choose to drop in.

Obviously, I recommend her book. Goldberg can bring you closer to yourself, and the true secret of writing.

© 2013 Laura K Kerr, PhD. All rights reserved.