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Book Review: Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg

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Wild Mind: Living The Writer’s Life, first published in 1990, is reissued for 2011, along with three other beloved titles by Natalie Goldberg, in digital format, published by Open Road. The others in the series are Thunder and Lightning, Long Quiet Highway, and Banana Rose.

All four titles are available for all devices, including ebook readers, tablets, computers, mobile phones, and computers. The digital format is perfect for Goldberg’s writing style, with short, conversational chapters, and dozens of “Try This…” sections. They’ll make you stop reading and start moving your hand across the page.

“What writing practice, like Zen practice, does is bring you back to the natural state of mind, the wilderness of your mind.” Much of Goldberg’s serenity comes from the years she studied with Zen master Katagiri Roshi. The personal nature of Wild Mind includes her thoughts on life changes, Zen practice, and her growth as a writer, despite the many times she questioned her career choice.

New writers will fully understand “wild mind” when learning how tough writers are on themselves, and Natalie is no exception. Yet, she gives herself permission to fail, which in turn gives her the courage to fight the fear and keep writing.

Through writing practice, Goldberg teaches us to accept and connect with writing from our first thoughts. Devoted fans of Goldberg will recall her advice: “Just keep on writing. No matter what.”

Too many of us know ourselves by journal writing which is different than the writing practice she teaches in Wild Mind. She says journal writing “has a fascination with the self, with emotion, and situation. It stops there.” Yet, she continues, “Writing practice lets that and everything else run through us; in writing practice we don’t attach to any of it.”

If you have the elemental urge to write, Wild Mind, and the other books in this delightful collection, will set you free to embrace and engage with your writing life. Through Natalie, we learn the act of writing is remembering, as we reach back in time, while the pen races ahead.

Because these ebook versions adapt to today’s ereader devices, they also include the bonus of a delightful slideshow of photos of Natalie’s life.

 

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