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 the way 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.
Natalie Goldberg is a poet, painter, teacher, and the author of twelve books, including her classic, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (which has sold more than 1.5 million copies) and Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir. She has been teaching seminars for thirty-five years to people from around the world and lives in New Mexico.
"A celebration of the memoir form...an impassioned call to write, delivered by an author who knows how to zero in on the truth, and lead others there as well. If you're serious about finding that voice inside yourself, Natalie Goldberg is a teacher you have to meet." -- Steve Almond, author of Candyfreak and (Not That You Asked)
"A writer -- both energized and enlightened." -- Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way
"An invaluable addition to any writer's (or reader's) bookshelf. Each new chapter is another gift, unlocking the mystery of the story of the human heart. There isn't a better approach to memoir. Beautifully written, this book is for everyone." -- Robert Wilder, author of Daddy Needs a Drink and Tales from the Teachers' Lounge
"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 A Path with Heart
"Natalie Goldberg doesn't fool around. The moment I started reading her new book, I found myself compelled to follow her lead. She's a master and this book is a must-read for anyone who even thinks about putting pen to page." -- Cheryl Richardson, author of The Unmistakable Touch of Grace and Take Time for Your Life
"A richly abundant how-to book full of deep personal insight and practical go-get-'em. Memoir writers, buy this book, put it on your personal altar, or carry it with you as you traverse the deep ruts of your old road. Really, this book could save your life." -- Tom Spanbauer, author of The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon