Zen and Writing Memoir


Went to see Natalie Goldberg Friday night.

I could have sworn I read her book, Writing Down the Bones. But I don’t see how I could have, since until they introduced her Friday evening, I had no idea she was into Zen. According to Wikipedia, teaching writing using Zen principals is Goldberg’s niche. Fortunately for me, I just finished Dinty Moore’s, The Accidental Buddhist, which is a fun exploration of Moore’s experience with Buddhism. So when Goldberg started talking about Monkey Mind and focusing too much on this side of life, I was able to put it mostly in context.

Poor thing lost her mother on Christmas eve. She was talking about the experience of losing her mother and, at one point, she asked, “Where is my mom?” It came out so plaintive. The rest of the night I felt sad, vulnerable. Sooner or later everyone loses their mom.

Goldberg also pronounces memoir funny. She says, “memwhhar.”

And I long for the East coast.

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4 thoughts on “Zen and Writing Memoir

  1. What’s so funny about “memwhar?” How do *you* say it?

  2. Tim Elhajj says:

    One time my friend, Bob, who is from Vermont, took me to his parents house and left me alone on the porch with his father, who grew up and lived his entire life in Vermont.

    I could barely understand a single syllable the man said! And he spoke to me for almost five minutes. I just nodded my head a lot.

  3. Bob Sanchez says:

    Natalie’s book is on my shelf. It’s excellent for anyone who needs encouragement to start writing.

  4. Tim Elhajj says:

    I notice I have Writing Down the Bones on my bookshelf, too. It’s been recommended to me by a number of people. And now I have her new book, Old Friend From Far Away, which I picked up at the reading. Apparently she is big into writing exercises. I’ve never really been a big fan of exercises. I do them occasionally, but then I like to get on with my stories.

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