After listening to Natalie Goldberg’s new interview on ThoughtCast, ybonesy and I wanted to pass the information along to our readers. But we first wanted to take a moment to reiterate our gratitude for the teachings that Natalie has passed down to us. Our vision for red Ravine was born out of our writing practice and years of study with her.
Natalie invented writing practice. And in the interview, she talks about how Writing Down The Bones: Freeing The Writer Within broke a paradigm about writing. It started a revolution in the way we practice writing. The world was listening. Since 1986 the book has sold over one million copies and been translated into fourteen languages.
I listened to the interview again last night as I was preparing to write this post. Jenny Attiyeh interviewed Natalie in her home in Santa Fe. Natalie seems both relaxed and energetic. And ybonesy and I were talking about how good it is to hear her voice when she talks about confidence, building a strong writing spine, and learning to trust your own mind.
But I think I learn even more when she discusses her relationship to failure, success, loneliness, continuing to love after betrayal, and her study of Zen.
Writing practice is not Zen. But it is rooted in Zen. And Zen is a 2000-year-old study of the mind. Writing practice is the study of your own mind. And when we read literature, we are studying the minds of other writers. These are the things Natalie has taught us.
red Ravine is not just about writing practice. But writing practice is part of the structure of red Ravine. And something we are proud to pass along. We are grateful. We are part of the writing lineage.
And that’s why I have taped to the computer screen in front of me three things Natalie learned from Katagiri Roshi and now passes along to her students:
- Continue under all circumstances
- Don’t be tossed away
- Make positive effort for the good
Deep Bows all around.
-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007