From ‘Writing down the bones‘ by Natalie Golberg. I just finished this book and I’m so sad, it’s a guide to life in addition to creative writing… but I’m writing more then before, so thank you Natalie! :P
IASKED MYSunday-night group (many of whom had been doing practice writing for three years), “Where do you want to go with writing? You have this strong creative voice; you’ve been able to separate out the creator and editor. What do you want to do with it?
There comes a time to shape and direct the force we have learned. I asked them, “What are your deep dreams? Write for five minutes.” Many of us don’t know, don’t recognize, avoid our deep dreams. When we write for five, ten minutes we are forced to put down wishes that float around in our mind and that we might not pay attention to. It is an opportunity to write down, without thinking, wishes at the periphery of our perceptions.
Reread them. Start to take your dreams and wishes seriously. If you’re not sure, if you honestly don’t know what you want to do, start wishing for a direction, for your way to appear.
When I was in Israel last year, I walked the streets of Jerusalem wondering what other kind of writing I should do. I was finishing my second manuscript of poetry,Top of My Lungs, and knew that I needed something, some new form. Lots of poets back in the Twin Cities were writing novels. Judith Guest’s success withOrdinary People, her first novel, spurred everyone on (she lives in Edina, Minnesota). I kept saying to myself, “Natalie, do you want to write a novel?” The answer was clearly “No!” There was some comfort in that, in knowing what I didn’t want. But I was worried. I had visions of my end, lying in the gutter, clutching a few last poems in my hand and, with my last breath, begging someone to read them.
There’s a wonderfulNew Yorkercartoon of a man standing in front of passengers on a plane with a rifle and a notebook in his hands, saying, “Now, sit still. No one is going to be hurt. I just want you to listen to a few of my poems.” Poetry has never been a favorite American pastime.
A friend who is a poet, now writing a mystery novel, suggested I write this book. I remembered that I had started it five years ago. The time wasn’t right then, but like our obsessions, our dreams do reoccur. We might as well pay attention to them and act on them. It is a way to penetrate into our lives; otherwise we might drift with our dreams forever.
Once you have learned to trust your own voice and allowed that creative force inside you to come out, you can direct it to write short stories, novels, and poetry, do revisions, and so on. You have the basic tool to fulfill your writing dreams. But beware. This type of writing will uncover other dreams you have, too—going to Tibet, being the first woman president of the United States, building a solar studio in New Mexico—and they will be in black and white. It will be harder to avoid them.