Look who’s writing now. Yeah, me. Who would have guessed? Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within has turned this uneducated guy of fifty-five years old into one of the most thoughtful, real, and emotional men in his class. My three favorite tips and tricks found in this book come from her stories “Obsession of the Mind,” deep I know; “Living Twice,” this is my story; and “What Are Your Deep Dreams,” only I know them. Goldberg whispers, “For all my students past, present and future. May we all meet in heaven café writing for eternity” (vii)? Just let go and let god; if you have faith, then you don’t have anything to fear.
Everybody has obsessions. I don’t care who you are; you have obsessions about something. Like Goldberg explains, “Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them; things they can’t forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released” (42). In other words, Goldberg argues in her story “Obsessions” that we write about what were most familiar with, and that’s why I’m most secure writing about things I obsess over: recovery, bikes, tattoos, and working out. This confirms how strong our obsessions are. Obsessions have a lot of power over us, so we must use this power to take advantage in our writing. To illustrate how strong our obsessions are, if the topic to write about was children I would be baffled on what to write. I don’t have children. Likewise, my obsessions both positive and negative are they’re powerful and can be used to write from the heart. I have things deep down inside of me that are hard to let go of, but writing will free me of these obsessions and help me become the person I truly want to be. The things I obsess on might be different from what you obsess on, but mine are what make me who I am. As Goldberg suggests, use your obsessions to write, don’t let your obsessions right you: “We are run by are compulsions. Maybe it’s just me. But it seems obsessions have power. Harness that power” (43). Goldberg’s point is that obsession of the mind is a strong tool if used in a positive forum. This is another example of living twice which I certainly have done in my lifetime.
Similarly, “Living Twice” in Goldberg’s book talks about reflecting back at our past. Sure we can’t live twice, except in our writing when we reflect back on our life experiences. Goldberg explains, “But there’s another part of them that they have been training. The one that lives everything a second time. That sits down and sees their life again and goes over it. Looks at the texture and details” (53). Basically, Goldberg is claiming we can’t do things over in real time, but in are writing we can make the story have a different outcome. This notion is further exemplified by my own life. Here today this man can write a new chapter in his life. By living a clean, healthy, and honest way of life in all of my affairs, I don’t have to be that old dirt bag getting high and going to prison. Instead, I’m living twice. Life today has a different value to me. Like Goldberg say, ”You’re more interested, finally in living life again in your writing then in making money” (53). In making this comment, Goldberg argues that living twice lets us free ourselves of all those insecurities, self-doubts, and inebriation. This describes me; I can be and say what I want through my writing with no fear or what if. So it’s cool to be a little dumb when you write, and living twice helps me to have insight on my past, not resentment. Furthermore, this makes me wonder “what are my deep dreams,” only god and I know for sure, but this will help me in my pursuit of “living twice.”
To further illustrate, in “What Are Your Deep Dreams,” Goldberg talks about listening as it relates to dreaming. This could be going to a quiet place to listen, feel, what your dreams are, and what your obsessions are. She says to ask yourself “What are your deep dreams? Write for five minutes. Many of us don’t know, don’t recognize, avoid are deep dreams. When we write for five minutes we are forced to put down wishes that float around in our mind and that we might not pay attention to”(65). The essence of Goldberg’s argument here is that if we just write, and don’t think about it, we will put down our dreams and desires on paper that are truly our real obsessions. This applies to me.
When I was twelve or thirteen I use to dream about college, sports, being what my dad wasn’t. But my past implies that my dreams got shattered along the way. However, this paper shows I still have all those deep dreams down inside, and being here in college confirms dreams come true. “Once you have learned to trust your own voice and allowed that creativity force inside to come out, you can direct it to writs short stories, novels, and poetry” (66). Goldberg believes that you should trust your inner most self. She maintains just to write, as if no one else is going to see it, for your eyes only. Moreover, writing is just putting pen to paper and not stopping, but being free to write what it is you are all about.
Likewise, this writer’s deep dreams are about my obsessions to live life twice through my writing, actions, and participation. Goldberg’s entire book is about freeing the writer within; she gives us many tools of the trade to do this. Goldberg declares if you’re honest with yourself, open minded to your heart, and willing to listen to your desires you can be a great writer. As she says, “The biggest struggle was not with the actual writing, but working out the fear of success, the fear of failure” (179). In other words, Goldberg tells us not to be afraid, but just be yourself and let all that stuff come out to the surface because writing is for dummies, but you’re only foolish if you don’t write, and naïve if you don’t try.
Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Boston, MA.
Shambhala, 2005. Print.