The cost of losing a book

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, February 12, 2011

“The soul virtue of losing your short-term memory is that it does free you to be your own editor.” — Norman Mailer

I became aware the other day that my Natalie Goldberg book was hiding or possibly missing. I was devastated. The book had been with me for years and now it was gone. I remember lying in bed with it when I first purchased the book from Pam Urick’s coffeehouse bookstore.

Reading it that first night in bed convinced me that I needed to write something now and I did. Natalie mentions in the book how the writers in Minnesota “wrote complete sentences, were descriptive, detailed, and grounded.” She points out that in Minnesota almost everyone could write like that.

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Because they did write well, they were ‘unwilling to leave what they knew, to break into new frontiers and crack open their world into the unknown.’ Natalie describes a Tuesday-night class “the writing was so basically solid and good, I couldn’t shake them. I wanted them to foam at the mouth, become blithering idiots, and wander into unknown fields.”

We were in Rochester last Sunday and I made a trip to the Barnes and Noble downtown bookstore.

There I found a small hard copy of “Writing Down the Bones” at a higher cost that had more current information from Natalie. Last night I discovered my original aged copy.

Natalie talks about first thoughts and ten-minute writings: 1. Keep your hand moving; 2. Don’t cross out; 3. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar; 4. Lose control; 5. Don’t think. Don’t get logical; 6. Go for the jugular.

This is something a group of us have done over ‘the years’ usually at the library and at Vilt’s Valley and Urick’s apartment that is no more.

While exploring the Barnes and Noble bookstore I found another book by Thich Nhat Hanh, a current book titled “You Are Here” that was translated in 2009. The first chapter is titled “Happiness and Peace Are Possible.”­ This will be fun too when I get around to it. Sponya bohem.