I no longer remember when I first learned about Natalie Goldberg’s gem of a book Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. If I had to guess, I would say it was during a creative writing course I took in college in the early 90’s. I have brought it out of retirement on more than one occasion to help me get going with writing again.
When I decided to add a daily writing warm up in addition to my daily blog writing, I dusted her cover off again and started reading. Before diving into my writing warm up at Stumptown Coffee Roasters on W. 8th Street in the West Village, I read the short chapter, A List of Topics for Writing Practice. All of the chapters in this book are, in fact, short chapters. Each is a little capsule of writing wisdom to swallow when you need writing nourishment.
Some of the suggestions from this chapter include:
- Talk about the quality of light coming in through your window, no matter where you are or the quality of light;
- Write in different places;
- Write about the stars – be honest and detailed; and
- Generate your own list of writing topics to use.
These suggestions seeped through to my mind as I started to write. I wrote about:
- the physical act of writing;
- ink as coffee;
- how writing in a cafe affected my use of metaphor;
- fantasizing how writing in different locations might affect my writing warmups and the metaphors I chose;
- how writing in NYC should affect my writing, my life; and
- how stars in deep space might represent what it is like to communicate with others in the same universe.
From this last place, I wrote the following, which I would like to share with you. I am editing for clarity by replacing some pronouns with nouns.
Does the distance between us feel like the darkness between stars, each of us sparkling from our own fixed place in deep space and hoping that the others decipher and know us in their perspective and from their own point of view? Is it ever really possible to say to another star:
‘Oh, yes. I recognize your pattern of twinkles. They resemble my shimmers. We are on the same wavelength, or we have been. Fear not for I have seen you. You are not alone. You never have been, and you never will be.’