Natalie Goldberg is best known as the author of Writing Down The Bones: Freeing The Writer Within Originally published in 1986 it is said to have “…broken open the world of creativity and started a revolution in the way we practice writing in this country.”
Since then it has sold over one million copies and been translated into fourteen languages.
Since its publication Natalie has been teaching seminars in writing as a practice. The influential Oprah Winfrey Show once sent a film crew to spend the day with Natalie for a segment on Spirituality. This covered her writing, teaching, painting, and walking meditation.
Natalie, who currently lives in Northern New Mexico, is also a prolific painter with her watercolors being exhibited at Ernesto Mayans Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Since the publication of Writing Down The Bones: Freeing The Writer Within Natalie Goldberg has written nine other book, including her latest one The Great Spring.
About The Great Spring
The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and This Zigzag Life. draws upon her years of writing, teaching, and practicing Zen Buddhism. Within its pages she shares those primary personal experiences that have dramatically opened her up to new ways of being alive.
The “great spring” that she refers to in this book references that great rush of energy that often manifests at those difficult times when you think that no form of life or meaningful experience will ever come again.
For Goldberg those important transitory moments within her own life experience have sprung from her writing, teaching, and Zen practice. She categorizes them as moments of “…searching, wandering, zigzagging, losing, and leaping…” at those places where she has found herself and her voice.
Thirteen of the twenty-two essays in The Great Spring. have been previously published – although sometimes in a different form. Those publications include “Yoga Journal, Shambhala Sun, Five Points, ” and “Creative Nonfiction. ”
Our Review of ‘The Great Spring’ by Natalie Goldberg
The Great Spring traces the author’s work over many years spent teaching Zen and writing in different parts of the world. It catalogs the places that she visited and the people that she met along the way.
Personal accounts of one’s spiritual life can be a fascinating source of inspirational material for those who want a first-hand understanding of the terrain to be followed.
Other books of this type are less-inspirational but are of interest and fascination to those readers who are avid followers of the author and who might be keen to step into the shoes of their mentor for a little while.
This book most definitely falls into this latter category. It is also a publication which was clearly written by the author for herself as a way of placing her life experiences into a broader context.
If you enjoy the creative output of Natalie Goldberg then this book has a lot to offer – albeit that a great deal of it has previously been published in other forms over the years. .
However, for those on the outside of the bubble in which she lives the book is somewhat of a laboured read. There is no real context by which to evaluate the stories that she shares and at times there is so much personal dialogue taking place that leaves you wondering whether the writing has not overtaken the story rather than the other way around as would be the case in more stimulating spiritual biographies.