Best Audience: Folks of any age who want to tackle their memoirs as well as those who are looking to explore and heal wounds of the past
I first encountered Natalie Goldberg through her book on writing, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, when I was seeking to improve my fiction writing skills. After working with the exercises there, I thirsted for more. Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldbert turned out to be a terrific guide to a deeper understanding of myself and of my characters. I worked with Goldberg’s exercises for several years in a somewhat random order. They helped me get into the Flow on some days. On others, they helped me get to the root of patterns that, like persistent weeds, had cluttered the garden of my psyche. I’ve used many of the writing prompts from Old Friend from Far Away in exercises with writing students, too. Whether you stick to the timed exercises as she sets them or let yourself just go with it, the prompts in Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg are wonderful for finding a new approach to whatever story you’re trying to tell. For writers of memoir, you’ll surely find at least one or two angles you hadn’t considered for breaking out those almost forgotten moments. Writers of fiction can easily adapt Goldberg’s prompts to help deepen their understanding of their characters during pre-writing exercises. If you’ve never written before, Old Friend from Far Away can help you get comfortable enough to start mining the gold of your life for nuggets you may even want to share with family, friends, and the world.
Bottom Line: Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf.
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