Today I will have the great fortune of speaking with author, poet, teacher, and painter, Natalie Goldberg about her forthcoming book, The True Secret of Writing for Tiferet Talk. Goldberg is the author of the seminal writing books Writing Down the Bones, Wild Mind, Thunder & Lightning, and Old Friend from Far Away, which, together with her life-changing workshops, have rent open the landscape of creativity and inspired a revolution in the practice of writing in this country. Goldberg’s own gorgeous creative works include the novel Banana Rose; the memoirs Long Quiet Highway and The Great Failure; and the painting and poetry books Living Color, Top of My Lungs, and Chicken & In Love.
Goldberg’s books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and her extraordinary teaching methods have drawn students from across the globe. The True Secret of Writing, due for release 3/19/13, is the capstone to four decades of Goldberg’s teachings and reveals newly-developed methods not found in Goldberg’s previous books.
Of The True Secret of Writing, Noah Levine states, “Natalie Goldberg has done the unthinkable, she has shared the secret teaching. The buddhas of time immemorial are rejoicing and the literary bodhisattvas are smiling in silent approval. Read this book, then write a revolutionary manifesto!”
In celebration of this interview, I’d like to do something a little different with Mnemosyne this month and memorize a chant instead of a poem. Mnemosyne started because I was so in love with certain poems that I wanted to bring them into my breath and being. I wanted to feel them in the beats of my heart. I feel the same way about this chant, “Evening chant,” which is a traditional opening for mediation sessions and which has many variations. I like Goldberg’s version the best of any I’ve heard, because it is more immediate and visceral than the others.
I beg to urge you everyone:
Life and death are a Great Matter
Awaken, awaken, awaken
Time passes quickly
Do not waste this precious life
(Natalie Goldberg’s version of the Evening Chant, written on the wooden han)
Photo by Kevin Moul
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