Friday, June 4, 2010

Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg

 Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg

A few weeks ago I posted a blog on my livejournal and myspace pages about how I was in the mood to write…which a rare occurrence for me. A friend suggested I read a book called “Wild Mind” by Natalie Goldberg. Naturally, me being the book addict I am, automatically flipped to to research this title. I found out that the book was about ‘living the writer’s life” and included tips and practice techniques for writing. I purchased the book within a week.

I love books…I love going to bookstores and walking through the aisles. I love the smells, textures, colors, and feelings that accompany a trip to a bookstore. This book, however, I ordered online. There is a feeling of anticipation and excitement that transpires as soon as I click the submit button and I receive the confirmation e-mail. I tend to check the mail everyday hoping the package of goodies will arrive. When this book finally came, because waiting three days for a book is an eternity for me, I opened it and started reading immediately.

As I began reading this book, I quickly found sentences and passages that inspired me. Natalie details bits and pieces of her life, her past, her discovery of writing, and her journey through her first novel.

This book came to me empty of human touch. Yes, it contained human words and emotions, but it had not been handled. The book was a front and back cover, pages, numbers, letters, words, black and white type. My copy has now felt the stroke of human fingers along its pages. My copy is now full of color. Yellow highlights caress the sentences and neon pink post-its hug the pages. My copy has learned what it means to feel.

I’m not sure this book inspired me to write. In a way it did and in a way it didn’t. I think about the act of writing. The idea is in the back of my mind…I just haven’t picked up my notebook and started moving my hand across the page yet.

This book was not a waste though. It may not have inspired me to write, but it did reiterate my love for literature and the written word. At one point Natalie compares literature to a symphony. Each letter is a musical note, each word a chord, every sentence is a musical piece, every paragraph a different instrument. The syntax, alliteration, every piece of a passage crashes and booms, every line sings. This was my favorite concept in the entire book. The written word is just as beautiful as an orchestra, the reader just needs to listen to the melody and appreciate the passion of the piece.

Not only did I rediscover my love of reading, I found a building, burning desire to run. I used to run in high school. Not track or anything. But my favorite time in gym was when we would go running through different neighborhoods, or even the school track. When Otty was deployed for four months, I began running again. I find a special freedom and peace when I run. Natalie found this as well. She tells the reader about the desire to run, the feelings of inability, and finally the freedom that is gained from running like an animal.

I find this a little funny as well. Reading this book seemed to reinforce some of the ideas I have been having for a while. For months I have been considering taking up meditating. I would like to find an inner peace. Natalie relates her experiences with Zen practice and meditation. She describes the connectedness that accompanies a Zen state of mind. I definitely want to read into this practice.

The last thing I gained from this book (for now) is a longing for creativity. I may not be a writer or an artist, but within the last year I have taken up drawing again after a ten year hiatus. I am motivated to continue these creative endeavors and to expand on my abilities. Maybe one day I will consider myself an artist, but for now I just aspire to be decent.

I do not find myself thinking or yearning to be a writer. I do not wish to write a book or poetry…although that would be kind of cool. I am not unhappy in my life without writing. Maybe if I use the writing practices Natalie suggests I will one day discover an idea buried deep within my imagination that will transform into a world and a tale that I can lead other’s through. Until then…I will travel through the realms that are created by another author’s mind and live within the music performed by these literary composers…
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