If you’re a writer and you haven’t read Natalie Goldberg, you are missing out. natalie-goldberg-t

Bigtime.

Her classic Writing Down The Bones as packed with wisdom as any book ever bound.

One of the texts that creative writing teachers turn to again and again, its concept of writing as spiritual practice has transcended that field to reach everywhere from zen buddhism circles (Natalie is a Buddhist in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh) to progressive corporate culture.

My own copy, Shambala Press‘s pocket-sized edition, has travelled with me everywhere I’ve gone — literarily and literally.  Its spine is cracked, some pages are loose, it’s covered in notes to Natalie, notes to self and oodles of scribblings, underlines and ink stains. It is one of my oldest friends.

Which I knew. I’m a little shocked to discover just how old. This month, Shambala is  celebrating its 25th birthday.

When Bones came out, before the Internet made such things easy, I remember students having quite a search to find it.  Bookstores didn’t know where it should be shelved – writing? religion/spirituality? psychology?  That self-development is now one of the fastest moving corners in any book shop, online and off, is testament to the movement that Bones helped to initiate and nurture.

You can read a great interview with Natalie by another friend, Chris Dunmire of Creativity Portal here, together with her selected essay on the big topic of Beginner’s Mind.

Happy Birthday, beautiful Bones and long, long life to you.

Unconventional Guides