Books That Changed My Life #2

Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Writing Down The Bones completely ruined my handwriting.

We’re talking about years of Palmer Method here, countless copybooks splotched up with ovals and push-pulls.  And today?  Can’t even sign my own goddam name on my credit card receipts with any sort of legibility.

I totally blame Natalie Goldberg.

In Writing Down The Bones, a book that I credit for making me a writer—good, bad or mediocre, she said that you just take your pen and …GO.

No concern with grammar, punctuation, spelling, or Palmer Method.  The only important thing?  Keep up with your thoughts.  Thoughts fly, the pen is s-l-o-w, so you need to scribble like a fiend.  Not holds barred.  Write everything.  Write crazy, bawdy, self-pitying, self-congratulatory. Write funny, satirical, ironical.  Write irreverent. Write crap.  But write.  Write it all down as fast as you can think it.  Don’t miss a thought, and for that, speed is required.  And speed entails slovenly when it comes to handwriting.  “Chicken scratch” would be a compliment.

So after years of Writing Down The Bones, my perfect Catholic School Palmer Method Oval and Push Pull handwriting is totally and irrevocably gone.

Along with the right answers to catechism questions, saddle shoes, and my goody-goody I’m-Not-Supposed-To-Even-Think-That-Way mindset.

Now, I don’t even give a shit.  I just go.

Natalie Goldberg ruined my handwriting, and set me free, and made me a writer.

Thanks, Nat.


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