I love listening to people tell stories about their lives, and I love reading memoirs, so when I saw Old Friend From Far Away in the bookstore recently, I decided it was a perfect book for me to read for Joy’s Non-Fiction Five Reading Challenge. You don’t just sit down and read this book cover to cover, however. It’s a journey of sorts, an action book — you have to do things — so it’s a book I’ll be “reading” for a long time. And I’m enjoying it very much!
This book is designed not only for you to read but to drench you in the writing process and in your life of memory.
Natalie Goldberg is a wonderful writing teacher, as many people discovered with her publication 20 years ago of Writing Down the Bones. This one focuses on writing memoirs, and it is full of ideas, examples, and writing prompts that usually start with the phrase “Go. Ten minutes.” It really is a complete writing workshop in a book, but it’s not boring, didactic (despite the “commands”) or overbearing. It is a gifted writer and teacher sharing her knowledge and her understanding of how writing happens and why it is important, and I found it quite fascinating and very motivational. Highly recommended if you are interested in writing and telling the stories of your own life!