Old Friends From Far Away

A few weeks ago on Sunday Scribblings Meg and Laini made reference to Natalie Goldberg's new book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Memoir. Loving Goldberg's other writing books and having a passion for memoir immediately motivated me to order this book! It arrived yesterday, but I haven't had time yet to read much of it, but I love what the author says in the introduction:

"Memoir is the study of memory, structured on the meandering way we remember. The thought of Cheerios ricochets back to a broken fence in our backyard one Nebraska spring, then hops over to the first time we stood before a mountain and understood kindness."

The book then begins with ten minute exercises that allow all of us to explore what we remember. I am eager to continue when time allows.
For me the thought of Quaker Puffed Rice takes me back to the pantry at my Grandma West's house on a cool summer morning. The smell of dill and I am in the cellar at my Grandma Woolum's house where this herb from the garden hung on the wall to dry. I meander back in front of a black and white T.V. when I taste buttered popcorn. I remember sticky fingers from the Hershey's Syrup can when I poured it on ice cream.

I look forward to more ten minute exercises as I visit old friends and memories from far away.


  1. I want that book.

  2. Anonymous7.3.08

    I bought this book the week it came out and it's been a real kick in the seat as far as getting me to start writing about my life.

    I've been using the exercises to create posts for my blog, which I've termed "freewriting" for lack of a better term. I am taking a writing course and for my project I began writing a memoir of my spiritual experiences. Eventually, I decided to blog about my life as a way of getting the info out of my head and onto the page, albeit a digital one.

    One thing about the book is that it's not really meant to be read cover to cover without stopping to do the work of journaling. Take your time reading the book and then let it hang out in your notebook. That's really the best way to enjoy the process.

    Thanks for the interesting blog. I invite you to visit mine and comment as you see fit.

    Keep writing!!



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