The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Talk is a Way to Warm Up..."

         Natalie Goldberg, in her brilliant Writing Down the Bones, writes that talking with friends is a great way to warm up to the task of writing.

     "I remember sitting after a concert in the New French Bar in downtown Minneapolis with a writing friend and telling her about how I became a Buddhist.  Because of the intensity of her listening, the story, which I had told many times, took on a great brilliance. I remember the light off the wineglass, the taste of my chocolate mousse. I knew then that I had to write the story--there was great material in it...
     Talk is a way to warm up for the big game--the hours you write alone with your pen and notebook. Make a list of all the stories you have told over and over. That's a lot of writing to be done."
                              ----Natalie Goldberg

photo by tianarenae3

        This came to mind recently when I was telling a colleague about a troublesome phase my daughter went through fifteen years ago.  The "phase" lasted for many years. In fact, I would often joke and say, "She's got her head so far up her butt, she...," and when she started making some sensible choices on the occasional basis, I'd say,"Once in a while, she sees something other than brown." (Now my daughter has grown into becoming the best mother I've ever seen; I'm proud of her for hundreds of reasons.)  

        After I finished telling the story, my friend said, "I"ve got goosebumps. That's quite a moving story."

         I've told this particular story countless times. But this one person's reaction made me examine my story with new eyes.  Deciding that it was indeed a story worth writing down, I clicked away on my laptop, revised it, then submitted it.  Since it was in late December when I sent it off, I'm still waiting for a response...

        Who do you get together with so you can gossip and laugh and bring stories to life?  Who do you warm up with, in preparation for the lonely task of writing?  


  1. Hi Sioux! Honestly, this is a new view for me. I've never thought of chit-chat with friends as a way to uncover stories. Not just my stories, but their stories, too!

    Good luck with your submission!

  2. Lisa--You're right. Writers are the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) thieves. Stealing a friend's story, and remaking it so it's your own, is fair play...

  3. Hey Sioux! This goes along with why I love getting together with my writer-friends, in particular, because we all struggle with getting our stories down on paper. Talking, laughing, sharing, all helps! And that's one of the fantastic things about our blogs.....look at the wonderful people we've met that share similar dreams and help motivate us, and we help motivate them!

  4. I attend meetings and open mike readings and am as inspired by the characters as I am their work sometimes. You wonderful bloggers also motivate me to write.

    Would love to read your story. I would bet it is similar to mine ont he same topic. My daughter turned forty and turned over a new leaf.

  5. You daughter sounds like a wonderful mother.
    And I agree with what Becky said. Getting together with writer friends is always fun, so are get togethers with my former co-worker friends. I went to a retirement luncheon on Sunday, and it was a blast!
    Donna V.

  6. Great post. I'll never forget what Lou Turner said at the last Saturday Writers meeting I attended. It was something like, "Don't talk to your family members about your writing. They won't understand. Come here and talk to us." How true!!!

  7. Interesting post. When I started blogging, I thought of all the stories I had told over the years, and I've posted so many of them as blogs. The process was interesting because after having told them so many times verbally -- relying on inflection and occasionally, movement -- I had to come up with a way to tell them with "words on paper." I've sometimes worried lately that I'll run out of those stories. Hmm... I need to get out more!


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