East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Cover of "Writing down the Bones"

Nathalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones is (together with Tom Robbin’s Still Life with Woodpecker) the book that got me back to writing after a long dry spell, back in the ’90s*.

Right now I’m re-reading my second-hand copy of Wild Mind – Living the Writier’s Life, which is an ideal sequel to Writing Down the Bones.

The book was very dear to the previous owner – words and passages are underlined, stars are to be found in the margins, marking ideas or paragraphs the previous owner found significant.

I’m reading it during lunch break and at night, before I go to sleep.

In the book, Goldberg suggests an exercise, as writing practice and as a form of warm-up: ten minutes, start with “I remember…” (or “I don’t remember…”, or “I think…”) and write without stopping for ten minutes.
No barriers, no self-editing, no filtering.
Raw text.

I like the idea – it’s the sort of thing that gets the gears in motion.
So I thought… why not?

I’ll try and do it daily, starting right now.
I won’t do it in freehand – I’m slow and stupid when I write by hand, too many years as a typer have made the keyboard more natural than the pen to me.
But I’ll do it.
The best bits might get published on this blog.
And who knows – I might end up with a collection of flash… whatever***.

* Yes, I realize that Bones & Woodpecker is an odd couple of inspirational books**.
** I also realize that The Bones & Woodpecker is a great name for a fictional pub.
*** And I might call it Bones & Woodpeckers.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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