Natalie Goldberg, "The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and This Zigzag Life"
Natalie Goldberg, The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and This Zigzag Life
Sunday, March 12, 3pm
The Great Spring: From beloved writing teacher and author of the best-selling Writing Down the Bones; The Great Spring, a treasury of personal stories reflecting a life filled with journeys—inner and outer—zigzagging around the world and home again.
Here, Natalie Goldberg, “a writer both energized and enlightened” (Julia Cameron), shares those vivid moments that have wakened her to new ways of being. We follow alongside her mapless meanderings in the New Mexican desert and her pilgrimages to Bob Dylan’s birthplace and to Larry McMurtry’s dusty Texas ghost town of rare books. We feel her deep hunger while she sits zazen in a monastery in Japan, and her profound loss when she hears of the passing of a dear friend while teaching in the French countryside.
Through it all, she remains grounded in a life informed by two constants: the practices of writing and of Zen. With humor and insight, Natalie encircles around the essential questions these paths compel her toward: Where does this life lead? Who are we?
This is a book to be relished one awakening at a time. Each story is a reminder that no matter how hard the situation or desolate you may feel, spring will come again, breaking through a cold winter, bringing early yellow forsythia flowers. And the Great Spring of enlightenment—that sudden rush of acceptance, pain cracking open, obstructions shattering—will also burst forth.
Natalie Goldberg lived in Brooklyn until she was six, when her family moved out to Farmingdale, Long Island, where her father owned the bar the Aero Tavern. From a young age, Goldberg was mad for books and reading, and especially loved Carson McCullers’s The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, which she read in ninth grade. She thinks that single book led her eventually to put pen to paper when she was twenty-four years old. She received a BA in English literature from George Washington University and an MA in humanities from St. John’s University.
Goldberg has painted for as long as she has written, and her paintings can be seen in Living Color: A Writer Paints Her World and Top of My Lungs: Poems and Paintings. They can also be viewed at the Ernesto Mayans Gallery on Canyon Road in Sante Fe.
A dedicated teacher, Goldberg has taught writing and literature for the last thirty-five years. She also leads national workshops and retreats, and her schedule can be accessed via her website: nataliegoldberg.com
In 2006, she completed with the filmmaker Mary Feidt a one-hour documentary, Tangled Up in Bob, about Bob Dylan’s childhood on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. The film can be obtained on Amazon or the website tangledupinbob.com.
Goldberg has been a serious Zen practitioner since 1974 and studied with Katagiri Roshi from 1978 to 1984.