#38 on the 2018 Reading Challenge list is a book with an ugly cover. This is a very subjective category as everyone interprets ugliness in their own way. I had already determined to read Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg this year, so it was really only a matter of finding a place for it on the list. It is my opinion, that the cover of this book is rather ugly, therefore, I plugged it into this slot.
I first read this book several years ago as required reading for a college writing course. I don’t remember being particularly impressed with the book at the time, maybe because it was required. Some of Goldberg’s advice must have stuck with me, however, as one thing she advises is to begin writing in notebooks. It was about that time that I started filling notebook after notebook with thoughts, random ideas and really bad poetry.
Writing Down the Bones is a collection of short to very short essays, each one a nugget of writing wisdom and inspiration. One such essay title “Blue Lipstick and a Cigarette Hanging Out Your Mouth” advises writers to step outside of themselves and do something they wouldn’t usually do, in order to shake up the humdrum daily routine of life. She says:
Sometimes there is just no way around it—we are boring and we are sick of ourselves, our voice and the usual material we write about. … Dye your hair green, paint your nails purple, get your nose pierced, dress as the opposite sex, perm your hair. Actually, one small prop can often tip your mind into another place. … Just sit down to write in a state you don’t ordinarily sit down to write in. … —whatever it takes to simply see the world from another angle.
This is a great book full of excellent advice on writing. Goldberg’s style is straightforward and down to earth, sometimes even irreverent. For anyone who writes, whether fiction, poetry, non-fiction or whatever, this is a great little book to not just read, but to keep on the reference shelf alongside the dictionary, thesaurus and style guide. It is a great resource that can be applied immediately and referred back to again and again.