Natalie Goldberg On Zen And The Art Of Writing Practice
When I write, my self disappears. That’s ultimately what happens with Zen practice too, but I linger more on my human life with Zen, whereas with writing I’m willing to give it over completely. When I’m done writing, I feel more refreshed, as if I’ve eaten and digested my angst. The same thing can occur with meditation for me, but in a lesser way. Writing is more alive.
At the other end of the bar stood a stocky man with thinning hair and black-rimmed glasses. His skin gave off an unhealthy sheen; his eyes swam, magnified and vague, behind thick lenses. So this was the Pulitzer Prize–winning author (let’s call him Moe) who’d chosen my unpublished book as best new novel.
While reading an old news article, I came upon a surprising admission by George W. Bush: he confessed that he is a novelist. In an interview with CBS he said, discussing the struggles of his contested election, “It’s been a fascination, as I’m sure you can imagine. I’m not a very good novelist. But it’d make a pretty interesting novel.”
The power of Jesus — my mother believed in it. Not the kind of power that would make her tumors dissolve. No, she was a pragmatist. She prayed for me, that Jesus would seal her son’s leaking soul, a soul stripped by apathy, an apathy fueled by disappointment, disillusionment, and drugs.