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Long Quiet Highway


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About the Author

Natalie Goldberg lives in northern New Mexico and is the author of Writing Down the Bones, Wild Mind, Long Quiet Highway, Banana Rose, and Living Color, a book about her work as a painter. She teaches writing in workshops nationwide.


A self-described ``Jewish-American from Long Island, feminist, writer, rebel with a hippie past,'' Goldberg, whose previous books concern writing and spirituality ( Writing Down the Bones ), here recounts her story of her own development. Goldberg's unadorned prose, presented in dialogue-rich scenes and flashbacks, effectively conveys how the act of writing, accompanied by study of Zen Buddhism, served as a ``vehicle for transformation'' out of her suburban alienation. But her reliance on ``no-blame-no-praise'' Zen as well as her powerful attachment to her Zen master may vex skeptics. Her book describes encounters with both inspiring and ineffective teachers from her schooldays in the 1950s and early 1960s, her own stab at teaching school, her escape to a commune in Taos founded by Ram Dass, her Zen awakening in the city of Minneapolis and her move to New Mexico, where her teaching and writing flowered. Though Goldberg sees writing mainly as a tool for self-development, her often familiar exhortations apply to literary aspirants as well: write under all circumstances and ground yourself in detail. (Feb.)

Goldberg's two previous books, Writing Down the Bones (Shambala, 1986) and Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life ( LJ 10/1/90), offered practical advice on how to be a writer and gave a clear description of how the process of writing, approached as a spiritual exercise, can be a means to gaining insight into the order of things. Her new book is an autobiographical work in which she describes, in beautiful and simple prose, how she came to this discovery and particularly how her time with the Zen master Katagiri Koshi influenced her life and work. Many writers are indebted to her for pointing the way for them to open their hearts in their writing. In this book Goldberg opens her heart to us. Recommended for all types of collections.-- Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., N.Y.

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