Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review: Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Yesterday, I finished "Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within," by Natalie Goldberg. I started reading this book years ago.  I began this book, when I was attending the University of Mississippi Writing Project Summer Institute.  This Summer Institute was designed to teach teachers how to write and teach writing. At that time, I was only a special education teacher with a Master's degree in English, yearning and longing to teach English. Who would have thought that years later I would finish this book and use it in my English class on the collegiate level?

This book is really great. What I like about this book is that you are taken away from the constraints of "normal" writing. You are encouraged to write. Goldberg's writing tips are beyond the realms of what is considered to be the normal method of teaching writing. Of course, I love her for this fact.  Perhaps, I love her because I am different...hmmmm. Ok, I need to focus on the book.

Today, I used one of the writing techniques from the book. I did a writing marathon with my students at Jackson State University. I put my students in a circle and put topics in a basket. I had a student pulled topics out of the basket. Students have a choice to write on the topic or write what's on their mind.The session is timed. I did four sessions of 10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes of non-stop writing. Students read their work. No one comments. As the instructor, I participated by writing and reading, just like my students. I opened up the floodgates of writing with this today!!!  

Thanks to Goldberg I was able to recognize something about myself that I never thought I would come to terms with.  I am an "English Professor." I have inspired my students to write. Listening to my students read their work, I heard them profess what I had ignited into them.  I had my students forgetting about a 7 am writing class. I had them dwelling within the confines of their soul and providing remnants of their souls to the world through writing. I am excited about using this method with my class at Holmes Community College.

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