Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The A to Z Blog Challenge

The Letter "B"                         


One down and twenty-five to go. Today is the letter B. For Bones. Or Books. Or Both.

Yesterday I bought an Audible copy of Natalie Goldberg's old classic, "Writing Down the Bones". First published in 1986, when I lived in Boise, Idaho, it (and nearly all of my hundreds of books) didn't make the cut when I moved to the UK in 1999. What was I thinking? I don't know--it was expensive and I was foolish.

Over the years, between then and 2011, when I moved to Malaysia, I re-purchased many of my old books, both books on writing and books not on writing. Mostly not on writing; at that time, busy working as a technical author and marketing maven wannabe, it would only have served to remind me that I wasn't writing the fiction I had long longed to write.

When we moved to Malaysia, I only brought two or three books, all for my camera and Photoshop (my own personal nemesis software). Everything else was sold on Amazon or Freecycled, though a few I-can't-live-without-these treasures remained behind in UK storage because we didn't think we'd be here long.

Yeah, right. And then it seemed we be'd here longer than planned. That's a good thing but, hey, my books! So I've been off re-re-buying (again) some of the key books--and some new ones--mostly as Kindle versions so I would never, ever, ever have to give them up again. Ever.

Last year I added, at the suggestion of Kuala Lumpur writing instructor and publisher extraordinaire, Sharon Bakar, of Word Works, the Kindle version of Goldberg's "Old Friend From Far Away". It's been great for inspiration and writing prompts. But I somehow didn't think to add the the Kindle version of "Bones". Why? I just didn't. I thought of it later and filed it away for "next time".

Next time arrived, right on schedule, yesterday. In an attempt to not do what I was supposed to be doing (writing) I checked my Audible member account and, deep joy, I had an unspent credit! Did Audible have "Bones"? Indeed they did; they had two versions! It was a sign. There's no going back from that sort of purchase indicator, is there? Now to choose which.

I'm glad I read the descriptions carefully--and here's the point of the "B is for Bones" blog post: the 2006 Audible edition (you should order it now!)* is a re-recorded version and, in it, Goldberg reflects on what she wrote fourteen years previously. Her commentary is wonderful.

Audible calls it a "collector's edition". I do, too. Whatever it is, it's fascinating to listen to; I close my eyes and have the sense that I'm sitting in a room listening to the Natalie Goldberg read to me and tell me what she thinks as a 50-year-old compared to what she felt when she wrote the original book at age 36. Her personal reflections add a lovely dimension to the book that's been called the "magic manual for all writers".

It was always great. But that made it even Better. You know, that's "B" for better.

It's also on the US Audible site here. But it's on sale on the UK site.


  1. I don't think I've ever downloaded an audible book, although we still have some on cassette. (That sounds ancient now, doesn't it?)

  2. What a lovely post, Cynthia!

    I will check out that book. I read WDTB many years ago and I am sure i would love reading it again at this particular juncture.

    Thanks for tweeting about A to Z! I signed up right away, thanks to you.