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Fighting Tofu

Last year I started off very bravely. It was my time to write that great script. I was on fire! But somehow the fire went out – again. Then a friend stuck a book in my hands. “Read this!” And I did.

I opened the book and read the preface. And I was hooked! In her book Writing Down the Bones author Natalie Goldberg writes about her aspiration to become a poet and a writer.

Natalie says anyone who wants to write, and takes time to do so, is already a writer. It’s about freeing the writer within. Thus she initiated writing classes, not especially to teach others how to write, but to teach herself.

What is Writing?

goldbergIf you take time to sit down, preferably with a pen and paper, something will come to you. It’s magic! But the writer first has to be freed and that is accomplished through a series of exercises.

It’s all about letting go and letting whatever comes to, and through you, flow out onto the paper.

Unfortunately we all have an ego, that part of you who wants to resist writing, resist everything creative. Natalie calls it “fighting the tofu”. (She is actually quoting her Zen Master, Katagiri Roshi.)

”Tofu is cheese made out of soybeans. It is dense, bland, white. It is fruitless to wrestle with it; you get nowhere.” (p 29).

I have to laugh, because that is exactly how it feels.

A Good Friend

“Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” was first published in 1986. The book is wonderful, and it never gets old.

It’s like having a dear friend following you into your writing exercises, helping you and cheering you on.

Since I bought my own copy the book never leaves my bedside table. It has become my “writing bible”.

In fact, I think I’m going to read it again.