You Say Acid and Masturbation


Natalie Goldberg

Natalie Goldberg

Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones, on page 136-7 writes about wanting to break through the good writer’s comfort zone, and she exclaims “I know what the problem is! None of you have ever taken acid.” She means they have never done anything a little wild, a little too crazy.

I don’t like my writing. I can be too honest, to open. I have done and seen too much wild and crazy. I use my pen as therapy and then when the words are spoken or read, I wait, wait to absorb the shock, the disdain, the fear, and sometimes the worst thing I wait for is for others to agree, or to have known the feelings that I write of.

It’s often like setting the tip of a paint brush in paint, just the smallest connection allows for the paint to flow into the brush and saturate it. In my writing I will touch on the smallest part of the blackest pool in my mind and paper becomes covered in the black smears and smudges of my darkest deepest most private thoughts. And yet, I can’t stop it, I can’t stop writing them down. Often instead I just stop writing, I fear writing it all down, and yet fear that one day I wont have anything more to write about.

Goldberg quotes Suzuki Roshi’s book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind that “The best way to control people is to encourage them to be mischievous. Then they will be in control in its wider sense. To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him.” I couldn’t have come across this at a better time. It’s okay that I let it all out in my writing. I am only writing the truth, and I am writing it for me.

Nobody else has to read it, or like it or believe it. Its great if they do, if they can connect.  My writing should be the best that it can be, because otherwise it’s not worth doing, I owe it to myself to do my best. But it’s okay if it’s a little out there, a little uncomfortable, eventually I will find a place that’s comfortable for me to write from and for the reader to read.

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