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A small group of writers is now meeting at Espresso Buono on a regular basis with Elke Siller Macartney.

Elke guides us writers and would be writers through four short exercises inspired by the book, Writing Down the Bones – Freeing the Writer Within,  by Natalie Goldberg.  You can purchase Ms. Goldberg’s book at Amazon.com:


Also look for Natalie Goldberg’s books at one of my favorite local bookstores:


This really works!   I became a fan of the book years ago,  but only now have experienced this writing freedom in the company of others.     No pre-planning, no inhibitions, no rules except that everyone started with the same first sentence.  This exercise was free-flowing and followed three other more structured writing exercises.   The following is my first fifteen minute, off the cuff, pencil to paper, without pauses… writing:

That was the last time she saw it.  Seventy Eight years ago.  It still seemed like yesterday to her.  Oh how lovely it would be, she thought, to go back to that time in her life — with all the experience, wisdom and love she’s gained during the intervening years.  She’d dress a little differently.  Listen a little better.  Walk more.  Ask lots and lots of questions and not be embarrassed that she didn’t know about something…or laugh at the right time at folks trying to be amusing.  She’d definately have a huge garden.  And not just work in it, but sit in it…right on the dirt…beer in hand on a hot sunny day marveling at the magic of growing things!  She’d travel, of course.  Not just to far away places she’d always wanted to see, but also just around the corner with a tourist’s state of mind.  She’d take advantage of tiny lulls in her mandated activities.  Mini-vacations. Thirty second chortles.  Five minute reflections.  Memory moments.  Prayers for people on her mind.   Oh to be 20 again!  

Yes.  I’m 98 years old!   How can that be?  Am I as wise as 98 years should make me?  Do I still have hidden talents?  Could I get myself up out of this comfy chair to do anything now?  Should I?  Or should I just continue to ponder what to tell my great, great grand daughter in answer to her questions about what I was like when I was 20 years old like her.  Amazingly, I still feel young.  And yes, that item I saw last some seventy eight years ago?  I would pick it up and save it for all eternity!

by Penny Wight