To find your writer’s voice is to find your spine;
It is to connect your breath of inspiration with the world’s breath.

~ Natalie Goldberg



Natalie Goldberg is a prolific author, painter, poet, and teacher of writing.  Many of us became acquainted through Goldberg’s 1986 classic inspiration Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.  We began learning from her to ‘show up at the page.’  My own creative writing began in the mid-90s after I set up the discipline of regularly visiting a coffee shop to read one of the book’s short essays and to march through the 10-minute timed writings.  Old Friend from Far Away (2007) takes us deep into reminiscence writing practice, the basis for writing memoir.

Her spectacular new book, The True Secret of Writing, is reviewed below.      



Annual Update of Website Pages

Resource Lists Updated in Library

Book Review Page – Links to all book reviews in blogs

Recognition of this Website

Our Writing Aging and Spirit website Writing Down Our Years has been featured as amongst the best content on spirituality and aging for Boomers on the web. The write-up was included in Fierce with Age: The Online Digest of Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration, Issue 23, published on September 26th.

Subscriptions to the online Digest are free at Fierce with

Intergenerational Storytelling – Conference Paper

Zainab Furqan presents a paper on intergenerational storytelling this month in Halifax to the Canadian Association on Gerontology. Now a medical student at McMaster, Zainab completed this project as a summer research student working with Ellen Ryan and Margaret Pitts.

Storytelling and Acculturation among South Asian Grandparents and Grandchildren in Canada.

Click here for the abstract.

Aging in Community News

All Together – Film on DVD

This film addresses issues of shared housing with a flair.

Click here for review.    

Community Engagement for Writers

Older adults can volunteer at a community centre, senior centre or assisted living facility to show films about aging. In leading a discussion afterwards, volunteers can spur the conversation by first asking participants to write down striking images, issues raised by the film, or questions.  Writing in silence for a few minutes can deepen the discussion, as well as make it easier for the thoughtful, quiet ones to take part.

Writing Exercise

Natalie Goldberg suggests compiling lists of first time encounters with people in our lives as well as goodbyes.  The lists then become a resource for writing a story about one of these entries or a poem about the emotional experience of beginnings and endings.

Book Review


Natalie Goldberg; New York: Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, 2013.

Natalie Goldberg’s True Secret of Writing invites those who meditate to write and those who write to meditate.

From a Zen perspective, daily mindfulness practice is a true secret of living, and periodic intensive silent retreats build regular practice.   Here, we learn how writing deepens mindfulness practice and how intensive writing workshops emerge from traditional meditation retreats.

TO READ MORE >> Ryan13-Goldberg-TrueSecretWriting

The Blessings of Aging with Joan Chittister

October 7 – November 1, 2013

Spirituality Practice offers a one-month e-course designed for elders and those who love them. Joan Chittister reframes aging and encourages us to discover through reflection and practice what new perceptions and attitudes about growing older can mean for our lives. [Fee required]

Check out Coming Events

With this shadow photo, I bid you adieu until next time,