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Long Quiet Highway - Waking Up In America Hardcover – 1993

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (1993)
  • ASIN: B000I35FC2
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,365,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Dave Kinnear on April 17, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Waking up in America. Natalie Goldberg weaves a wonderful book based on the details of her life and times. At the same time, this book is perhaps the most interesting explanation of Zen practice that I've read in a long time. By weaving her own story of Zen practice with the principles of writing and giving vision to how each is connected to the other, Goldberg draws the reader into an appreciation of both disciplines.
I found myself mourning just as she described herself to be at the loss of Kitigari Roshi. Somehow, Goldberg had gotten me to be as much in love with Roshi as she, and so the loss was real when she described the events leading up to and then his actual death. But that is exactly what she tries to explain in the Long Quiet Highway, that we have to experience now, and be open to the present fully, unconditionally. The beauty of this book is that it not only explains in mere words the principles she espouses, but it elicits those feelings directly through the very words we are reading.
Easy insight comes also from her teaching experiences. That is not to imply that the lessons learned were easy for Ms. Goldberg, but rather that her word pictures make it easy for the reader to understand and visualize what actually happened, what lights went on with the students, and how she managed to make that happen. I thought that I would perhaps be a bit bored with this, her fourth book for me, but I could not have been more incorrect.
This book has inspired me to go back and re-read some of the Zen texts I've collected. At the same time, it has encouraged me to make time for my own writing practice - no excuses, no postponing, just do it.
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By A Customer on December 27, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently read this book as part of the required reading for a university course on Zen. Understand that I'm no stranger to Zen philosophy, have sat and talked with monks, and have studied Buddhism for years. However, for me, this book provided a wonderful and necessary insight: practical application. It lets the reader see precisely how Zen can be incorporated into the lives of an "everyday individual" such as Natalie Goldberg. One might think of it as a case study on the practical application of Zen. I did.
I was also sad that the book ended. Then I recognized the sadness and laughed: All things are impermanent. Therefore it is fitting that the story came to an end. However, the lesson which this book embarks upon need not end with the closing of its covers...
Why should one read this book? If one is interested in Zen, read it. If one is interested in New Mexico, read it. If one is interest in writing, read it. If one is interested in the cultural transformation of America, read it. More importantly, if one is interested in life, READ IT.
This little book is big.
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Format: Paperback
This is the spiritual journey of the author, Natalie Goldberg. Natalie goes from high school teaching, to a commune in Taos, to a Zen center in Minnesota. She learns how to write, and teach others to write. The book focuses on a relationship that develops between Natilie and her spiritual teacher, a Zen monk. Natalie questions her spirituality, as a student of Zen, a member of the Jewish faith, and a grieving writer. Her attention to minute details, her description of her spiritual dilemnas, and her grief for a man who gave her his love leave the reader with an understanding of what makes life special and worth living. I was left with an overwhelming feeling of Natalie's loss, and the illumination of what it means to be alive, and present. Natalie's prose is beautiful, that alone is worth the read.
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Format: Paperback
As a child of one of those self-absorbed feminist lesbian therapy-goers of the seventies, yes, this book is a little more self-absorbed than I can handle at times-- HOWEVER, put into its historical perspective (which Natalie talks about, being a child of the indifferent suburbs), you understand why this baby boomer generation had to navel-gaze so much in order to figure out what the 1950s did to everyone. It's okay because in the end, you've got to admit that years later, they came out of all those retreats and communes with really good insights. Even the ones in SUVs.
Natalie's book, WRITING DOWN THE BONES, is a gift, New Age navel-gazing be damned, no matter what you say. And you've got to hand it to any one who's willing to then show you her flaws, as she does in this book, and how she got to such a place as to write BONES. Like some of those punk guys say, brilliant guitar playing never did anyone any good. It's inspiring to see that we're just as human as a well-edited artist who's been quietly refining herself for years. In this book she shows us years of work and conversations and thoughts it took to write her famous writing books.
You can say she's self-absorbed. Okay, fine. We all are. It's better than women going around feeling guilty and trying to read minds, or men drinking beer and talking about bombing Bin Laden. But this book is a gift that she's showing you all the work that it took to get where she is. Writing/art is a process and don't expect human beings to bang out WAR and PEACE every weekend! You only hurt and separate yourself from the art by making it intimidating and expecting too much. You give up.
I only give the book four stars because it's a sweet read, and I'd say an important part of her collection.
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