Natalie Goldberg is a poet, teacher, writer, and painter who has been a student of Zen Buddhism for 25 years. She teaches writing workshops based on the methods presented in her book Writing Down the Bones. On this 8 1/2 hour presentation, she spells out the meaning of writing as a spiritual discipline. Also included is a never-before-published interview in which she describes her relationship with Katagiri Roshi, the Zen teacher who helped her learn to live in the present moment.

At the outset, Natalie Goldberg talks about an order of Buddhist monks in Japan who run a thousand-day mountain marathon. After that they go on a nine-day fast without food, water, or sleep. The point of all this exertion is to become totally awake. As a result of this practice, some monks have been able to hear ashes fall from incense sticks; others can smell food prepared miles away.

Goldberg uses writing as a tool to keep her senses alert and as a means of understanding her experience. "Our life is a path of learning. So wake up before we die." The author reflects upon her suburban Long Island childhood, her teaching experiences in Mexico, and her writing seminars with adults. Anyone seeking inspiration for the process of creativity will find plenty of it on this audio presentation.