The Moving Finger Writes and, Having Writ, Moves On

Last week, I allowed myself to be roped into one of those “X things for X number of days” memes on Facebook.  This time it was “books that have been meaningful to you”.  I tried not to default to listing some favorite books without considering what they meant to me, which is probably more involved than is strictly necessary for a Facebook meme, but it was worth the effort.  In the process of that exercise, I remembered how influential Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down The Bones” had been at a point where I was much more serious about writing.

So, the confluence of remembering that book, slowly returning to the practice of writing with this blog, and revisiting my infatuation with pens and paper all resulted in my purchase of the fountain pen and notebook that I posted about yesterday.  As I mentioned in passing there, my hope is to resuscitate the free writing practice that was so revelatory for me 20-odd years ago.  I’m a bit less interested in the writing itself now and more interested in what I find in myself. but the exercise covers both equally well, I think.

You might recognize the post title from the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”.  The full quatrain goes:

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Twenty-five years is a long time gone.  Even looking back ten years is seeing a time that is a foreign place to me now.  I don’t expect to regain the things that made those times. “Nor all thy Piety nor Wit shall lure it back to cancel half a Line.” I just want to know what’s left before nothing is.


  1. ashleyomelia · August 21

    Goldberg’s book is incredible. Thanks for reminding me I have it on my shelf. Maybe it’s time for a re-read.


    • Brian Kane · August 21

      Yes, I want to re-read it, too. The 10-minute free writing exercise isn’t hard to grasp, but so much of what she writes in the book transcends the process.


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