I asked my writing friend if she had read Ray Bradbury.
“Ray Bradbury? I read something by him years ago…but I don’t much like science fiction.”
That was exactly what I thought for years, and I almost missed out on a delicious banquet!
I read Bradbury’s book on writing, Zen and the Art of Writing, years ago. Last year, in my search for where I am, where I want to go at this point in my life, I was drawn to pull it off the shelf again, and was blessed. In my first reading of the book, I had not highlighted anything. This time through I kept my yellow marker at hand. This is not only a book about writing, it is a book on how to Live.
In Zen and the Art of Writing, Bradbury wrote:
“Everything I’ve ever done was done with excitement, because I wanted to do it, because I loved doing it…Because I wanted to do, I did. Where I wanted to feed, I fed.”
This is proven truth from my own life.
I started with Bradbury”s short story collection, Dandelion Wine. I didn’t think I liked it, but then I could not quit reading. I was amazed to find a man who wrote of boys and girls a whole lot, and growing up, and old men and women, and death, young women, men and women in love, and the sky on fire, and grass, grass that never needs cutting and how pitiful that would be, and about happiness, and how no machine on earth can give it to you. I was amazed to find a man who used words like Crayola Crayons and with them he painted people and their relationships to each other, to the world around them, and, mostly, to themselves. Ray Bradbury was first and foremost a romanticist.
The past week, my dear friend, Dee, over at Red Dirt Ramblings posted a great piece about her discovery of Ray Bradbury. I suggest you get over and read it. She has recommendations of Bradbury novels not to be missed.
We need the writers such as Bradbury, and my friend Dee Nash, to paint us pictures with words, to show us the power and passion words can ignite. I think we’re losing this. I can’t find it on the pages of modern novels. I haven’t found it in a long time, so I keep reaching for books of a bygone era by dead authors, where words flowed and the music they made was part of the whole package–the plot and the character and the setting. Today everything is fast and clean and sterile, and hard. There is no music.
“Read poetry every day of your life. Poetry is good because it flexes muscles you don’t use often enough…What poetry? Any poetry that makes your hair stand up along your arms.” ~Ray Bradbury, in Zen in the Art of Writing.
I’m off to read A Christmas Carol. None of us would consider that science fiction or fantasy, but what else is it? Ray Bradbury said it was one of his favorites. And I find that I am excited about reading and writing in a new way. I’m excited about life. Thank you, Mr. Bradbury!
14 thoughts on “Write only what you love, and love what you write. ~ Ray Bradbury”
I love Ray Bradbury, and I respect his wisdom, but reading poetry is apparently something I am bad at. I just don’t get it. But listening to music is something I understand. So I hope he doesn’t mind that I am following his advice, just in my own way.
I don’t read poetry, either. I can’t understand most of it. Every once in awhile someone will write something very plain in poetry, and I like that. What I like about Bradbury…and others such as Alexander McCall Smith, and Jan Karon, and many authors of the previous century is their use of words, writing prose that sound like music to my heart.
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I always find inspiration for my writing here. Thank you. — And now, A NOTE: A while back, I received the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. While I acknowledged the award, I failed to notify the bloggers I selected to be the next recipients. Please accept my apology and the overdue award. You can find acceptance rules (if you choose to participate) at the bottom of the February 16 special edition of my Weekend Highlights (at Granny’s Parlour), which will feature the 15 award recipients I have selected. Thank you for being part of this blogosphere!
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Oh Sweetheart! To even be included in the same sentence with Bradbury is such an honor. I can’t tell you how much his books mean to me. I’m so glad we’re going to talk this week though. Hugs and love you.~~Dee
I am reading ‘Zen’ each morning, and before writing. The love must come first, and we must believe in ourselves. xxxooo
I have Zen and the Art of Writing, an old friend gave it to me way back in college. I don’t remember liking what (little) I read of it then. My perspective is changing so, as anyone’s will with age, and after reading this, I think it’s time to dig out that old copy and give it another try. (I am now hoping it wasn’t one of the ones I lost because of the flooding from Hurricane Irene in 2011 – our basement flooded and while nothing was water damaged (we were prepared) we had mold damage and I lost many of the books I had on the shelves down there). I do love Ray Bradbury and I agree that there is something missing from many novels today. I believe I’ve been searching for the same thing though I hadn’t realized it until reading your piece here. A Christmas Carol is an all time favorite and I re-read it every year now! I hope you enjoy it.
I nod at your words about perspective changing. I’ve read A Christmas Carol, but I don’t recall reading it all the way through. And I did not recall the opening sentences, and Marley being ‘dead as a doornail’. My spirit clapped. I’m at a totally difference place, have grown and changed, and see more deeply, I believe. I do hope you find your copy of Bradbury’s Zen. So often I put books aside that don’t speak to me, and then I lose them or give them away! Happened to many books when we moved from Oklahoma, and now I keep looking for them, and they’re gone!
I AM (again) and finding the same as you, underlining & yellow marking along the way, even though I was proud to find ONE book I had not done that to. THE ZEN OF CREATIVITY, CULTIVATING YOUR ARTISTIC LIFE, by John Daido Loori; I loved it when I got it in 2010, but the NOW in my life has invited it back in and whooosh, in came the Muse with it!
Oh, Sue, thanks for the recommendation of the creativity book. How you put it– “the NOW of my life has invited it back…” Speaks volumes!
Now I have to go to amazon.com and put another book on my wish list.
I’ve got a long wish list going! It’s helpful, makes me feel that I will get it someday. 🙂
Thanks, Curtiss; great reminder as I begin new projects of my own; passion leads the way. I read poetry often; the old books have the magic.