Write only what you love, and love what you write. ~ Ray Bradbury

Zen in the Art of WritingI 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!